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82   THE FALL OF QUEBEC

letters, show him in a light that his after glory cannot eclipse. His youthful face, with its bright eyes, retrousse nose, and red hair tied in a queue, convey the charm of spirit that his unstudied letters always confirm.

The squadron, now exciting a lively interest in England, consisted of twenty-two ships of the line, with frigates, sloops-of-war, and a large number of transports, under the able command of Admiral Saunders. It left Spithead about the middle of February 1759, to meet in Louisbourg harbour a fleet previously despatched to embark troops for the expedition at New York. Nearing America, ten ships were told off to patrol the Lower St. Lawrence to intercept the spring fleet from France ; but, as was learned later, these were already past.

The number of troops had been placed at twelve thousand, a considerable share of which remained to be made up at the rendezvous by detachments from the West Indies, New York, and Nova Scotia; but for some reason most of these additions failed to arrive. Nothing daunted, the young commander wrote to the Prime Minister, " Our troops are good, and if valour can make amends for want of numbers, we shall probably succeed." The staff consisted


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