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46   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

The magazines of the ships had been exhausted by the bombardment and there was not sufficient ammunition left to supply the land force. However, after the fleet withdrew, Walley's men advanced along the shores of the St. Charles towards the ford, but a considerable force of French troops disputed the crossing, and Canadian and Indian sharp-shooters who had crossed the ford opened fire upon the enemy from the thickets on the river bank. Towards evening these sharp-shooters with-drew and the New Englanders encamped for the night.

On the following day, the invaders were left undisturbed, and parties of New Englanders scoured the thickets which had sheltered the Canadians and Indians. They captured a number of cattle, which were most welcome, as the men were almost starved, and on the day of the main skirmish their rations had consisted of but one biscuit per man. Towards evening a consider-able force of Canadians once more stole across the St. Charles, and lively skirmishing again took place, the invaders upon this occasion being threatened by troops who attacked them on their right flank and rear. The Canadians fought like Indians, hiding behind the trees and stumps or among the thickets. To relieve the pressure, the New Englanders again advanced, driving back the French and Indians, but as the fighting became closer, the French made a stand among the buildings of a farm, and there they remained until night, taunted by the New Englanders, who challenged them to come out and try conclusions in the open.

Towards night on the 20th, Walley, after four wretched days ashore, fell back to the landing-place, where, as soon as it grew dark, the re-embarkation of the force began. The sick and wounded were all safely sent on board, but five of the cannon had to be abandoned. The following day, Phips, after holding a council of war, decided to abandon the enterprise. Forthwith the ships weighed anchor, and before long had disappeared from the view of the people of Quebec. On their homeward journey


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