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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   87

by which he hoped to force the surrender of Quebec. He had carefully reconnoitred the district above the city and concluded that his only hope of success was in scaling the heights there and bringing Montcalm's army to a general action. He had even picked out his landing place—the Anse-au-Foulon (now Wolfe's Cove). But he kept his own counsel, concealing the details of his plan from even his brigadiers, and revealing them only to Admiral Holmes and Captain Chads, whose co-operation was essential to him in the initial stages of his enterprise.

Everything was ready on the 12th, and on that day boats moved up and down the Beauport shore as if seeking a suitable landing, and the guns of Saunders' fleet searched the French lines. As night fell, the bombardment in-creased, and Montcalm concentrated his forces at Beau-port, confident that he was about to be attacked from that quarter. Meanwhile, above the city, Holmes' fleet, laden with troops, moved up the river, apparently intending to attempt a landing in the region of Pointe-aux-Trembles. But Wolfe's plan was to wait for the ebb-tide, and then have his landing force drift down silently from Cap-Rouge to the Foulon and there make a landing and scale the heights.

At two o'clock on the morning of the 13th began the initial step in one of the world's most decisive battles. The troops on Holmes' fleet took to the boats and silently sped towards the landing spot Wolfe had selected. Twice they were challenged by French sentinels on the shore, but they tricked the sentinels by pretending that they were French provision boats. Landing at the Foulon, a scaling party quickly climbed the heights, overpowered the weak guard there, capturing the commander, Vergor, and rushed the Samos Battery near at hand, thus clearing the way for the main army. And at daybreak 5,000 British soldiers, confident and eager for battle, were assembled on the Plains of Abraham.

Montcalm at Beauport learned, with grave misgivings, that Wolfe's redcoats were on the plains back of the city.


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