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88   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

He galloped across the St. Charles on his black charger and saw for himself the long lines of British soldiers advancing along the Ste. Foy road. He at once called up every available man from the Beauport position, but received from Vaudreuil not half the number he expected and by 9:30 a.m. he had a force of barely 5,000 men ready to engage the British.

About 10 a.m. the fighting began with a scattered fire from the French, who advanced in eight small, six-deep battalions of Colony Troops and regulars with Canadians and Indians on their flanks. To meet this attack, Wolfe had drawn up his army in a "thin red line" two-deep, and calmly awaited the impetuous onrush of the enemy. He had ordered his men, who stood with double-shotted muskets, to hold their fire until the French were within forty paces. And calmly they waited, though death thinned their ranks, Wolfe himself being twice wounded.

A single gun had been dragged into the field of action by British sailors; with this weapon well in front of the line Captain York played on the advancing battalion, and when danger threatened it the sailors, under a galling fire, rushed it out of range. Steadily the long grim line stood facing death, waiting the command to fire. At length the order came, and then a storm of lead swept the approaching battalions. Quickly the British line advanced twenty paces, and, rapidly reloading, poured one volley, then another, into the wavering, reeling white masses. Suddenly the charge sounded, and like hounds from the leash, the British rushed at the foe, who were soon in precipitous flight towards Quebec and the bridge over the St. Charles. At this moment York's gun poured grape-shot into the disorganized masses and one discharge reached Montcalm. He reeled on his horse, mortally wounded. About the same moment Wolfe, too, received a mortal wound, but lived long enough to know that his efforts had been crowned with success.

Through the gates of the city and north of it to the bridge of boats at Vaudreuil's headquarters the beaten


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