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90   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

the result of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Levis did not consider the position of the French in Canada hopeless, and laid plans to attack the British garrison as soon as the spring weather would permit. As winter advanced he learned that Murray's army was greatly weakened by sickness and he apparently believed that it would be possible to recapture Quebec before the garrison could receive reinforcements from England.

Quebec and its fortifications were in a dilapidated condition from the effects of the siege. Barrack accommodation for the troops was quite inadequate, there was a shortage of fuel and warm clothing, and throughout the winter, which was unusually severe, all ranks suffered severely. The hospitals were crowded. Fever, dysentery, and, worst of all, scurvy prevailed in the garrison during the whole winter. The strength of Murray's force at the end of October was 7,313 of all ranks; in February, 1,760, the number fit for duty was 4,800; two months later, to-wards the end of April, it was only 3,400.

Early in April Murray learned that French forces were being assembled in Montreal for an advance on Quebec, and when navigation opened about the middle of the month he sent a schooner to Halifax with despatches asking the British naval commander to hasten to his assistance. He knew that the plan of Levis was to descend the river on transports, bateaux, and rafts, land his troops and military stores at Cap-Rouge, and then march direct upon the city. To prevent this, and to check his advance, or at least gain time by compelling him to make a detour by routes scarcely passable, he went in person to Cap-Rouge and fortified the heights near the mouth of the Cap-Rouge river. Levis, after landing with his force at Pointe-aux-Trembles on the 26th, made a detour and crossed the Cap-Rouge river at a point several miles above its mouth. Murray had caused all the bridges to be broken down, but neither this nor the rainy weather and extremely bad roads prevented the French from advancing and occupying the whole forest


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