during the night of May 16th, the French made so precipitate a retreat, that they abandoned their sick and wounded, cannon, war material, and intrenching tools. Levis retired upon Montreal, leaving detachments of troops at Jacques-Cartier, Three Rivers, and Sorel, for the purpose of observing, and, if possible, impeding the movements of any troops sent against Montreal.
So disheartened were the Canadians and Indians by this failure that they deserted in large bodies, and when Levis reached Montreal and vicinity the militia were despatched to their homes subject to call, while those of the regulars who were not retained in quarters at Montreal were dispersed among the inhabitants for subsistence.
It is now time to return to Sir Jeffery Amherst. That cautious British general had spent the winter of 1759–60 at Crown Point making arrangements for completing his operations begun the previous year. He was sanguine that this year would see the conquest of Canada, and he decided to give to the movement against Montreal a wider sweep than he had at first planned. A force from Quebec was to ascend the St. Lawrence, capture the intervening French posts, and accept the surrender of the Canadian people on the way. At Albany and Schenectady a large force was to be assembled for the main expedition, but instead of sending it in one column, via Lake Champlain and the Richelieu, Amherst decided to divide it, he himself going with the bulk of his army to Oswego, and thence down the St. Lawrence to Montreal, while a second column under Colonel Haviland would travel overland by the old route, reaching the St. Lawrence at or near Montreal. The three contingents, Amherst's, Haviland's, and Murray's, would then combine and at-tempt the reduction of Montreal. Amherst thus contemplated the concentration of an overwhelming force upon the headquarters of the enemy, and the leaving of no dangerous posts on the flanks of his advance. The result was one of the most extensive and comprehensive enveloping movements ever attempted in military history.