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84   HISTORY OF CANADA.

O'

said, "the best soldiers in the world." If he could only bring Montcalm to battle he had little fear of the result. Montcalm deliberately declined to give the British general any such satisfaction. His position was well-nigh impregnable ; he feared to pit the Canadian militia against regulars in the open field ; in short,

he was too good a general not to see that his best policy was to stand strictly upon the defensive. During eleven anxious weeks he guarded the northern shore so well that nowhere, in the long stretch from the falls of Montmorency below to Cap Rouge above, could Wolfe effect a landing.

Position of the British Forces. —Wolfe's first movement was to take possession of Point Levis, on the south shore, opposite Quebec. Here Monckton was stationed in charge of strong batteries which, all through the siege, poured a hot fire across the narrow channel. Churches, warehouses, and

private residences were destroyed, and the inhabitants were driven to seek refuge under the shelter of the northern declivities toward the St. Charles. Early in July Wolfe sent a force to take possession of the north shore of the St. Lawrence, beyond the Montmorency. This was done with but slight opposition. Here Wolfe established his headquarters and strongly entrenched himself. The British army was thus divided. The right wing, under Wolfe's immediate command, faced Montcalm's left across the beautiful falls of the Montmorency. The centre rested on the point of the Island of Orleans under the more immediate shelter of the fleet. The left wing was at Point Levis. Admiral Saunders, who commanded the fleet, loyally supported Wolfe throughout the siege. Soon after his arrival in the basin of Quebec fire-ships and fire-rafts had been sent down against him. Late in July the attempt was repeated, only to be again foiled by the intrepidity of the British tars, who swarmed out in small boats, grappled the burning craft, and towed them where they could burn out without danger to the fleet.

WOLFE.

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