[FRENCH & INDIAN WAR]. [QUEBEC, BATTLE of]. Manuscript journal of an unidentified English officer, providing a vivid participant's account of the siege of Quebec, containing approximately 3200 words. Entries dated 4 June to 8 September 1759. 34pp., 4to, written in a neat italic hand in a hand-made notebook of heavy laid paper, sewn into simple gray paper wrappers, forest green paper spine and corners, matching oval paper label on front wrapper, a few pages dust-soiled, slight chipping at bottom edges, the last 4 leaves and back wrapper torn away.
AN UNPUBLISHED DIARY OF THE SEIGE OF QUEBEC, 1759
A fine, first-hand journal kept by an unidentified officer with an eye for telling detail, recording the daily events of the prolonged and difficult siege. It commences with the large British flotilla proceeding up the Saint Lawrence and ends just a few days before the final British victory on the Plains of Abraham and the twin deaths of generals Wolfe and Montcalm (13 September). Internal evidence suggests that the writer was an officer with access to field reports, for in his daily entries he is scrupulous to specify the number of cannon mounted at a given site, the number of men dispatched on missions, the names of vessels and the exact numbers of casualties inflicted or incurred. Some of the particular details in his account appear to be unknown to historians of this critical campaign, which effectively rang down the curtain on French colonial ambitions in North America. A few representative excerpts from this important unpublished journal:
4 June 1759: "Our Transports being all arrived, embraced the first opportunity of sailing for the River Saint Laurence, our fleet consisted of near two hundred [vessels]; we proceeded up the river in three divisions...saw several small Villages and scattered houses, near which the Enemy made several smokes to signify our approach..." -- 26 June: "Anchored at Coudrea Ranger was killed and scalped by the Savages, they in their turn killed an Indian and wounded another...About Eleven at night the Enemy sent down seven fire ships, with several Batoes towing them..." -- 30 June: "...Brigr. Monckton with 4 Regts. and two companies of Rangers cross'd the river in order to take post at Point Levee...." -- 2 July: "...we saw a large body of French in motion toward Quebec, from their Camp near Beauport..." - 8 July: "...the Porcupine sloop & a small Brig fell down the South Channel, the Enemy fire[ed] upon them from a two Gun battery..." - 9 July: "...at noon a large body of Indians attack'd our camp, but was soon drove off by our light infantry, and Rangers, who were very wet and greatly fatigu'd; the Indians left four dead in the field..." -- 13 July: "The enemy began a battery above the Falls [of Montmorency] in order to annoy our camp, but by bringing some howitzers to bear on the flank of it, put a stop to the work, and oblig'd them to retire in haste...The two armies separated by the narrow River...are constantly exchanging shot..." -- 15 July: "...We finished a barbet battery at Montmorancy & mounted 5 24 pounders on it...We observe the French very Industrious in Strengthening their Line...four companies of Grenadiers past over this night to Orleans..." -- 19 July: "Continued to Bombard & cannonade the town from point Levee; in the evening we threw some shot & shells among the French works near Montmorancy..." - 26 July: "At two this morning Otways Regt. With a detachment of Col. Howe's March[ed] about a mile up the river, Genl. Wolfe went with them to reconnoiter the fords where a skirmish ensued between ours, & the Indians. In which we had two officers killed, three wounded, 10 men kill'd & 20 wounded...." -- 30-31 July: Describes Wolfe's unsuccessful attempt to breach the French defenses at Beauport, concluding "...from some mistake in a Signal...the Grenadiers advanc'd before a proper disposition was made for the attack...After receiving a very heavy and severe fire of Musquetry from the Enemy Entrenchments, were oblig'd to retire, a circumstance by some thought lucky....We kept up a constant Fire from above 50 pieces of Artillery...." -- 9 August: "...the lower town was set on fire...& burnt with great fury..." -- 11 August: Comments on a deadly Indian raid on a work party: "...we find in this sort of war, that the enemy are very dextrous in annoying us, and taking care of themselves...." -- 19-22 August: Records the extensive burning of homes and villages in the area: "...Goreham's Party return'd having burnt the villages of St. Pauls, Marbay, St. Anns and brought off 200 head of cattle..."; General Wolfe was displeased by the scalping of the residents, and "showed his disapprobation of such inhuman proceedings, by a subsequent order given to Capt. Goreham...to spare all, when the opposition he meets with ceases, and concludes that cruelty is the most distinguishing characteristic of cowardice..." - 4 September: "An officer...arrived with an express from Crown Point in 26 days by Kennebeck River, & brought us a confirmation from Genl. Amherst of that place being abandoned, & Niagara being taken." -7 September: "...Genls.. Wolfe and Townsend went in the barge to reconnoiter the shore; they went as high as Point aux Trembles...they returned about midnight..."