Monday, October 1, 2018

The Siege of Quebec: Week Seven

August 8th, 1759. This morning by 10 o'clock were ordered to embark on board our boats (it being tide of flood) to attempt a landing on the north shore opposite to the church of Point au Tremble. The disposition of our landing was that Major Dalling's Light Infantry (being but 3 cos.) should lead and land first. The Marines to bring up the rear of the 15th regt. When the signal was made (which was a wave of the brigadier's hat) a reef of rocks ahead rendered it impossible to row directly in : Capt. Simon Fraser ordered two boats to row a little to the left, which was followed by the boat in which he was, containing the remaining part of the company belonging to him, who got clear of the rocks, pushed directly in, and landed. We drew up on the beach opposite to a body of the enemy posted in a copse in our front. Capt. Fraser discovering another body on our left, besides several smaller parties moving between the copse and the houses of the village Point au Tremble, he thought it imprudent to begin an attack before some more men were landed. He therefore cry'd to Brigadier Murray (whose boat was then near our shore) to order more men to land. On which the Brigadr. landed along with his Brigade Major (Maitland), Colonel Carleton, and Capt. Stobo, seemed dissatisfied with the slowness of the other two companys at landing, unfairly attributing the cause to shyness, when in reality it was owing to two boats running on the reef of rocks formerly mentioned. So soon as the boats floated, Capt. De Laune pushed in landing where Capt. Fraser's co. were drawn up, but as the different of time twixt Capt. Fraser's landing and Capt. Delaunne's were about 16 minutes, most of the former company were three feet deep in water, being tide of flood, which damaged part of their ammunition. Another great obstacle which disconcerted the Brigadr. that the boats in which the remaining part of the troops were embarked must row against tide in consideration of which the General thought proper to order a retreat to be beat ; the two companys drew off, reembarked in their respective boats without much confusion, but sustained part of the enemy's fire.

After drawing off from shore, the General ordered the killed and wounded on board a sloop who was exchanging some shot with one of the enemy's fleating batteries. As also the dry ammunition to be proportionally divided, and the whole to prepare for a second attack, in the same order as the former. We accordingly rowed in shore, but we found all the copse better lined than formerly, and from our boats could discover a considerable body on a road about 500 yards from thence, and those in the copse as formerly. The whole appeared formidable, as an officer on horseback went from one body to another, viz. that posted on the beach, the other on the road, and the one posted by the church aforesaid to deliver orders (as may be supposed). However, Major Dalling pursued the directions given him : when we came within gun-shot of the enemy, they gave us so heavy a fire of musketry that our landing was impracticable, besides, nor could our sailor's stand by their oars for some minutes. Upon seeing the boats wherein the regts. were embarked, pulled about, the soldiers seized the oars, backed water, and drew off from the fire. We learnt that upon the General's seeing these large bodys of the enemy in the village, he ordered the retreat to be beat, which we did not hear, being under the fire of the enemy. On this repulse, the whole of the troops re-embarked on board their respective ships. The following is an account of the killed and wounded of the three companys of Light Infantry : 10 officers wounded ; 36 privates wounded, and 26 killed.

N.B. Also 10 sailors killed and wounded belonging to the Sunderland man-of-war.

August 9th, 1759. Employed in the disposing and carrying for the wounded most of the day. At nine o'clock this night the Brigadr. ordered Lt. Crofton of the Rangers to land on the south shore in order to take a prisoner. He accordingly with 20 men landed, surprised a barn in which there were 9 Canadians, killed 4, and took 5 prisoners.

10th. This morning embarked on board our flat-bottomed boats, in order to land on the south shore, in the same order as the 8th inst. About half an hour after 7 o'clock rowed in and landed, after sustaining a small fire from the enemy, of whom we killed five, and took a captain of militia prisoner. Our loss consisting of one private killed, 6 wounded, and Lt. Sam Rutherford of Amherst's regt. wounded.

After we beat off the enemy, we took possession of an eminence where we encamped, strongly situated opposite to our ships, near village St. Nicholas, 21 miles from Point Levy camp.

11th. Remained in camp ; nothing done.

12th. Very rainy weather. This morning a schooner from below joined our fleet ; the m'r of reports that two catts with a regt. on board endeavoured to pass the town, but were obliged to put back by the brisk cannonading of the batterys.

13th. A detachment of 400 men under the command of Major Dalling marched to the eastward to reconoitre the country ; they were fired on by a small party of Canadians, who made the following execution, viz. Capt. Carden wounded, also 4 wounded of the Rangers. On which the General ordered all the houses east of our post (in the parish of St. Croix) to be sett on fire, and at the same time fixed a manifesto on the church door, declaring that if they should anoye any of our troops passing or repassing the communication, for the future, that no quarter will be given the inhabitants when taken, without exception or respect to person. The detachment took a great number of cattle ; no prisoners.

14th. This morning 7 marines straggled about 800 yards from the camp, who was taken by the enemy, part of whom they massacred and left on the beach in order to be discovered, in return of which cruelty the General marched with two battalions, viz. Amherst's and the 2nd Battln. Royal A., 3 miles east of our camp in the village of St. Nicholas, setting fire to all the houses belonging thereto. Neither prisoners or cattle brought in to camp.

Unknown. Journal of the particular transactions during the siege of Quebec: at anchor opposite the Island of Orleans, July 26th, 1759. London, Quebec, 1901.

Anon. Journal of the particular transactions during the siege of Quebec: at anchor opposite the Island of Orleans, July 26th, 1759. London, Quebec, 1901.

©  Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2018.


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