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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 12


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His second in command, colonel Enos, had got entangled in the windings of the Dead River, a tributary of the Kennebec, and had been so completely bewildered that he had returned with one-third of the detachment to Cambridge. Arnold now sent out his men in all directions to forage for provisions; and, allowing time to rest and for the stragglers to come up, he did not advance again till the 9th of November. He emerged on the river St. Lawrence, at Point Levis, immediately over against Quebec. Could Arnold have crossed immediately, such was the suddenness of the surprise, that he probably would have taken the city. But a rough gale was blowing at the time, and for five days he was detained on the right bank of the river by that circumstance and the want of boats. By that time, colonel Maclean had made good his retreat into the city, and put it in a state of defence. Some small armed vessels were anchored in front of the town, and boats filled with armed men rowed to and fro to keep watch on the Americans on the opposite shore.

Arnold, nevertheless, managed to cross the river in the night, about a mile and a half above the place where Wolfe had crossed. Finding the cliffs there too high to scale, he followed the shore down to Wolfe's Cove, and ascended the heights just where Wolfe had done so. Like Wolfe, Arnold formed bis band on the heights of Abraham, and, trusting to the belief that the Canadians were in favour of the Americans, proposed to make a dash up to the gates of the city before day broke; but his followers protested against this design. When day dawned, Arnold saw so many men on the walls and batteries that he knew the assault was hopeless, and retired to Point aux Trembles, where he was joined by Montgomery, who took the chief command.

Arnold had not been able to bring any artillery with him; Montgomery had a little. They had about twelve hundred men altogether; and with this force they now marched upon Quebec. On the 20th of December they commenced firing on the town from a six-gun battery; but their cannon was too light to make much impression - they had no guns heavier than twelve-pounders, and these were soon dismounted by colonel Maclean and his sailors. The Americans withdrew their guns to a safer distance; and their troops were desirous to abandon the enterprise as impracticable, but the commanders engaged them to continue by holding out a prospect of their plundering the lower town, where all the wealth lay. These religious New Englanders, who took forts in the name of Jehovah, had no objection to a little plunder. " The proposition," says Marshall, in his Life of Washington, " was at first received coldly by a part of Arnold's troops, who were by some means disgusted with their commanding officers; but the influence of Morgan, who was particularly zealous for an assault, and who held up, as a powerful inducement, the rights conferred by the usages of war on those who storm a fortified town, at length prevailed." It seems to have made no difference that the people who were proposed to be plundered were their fellow-colonists, and not the English. In fact, the plundering of the Canadians by the Americans, contrary to the instructions of Washington, was one of the causes which made the Canadians deaf to all persuasions to join the insurrection.

On the last day of the year, soon after four in the morning, the attack was commenced. Two divisions, under majors Livingstone and Brown, were left to make feigned attacks on the upper town, whilst the rest, in two lines, under Montgomery and Arnold, set out amid a blinding snow-storm to make two real attacks on the lower town. Montgomery, descending to the bed of the St. Lawrence, wound along the beach to Cape Diamond, where he was stopped by a blockhouse and piquet. Having passed these, he again, at a place called Pot Ash, encountered a battery, which was soon abandoned. Montgomery then led his troops across huge piles of ice driven on shore; and, no sooner had they surmounted these, when they were received by a severe fire from a battery manned by sailors and highlanders. Montgomery fell dead along with several other officers and many men; and the rest, seeing the fate of their commander, turned, and fled back up the cliffs.

Arnold, at the same time, was pushing his way through the suburbs of the lower town, followed by captain Lamb with Iiis artillerymen, and one field piece mounted on a sledge. After these went Morgan with his riflemen; and as they advanced in the dark, and muffled in the falling snow, they came upon a two-gun battery. As Arnold was cheering on his men to attack this outpost, the bone of his leg was shattered by a musket-ball. He was carried from the field; but Morgan rushed on, and made himself master of the battery and the guard. Just as day dawned, he found himself in front of a second battery, and, whilst attacking that, was assailed in the rear, and compelled to surrender, with a loss of four hundred men, three hundred of whom were taken prisoners.

The Americans called Montgomery their Wolfe, because he fell before Quebec; but with this difference, that Wolfe fell in the hour of success, and Montgomery in that of defeat. They could not erect a monument to his honour at Quebec, but they voted him one elsewhere. He was interred, by order of general Carleton, with military honours.

Arnold retreated to a distance of three or four miles from Quebec, and covered his camp behind the heights of Abraham with ramparts of frozen snow, and remained there for the winter, cutting off the supplies of the garrison, and doing his best to alienate the Canadians from the English.

To aid in this employment, congress sent the son of Franklin, with two other commissioners, armed with a newspaper press, but it produced little effect; and though Carleton could now have easily driven Arnold across the St. Lawrence, he preferred deferring this operation till spring freed the river from ice, and should enable him to act more effectually. Meantime, Arnold's position was by no means enviable. His wound was most disabling, and his men were discontented, insubordinate, and continually deserting.

In Virginia, lord Dunmore made a fresh attempt to reestablish the royal authority. He addressed letters to the planters, telling them that a great part of them only fomented a war with England to avoid paying their debts; and that, since they were anxious for liberty, he would, to the best of his ability, promote it by liberating their slaves and their indented servants, who were nearly white slaves. He issued a proclamation to this purport; and such negroes as could fled into Norfolk, where he had taken up his quarters. Could he have reached the slaves in the interior, the most disastrous consequences to the planters would have resulted. But these gentlemen took the alarm, and a thousand men threw themselves betwixt him and the country. They were marching for the bridge across the river Elizabeth, when they were met by a detachment of about one hundred and twenty men, black and white. They threw up entrenchments at the first news of the approach of this handful of king's troops, and received them with such a fire as killed their leader, captain Fordyce, and put the rest to flight. The country was left open from the river Elizabeth to Norfolk, and the Americans advanced to attack that town. On their approach, Dunmore, who had no adequate force, retired on board ship, and set fire to the wharves, which, communicating with the town, consumed it to ashes. As soon as he retired, the Virginians wreaked their vengeance on the royalists, burning down many of their houses, laying waste their plantations, and keeping their persons in constant jeopardy. Under such circumstances terminated the year 1775.

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Pictures for Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 12

Boston Boys
Boston Boys >>>>
John Adams
John Adams >>>>
North American forest scene
North American forest scene >>>>
The colonists under Liberty Tree
The colonists under Liberty Tree >>>>
The residence of George Washington
The residence of George Washington >>>>
The skirmish at Lexington
The skirmish at Lexington >>>>
View of Charlestown
View of Charlestown >>>>
George Washington and his mother
George Washington and his mother >>>>
Flag of the Colonists
Flag of the Colonists >>>>
Plan of the battle of Bunkers Hill
Plan of the battle of Bunkers Hill >>>>
A Canadian Indian
A Canadian Indian >>>>
View on the river St. Lawrence
View on the river St. Lawrence >>>>
Near Quebec
Near Quebec >>>>
A Canadian forest scene
A Canadian forest scene >>>>
The cauldron rapids, near Ottawa
The cauldron rapids, near Ottawa >>>>
Waterfall of Montmorency
Waterfall of Montmorency >>>>
First house erected at Quebec
First house erected at Quebec >>>>

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