What do the British think of Quebec?
The Battle of Quebec
On the afternoon of December 30th, 1775 the snow drift had started, after midnight it expanded into a storm. The city of Québec, founded by the French in 1603, is soon covered in a thick layer of white flakes. At the gates of Québec, the American armed forces, which were set up in the spring of 1775, are ready to attack. The historian Robert McConnell Hatch, once Bishop of Massachusetts, has reconstructed the hours before the Battle of Québec in his book "Advance into Canada":
"Brigadier General Richard Montgomery, commander of the American armed forces, is writing another letter to his British opponent Guy Carleton, the governor of Canada. Should Carleton give up Québec without a fight, Montgomery would assure him safe conduct to a location of his choice."
But the letter is no longer handed over. Because Montgomery sees the storm as a chance to attack Quebec. He knows that it would not be easy because the city is located on the Cap Diamant - a large rock that overlooks the Saint Lawrence River and is therefore favorable for defense.
The defenders of Québec, mostly Canadian volunteers and a handful of British Army recruits, have been waiting for the attack for more than two weeks. However, there is tension among the people of Québec. Because although all of Canada was ceded by France to Great Britain in 1763, the city of Québec remained French. Robert McConnell Hatch:
"The British had their own problems with Canada and the Canadian governor, hoping to ease tension between French and English residents - tensions that still exist today - encouraged the parliament to grant the French settlers legal and religious freedoms to assure. "
On December 31, 1775 at four in the morning, all differences are forgotten:
Because the troops of the American Continental Army attack the city from two sides. The residents, however, are not fooled. The bells of the cathedral are rung and the attackers are fired with heavy artillery. Benedict Arnold, the second American general, succeeds briefly in conquering part of the mighty city fortifications, but the surprise attack fails. Because Montgomery's troops are quickly wiped out on the other side of Québec - and the general pays for the advance with his life. Just a few hours later, the American onslaught was crushed.
"General Frank Montgomery is found dead on his back, covered in snow - one hand still held high."
The outcome of the battle is sobering for the Americans: while the British and Canadians lost only 20 men, the American armed forces lost many dozen.
"Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded. That was the end of the invasion of Canada and the beginning of the American retreat, which would develop into a chain of disasters."
For the Americans, the attempt to extend their War of Independence to Canada has proven unsuccessful. The aim of the invasion was to persuade the Canadian population to join the American Revolution and to deprive the British of the military and naval bases there.
After the battle, the Americans called off the siege of Québec and soon withdrew completely from Canada. In the further course of the War of Independence there were no serious attempts to conquer Canada. The American defeat at Québec was a key factor in keeping Canada British and not becoming part of the United States.
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