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shown themselves on point Levi; and having CHAP. V. fired from the northern shore into a bargę 1775. which immediately returned towards the harbour; and after the report of their reconnoit. ring party; the expectation of finding the garrison entirely off its guard, was deemed too much against every probability to be in any degree calculated on. Yet subsequent information assured them that, notwithstanding these appearances, the gate called St. Johns was then open, at which the town might undoubtedly have been entered. From some unaccountable negligence, no report was made to the governor by the crew of the boat which had been fired into, until the next day; and nọ suspicion was entertained that Arnold had crossed the river.
Though disappointed in the expectation of surprising Quebec, Arnold did not immedi. ately relinquish the hope of obtaining possession of that important place. Not superior to the enemy in point of numbers, and without a single piece of artillery, or other implements for a siege, he was obviously incapable of acting offensively; but he flattered himself that a defection in the garrison might yet put the capital of Canada into his hands. With this view, he paraded on the heights, near the town, for some days; and sent two flags to summon it to surrender. But the presence of colonel M'Clean, an experienced and vigilant vol. 11.
CHAP. V. officer, and who was indefatigable in making . 1775. arrangements for the defence of the town,
restrained those measures which the fears of the inhabitants dictated. Deeming it unsafe to admit of any communication with the assail. ants, he refused to receive the flag, and fired on the officer who bore it. Intelligence, too, was soon obtained, that the first alarm was visibly wearing off, and giving place to other sentiments unfavourable to the hopes of the assailants. Fears for the vast property contained in the town, soon united the disaffected; and they were, at their own request, embodied and armed. The sailors too were landed, and placed at the batteries; and by these means the garrison had become more numerous than the American army.
Arnold, whose numbers, after collecting those he had left on the south side of the St. Lawrence, did not now exceed seven hundred men, was in no condition to risk an action. In his laborious, and almost unparalleled march through the wilderness, nearly one third of his muskets had been rendered useless; and his ammunition was found upon examination, to have sustained such damage, that his riflemen had not more than ten, nor his other troops more than six rounds per man. In this hazardous situation, he was informed, that a body of two hundred men, who had escaped from Montreal, were descending the river; and that M Clean
to point aux
intended making a sortie from the town, at the CHAP. V. head of his garrison, attended by some field 1775. pieces. Under these circumstances, he thought and retires it most advisable to retire with his small party Tremble. to point aux Trembles, twenty miles above Quebec, there to wait the arrival of Montgomery. On their march, they saw the vessel Nov. 19. on board which was general Carleton, and afterwards found that he had been on shore at point aux Trembles, a very few hours before they reached that place.
In war, the success of the most judicious plans often depends on accidents not to be foreseen nor controlled. Seldom has the truth of this position been more clearly demonstrated, than in the issue of the expedition conducted by colonel Arnold. The situation of the enemy conformed exactly to the expectations of the commander in chief. Not suspecting that so bold and difficult an enterprise could possibly be meditated, Quebec had been left entirely defenceless, and all the strength of the province had been collected towards the lakes. Could Arnold have reached that place but a few days sooner; could he even have crossed the river on his first arrival at point Levi, before the town was entered by M'Clean; had colonel Enos been able to follow the main body with his division of the detachment; or had the first moments after passing the St. Lawrence been seized; every probability favours the
CHAP. V. opinion, that this hardy and well judged expe1775. dition, would have been crowned with the
most brilliant success. Had Arnold even been careful to relieve the inhabitants of the town from all fears respecting their property, there is much reason to believe, they would have re. fused to defend it. But although this bold enterprise was planned with judgment, and executed with vigour; although the means employed were adequate to the object; yet the concurrence of several minute and unfavourable incidents, entirely defeated it, and deprived it of that eclat to which it was justly entitled.
General Montgomery having clothed his almost naked troops at Montreal, which he garrisoned; and provided clothes also, for those of Arnold; and having sent several small detachments into the country to strengthen his interest with the Canadians, and obtain supplies of provisions; proceeded at the head of the residue of his army, amounting to about three hundred men, with his usual expedition, to join
colonel Arnold at point aux Trembles, after December 5. which he marched directly to Quebec. But,
before his arrival, governor Carleton had entered the town, and was making every preparation for a vigorous defence. The garrison now consisted of about fifteen hundred men, of whom eight hundred were militia, and between four and five hundred were seamen. Montgomery's effective force was stated, by himself, Xpe at only eight hundred men. Relying more, for CHAP. V. - the success, on the impression his past victories 1775. brine and the opinion of his present strength would ta? make on the fears of the garrison, than on his
I actual force, he, on his first appearance, adTe dressed a letter to the governor, magnifying his to own resources, and demanding a surrender.
The determination to hold no communication met with the Americans, was still preserved; and to the flag was fired on. Yet he contrived means This to send in a letter, in which he sought to alarm ents the fears of Carleton and of the inhabitants, by - representing the irritation of his victorious his army at the injuries they had sustained, and oth the difficulty with which he restrained them;
and in which he stated his perfect knowledge
of the condition of the wretched motley garri. en son, and the impossibility of defending the boke place. But the determination of Carleton was afa taken; and the letters of the American general
could not change it. o The situation of Montgomery was such as
would have filled with despair a mind less B vigorous, less brave and less sanguine than La his. The intense cold had set in, and in that de climate, in the winter, and in the open air, it is
almost too severe for the human system, witha out all the aids usually provided against it. Ted His raw, undisciplined troops, were unaccus
tomed to the hardships, even of an ordinary