19 September

Montcalm wounded after battle

British Occupy Quebec

Although Wolfe won the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759, the city was not occupied until September 19.

Wolfe had died on the field of battle, but Montcalm, fatally wounded but still mounted on his black horse, was brought back into Quebec supported by two men. Before dying, he had time to send a message to General Townshend asking him to be kind to the French sick and wounded, and to carry out an agreement for an exchange of prisoners. His body was placed in a crude wooden box and buried in a convent. A British shell had come through the roof and blasted a hole in the ground large enough to make a grave.

Wolfe's death may have been due to the fact that he wore a new uniform, against the advice of his officers. He was a marked man when he led the Louisburg Grenadiers in the attack. Wolfe was wounded in the wrist and groin before the fatal bullet pierced his lungs.

By the middle of October it was time for the ships to sail for Britain or be frozen in the St. Lawrence for the winter. Admiral Saunders sailed, taking Townshend with him and leaving General Murray in charge. Murray was Governor of Canada until 1766, when he was recalled, although he continued to be paid as governor for eight years after that date.

The first winter in Quebec was miserable because the city had been so badly damaged by nearly ten weeks of bombardment. Food and fuel were scarce. Murray had nearly 7,000 troops to look after, as well as 4,000 citizens who chose to remain in Quebec and take the oath of allegiance. Murray was very strict with his troops. Any soldier found guilty of robbing a French citizen was hanged. Officers were instructed to lift their hats whenever a religious procession went by. 1f they did not want to do that, they had to get out of sight until the procession passed.

Actually, the British soldiers got on well with the French and worked with them in the fields, helping to bring in the harvest. They were not equipped for winter, however. Their hands froze to their shovels when they tried to clear the snow and Scottish soldiers in kilts suffered when they had to go into the forests to get wood for fuel. There was so much sickness that Murray's forces had been reduced to half by the middle of winter.


19 September

-1654    The first marriage on record in Canada took place at Quebec.

-1860    Edward, Prince of Wales, left Canada for a visit to the United States.

-1864    Canadian delegates arrived at Quebec after attending the Charlottetown Conference.

-1891    A tunnel under the St. Clair River was opened, connecting Canada and the United States by railway.

-1949    The Canadian dollar was devalued 10 per cent following the devaluation of the British pound on September 18.

-1960    The new University of Alberta was opened at Calgary with a 320-acre campus.

-1963    Plans were announced to develop Confederation Square at Ottawa at a cost of $100 million.