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glory. A major under Cumberland at
the battle of Feldt, his conduct was so
admirable, that his general-officer loudly
(hanked him, in the presence of the whole
army, on the battle-field.

Pitt, who was ever alive to merit, had
his eye upon young Wolfe, who plucked
fresh laurels on every occasion. It was
not only that the youthful officer was



1757,



dashingly gallant in battle, but he was
remarkable for his judgment, and the
careful study of his art. He was, more
over, not purely a professional routinist,
but possessed of a general culture, which
had liberalized and refined his whole life
and character.

When General Sir John Mordaunt and
Admiral Barker were sent against Eoche-
fort, with a large force, Pitt chose
Wolfe, for his merit alone, as the
quartermaster-general. The expedition
arrived in the Basque roads. The lead
ers were quarrelling, and nothing was be
ing done. Wolfe, impatient of this slug
gishness, takes a boat and lands alone
upon the shore. He now quietly walks
into the enemy s country for a mile or
more, observing with a soldier s eye its
weaknesses and its strength. He returns
on board the admiral s ship, and reports
the result of his observations to the lead
ers of the expedition. He urges them to
land and begin an attack on Eochefort
at once, as there Avas no obstacle suffi
cient to resist it. His advice is scorned.
He now, in his earnestness, declares that
if three ships-of-war and five hundred men
are given him, he will carry the place
himself. His proposition is rejected.

The expedition, making no attempt up
on Eochefort, re turned ingloriously home.
Wolfe s conduct becoming known to Pitt,
confirmed that statesman in his high es
timate of him. The public welcomed
him as the only hero of the occasion, and
the minister elevated him to the rank of
colonel.

On the 23d of January, Wolfe

1758
was appointed a brigadier-general,



102



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



under Amherst, and now has arrived off
Louisburg, in command of one of the
three divisions of the large force about
to attack that citadel.

It was hoped to take Louisburg by
surprise. Arriving before the break of
day, Amherst gave orders that not a light
should be shown, and no noise be made,
in order that the transports might work
their way silently into the harbor, and
the troops be landed so suddenly as to
come upon the garrison unexpectedly.
As the morning broke, however, a thick
fog shrouded the land so completely, that
it was impossible to attempt to disembark
the troops. As the day advanced, the fog
dispersed ; but a strong wind then began
to blow, bringing in with it from the At
lantic a great swell, which broke in such
a high surf upon the shores of the bay,
that it was quite impossible for a small
boat to ride through it in safety to the
land. The general, however, in the com
pany of Wolfe and another officer, ven
tured to approach the shore during the
night, for the purpose of reconnoitring,
and saw that the French had been very
busy in adding to the defences, by out
works and posts, which greatly increased
the risks of landing.

For a week the Atlantic continued to
pour in its great waves, so as to cause
such a swell in the harbor, and dash such
a surge upon the beach, that 110 attempt
was made during that whole time to land.
On the eighth day, however, the sea went
down, but still leaving a dangerous surf.
A naval officer having made a prelimi
nary survey, and reported a favorable
place for disembarking, the troops were



ordered out before daybreak into the
boats, to prepare for the attempt. There
were three divisions. The right and cen
tre were under the commands of Whitr
more and Lawrence. Wolfe led the left
at the head of his grenadiers, five hundred
infantry, and a company of provincial
rangers. He was the first to approach
the shore. The French gathered in large
force to oppose the landing, but withheld
their fire until their enemy came close in ;
and, as the boats rose in the white crests
of the surf, as it curled up from the shore,
they began a near and murderous fire : the
English suffered greatly, but, retaining
their coolness, and not returning a shot,
vigorously drove their boats through the
surf, into the very mouths of the French
muskets. Wolfe now succeeded in land
ing his troops, and began an onslaught
which soon drove the enemy in disorder
from their outworks, to the very walls
of the city. The pursuit was continued
with great slaughter, until checked by the
cannon of the citadel, when Wolfe retired
to a position near where he had landed,
bringing back with him seventy prison
ers. The other divisions had succeeded
also in landing, but not until they had
lost a hundred boats, and a large number
of men, from the violence of the sea.

Another severe storm coming on, the
artillery was not brought on shore for
two or three days. This postponed the
siege, which, however, was soon com
menced in good earnest. The guns in
position and the intrenchments dug, the
bombardment began. Day and night the
English poured from their batteries on
land, and their ships in the bay, such a



COLONIAL.]



SURRENDER OF LOUISBURG.



tempest of balls, bombshells, and red-hot
shot, that finally, the citadel having been
on fire, the barracks burnt to the ground,
and the walls so crumbled and brought
so close within the approaching land-batr
teries, that the enemy were unable to
stand to their guns ; and the French com
mander was forced, after a spirited resist>
ance, which was prolonged for several
weeks, to make an unconditional surren
der.

The shipping of the harbor, and a fine
French fleet at anchor in the bay, were
almost annihilated. Two of the vessels-
of-war, toward the close of the siege, still
remained secure ; when a volunteer par
ty, in a number of small boats, moved
into the harbor, in spite of a hot fire kept
up by the enemy, and, boarding the sur
viving ships, gallantly took them. With
this volunteer party was Cook, then a
petty officer on a British ship-of-war, af
terward the famous Captain Cook, who
sailed round the world.

The victory was a great one. England
rejoiced at it, and did honor to the gal
lantry of her soldiers. The French flags
were hung, with solemn ceremonies, on
the walls of St. Paul s cathedral ; and
thanks and honors were decreed by Par
liament to the brave officers and soldiers
who had so valiantly won a victory in
their country s cause. Wolfe, having per
formed a painful duty in expelling a rem
nant of Acadians, still in Nova Scotia,
from their homes, was attacked with a
severe illness, and was obliged to return
to England. On his arrival there, his first
act was to address a letter to Mr. Pitt, in
which he modestly but spiritedly offered



103

his services for the ensuing campaign in
America.

The British government, under the ad
ministration of Pitt, had expressed its res
olution to redeem, at every hazard, the
disasters which had sullied English fame
in the North and West. England voted
men, arms, ammunition, provisions, and
all that was necessary for a campaign;
and for the first time, at the suggestion
of the able Pitt, bestowed upon provin
cial officers the rank and pay of regulars.
The American colonies sympathized with
these liberal measures of the home gov
ernment, and raised a large force of pro
vincial militia : seven thousand men came
from Massachusetts, five thousand from
Connecticut, nine hundred from New
Hampshire, and large numbers from
Rhode Island, New York, and New Jer
sey, and gathered together at Albany, un
der the command of Abercrombie, who,
since the departure of Lord Loudoun,had
become command er-in-chief. In addition
to the large provincial force, amounting
to over nine thousand, there were nearly
seven thousand British regulars, well offi
cered by some of the most brilliant of
England s military chiefs, among whom
was the young Lord Howe, " the idol and
soul of the army."

This great force now set out. " On the
fifth day of July," says Bancroft,
" the whole armament of more than
fifteen thousand men, the largest body of
European origin that had ever been as
sembled in America, struck their tents
at daybreak, and in nine hundred small
boats and one hundred and thirty-five
whale-boats, with artillery mounted on



104



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



LPART i.



rafts, embarked on Lake George. The
fleet, bright with banners, and cheered
by martial music, moved in stately pro
cession down the beautiful lake, beaming
with hope and pride, though with no wit-
ness but the wilderness. They passed
over the broader expanse of waters to
the first narrows ; they came where the
mountains step down to the water s edge,
and, mantled with forests, enhance the
picturesque loveliness of the scene ; and,
in the richest hues of evening light, they
halted at Sabbath-day point. Long after
ward, Stark (who was now a captain) re
membered that on that night, Howe, re
clining in his tent on a bearskin, and bent
on winning a hero s name, questioned
him closely as to the position of Ticon-
deroga, and the fittest mode of attack."

At Sabbath-day point they halted but
a few hours ; and, while it was yet night,
the troops took to their boats again, and
sailed along the lake until they reached
the Narrows, where they arrived at break
of day. Here the brave Colonel Brad-
street was put ashore at once with two
thousand men to reconnoitre, who, find
ing no enemy, were followed immediate
ly by the rest of the forces.

The French fort of Ticonderoga,against
which the English were now marching,
was placed on the narrow strip of land
between Lake George and Lake Cham-
plain. Montcalm was vigilant, and, aware
of the approach of the British, had sent
out a small force to the borders of Lake
George, to oppose their landing. This
force, however, observing the large num
bers advancing, began to retire ; but, in
attempting to return, they got lost in the



forests, which crowded thickly the sur
rounding country. A small party of the
English, under Lord Howe, being in ad
vance, reconnoitring, fell in with the
French ; and a desperate struggle began
at once, in the midst of the tangled woods
and in the yielding swamp. The English
fought gallantly, and the enemy stoutly
resisted. The heroic Howe was foremost
in the fight, but, struck early by a mus
ket-ball, fell instantly dead. The loss of
their good and chivalrous young leader
gave the intensity of revenge to the cour
age of his men, and they battled more
desperately than ever with the enemy ;
but such was the obstinate fierceness with
which the French held their ground, that
they did not yield until they were nearly
all exterminated, with but a single hun
dred out of their whole force of half a
thousand left !

The death of Howe was so discoura
ging to the troops and to their general,
that both seemed to lose heart. Aber-
crombie himself acted almost like a mad
man. With no purpose that was intelli
gible, he marched his forces back again
to the spot whence they had come the
day before, with the greatest trial to their
spirit and endurance. He, however, soon
recovered sufficient courage to act, but
only to act with reckless imprudence.
He marched upon Ticonderoga, and, en
countering the French, to the number of
four thousand or more, in an intrenched
camp at Cerrillon,in front of the fort, gave
them battle. With an unreflecting au-
dacity,Abercrombie led his troops against
the impregnable centre of the enemy s
position, though the flanks were exposed,



106



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



the sad experience of Braddock, to pro
vide against the trials and dangers of a
passage through the wilderness. He met
with no reverse until within about nine
ty miles of the fort, when one of his too
impulsive Scotch officers, while in advance
to reconnoitre the enemy s position, sound
ed his bagpipes and challenged the French
to battle. The challenge was accepted ;
and the impatient Highlander, with his
eight hundred kilted followers, was worst
ed, lie had to pay for his rashness by
his own captivity and that of three hun
dred of his men.

The Highlanders who were raw re
cruits, fresh from their mountain-fastnes
ses were constantly, by their ignorance
nnd disregard of military discipline, get
ting into all sorts of serious difficulties.
On one occasion, a man was seen coming
out of the woods, with his long hair all
awry, and his body wrapped in some dark-
colored drapery. The sentinel challenged
him, but receiving no answer, or not un
derstanding it, shot him dead. It turned
out that the poor fellow, who was sup
posed to be a skulking Indian in a blan
ket, was no more than a raw, unkempt,
and innocent Hielander, in his mountain-
plaid, astray in the woods. He had prob
ably answered the sentinel s challenge in
his native Gaelic, his only tongue ; and
the Saxon soldier had mistaken it for
Choctaw, or some other Indian dialect !

Again, on another occasion, several of
these Highland soldiers, by their undis
ciplined habits of wandering, fell into an
ambush of Indians. These savages be
gan their cruel tortures, when one Allan
Macpherson, finding his turn had come,



was resolved upon escaping, if not death,
at any rate the lengthened agonies of
savage torture. He accordingly hit upon
this ingenious expedient : He gave out
that he knew the secret of a great medi
cine, which, if applied to the skin, would
make it invulnerable. He was believed
by his barbarous listeners, who allowed
him to gather the necessary herbs, with
which Allan made a decoction, and ap
plied it to his neck. " Strike, now," he
told them, "with all your might, and
you ll see the power of the great medi
cine !" The savage raised his tomahawk,
and, bringing it down with all the force
of his arm, sent poor Allan Macpherson s
head rolling off several yards ! The In
dians saw the trick, by which the shrewd
Highlander had saved himself the tor
ments of a lingering death. They were
so tickled with Macpherson s ingenuity,
that they became sufficiently good-na
tured to spare his surviving comrades,
not from death, but from a long and pain
ful journey to it. Torture w r as not in
flicted upon the rest of the victims.

In spite of the mishap in which the
recklessness of his officers had involved
him, Forbes persevered in his advance,
and had the satisfaction of finding, on
reaching Fort Du Quesne,that the French
had fled. The British took possession of
the deserted fort, with Washington and
his " really fine corps" of Virgin
ians among the first to plant the
English flag, and called the place Pitts-
burg, in honor of the great statesman who
was now redeeming everywhere the glo
ry of his country. Thus ended the cam
paign of 1758.



NOT, 25,




pa



COLONIAL. J



CANADA TO BE CONQUERED.



107



CHAPTER XIII.

Pitt determines to wrest America from the Dominion of France. Expedition to Canada, under Amherst. Its Failure.
Johnson s Success at Niagara. Wolfe appointed to command the Expedition against Quebec. His Interview with
Pitt Wolfe s Enthusiasm. His Better Qualities. Poet and Soldier. Honor and Piety. The Expedition sails.
The Force. The Officers. The Voyage. Arrival on the American Coast. Off Quebec. Wolfe s Impetuosity of
Temper. Promptitude of Action. Landing of a Small Detachment on the Island of Orleans. Audacity stronger
than Numbers. The Whole Force debarked. Wolfe s Contemplation of the Scene of the Coming Struggle. His
Reflections. A Storm, and an Overshadowed Heart. Clear Weather, and Bright Hope. A Nocturnal Incident. A
Fire-ship in the Night. Wolfe s Proclamation. A Gentle Nature curdled by Blood.



1759,



THE attention of England was
now concentrated upon its Ameri
can colonies. Pitt, encouraged by the
triumphs which his active administration
had succeeded in winning, and cheered
by the sympathies of the whole British
nation, resolutely bent all his energies
toward wresting complete^ the domin
ion of America from the grasp of France.
The English Parliament seconded, almost
with one mind, this spirited design of
their leader, and, to carry it out, gener
ously voted the large sum of two hun
dred thousand pounds. The great object
was, to conquer Canada ; and, with this
purpose, he determined to send three ex
peditions against those strongholds of
French power in America Niagara,
Montreal, and Quebec.

Amherst, who had been so successful
at Louisburg, was appointed commander-
in-chief of the British forces in America,
and ordered to advance toward Canada,
by the northern lakes. He accordingly
marched, with an immense force, and, al
though with much toil, delay, and occa
sional opposition, succeeded in possessing
nimself of the two French forts of Ticon-
deroga and Crown Point, and, after a most



unaccountable procrastination, sailed at
length to the north of Lake Champlain.
The enemy had feared to meet the pre
ponderating numbers of the English on
their march ; and, as the latter came near
Montreal, the inhabitants of that city, al
though making every effort to prepare
for resistance, were in a state of great
alarm. The English, however, turned
back again when within reach and almost
certain of victory.

The expedition against Niagara had,
with the aid of Johnson and his Indian
force, been successful, and that important
position had surrendered also to the Eng
lish.

It was to Wolfe that Pitt intrusted the
expedition against Quebec. In January,
1759, the young officer was gazetted a
major-general, and given the command-
in-chief of the troops destined for Canada
Wolfe was now thirty-tw r o years of age.
He is not described as being particularly
well-favored in looks. His frame was
meager, and indicative of a feeble const!
tution. His features were sharp and an
gular, his forehead receding, his complex
ion coarse and freckled, and his hair red
dish. His mouth, however, bore a refined



108



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



! PAKT I



and gentle expression, while his large
blue eyes beamed with intelligence and
a sweet sensibility. His manner was not
particularly engaging to strangers, but all
who knew him well loved him well. He
was frank and sincere. Warm in his af
fections, and of a loving nature, he clung
to his parents, and particularly to his
mother, w r ith the devotion of a pure and
fond heart. He was naturally domestic
in his tastes, notwithstanding his military
life, and in writing to his mother he says
of himself: " I have a turn of mind that
favors matrimony prodigiously; I love
children, and think them necessary to
people in their later days."

He became enamored of a beautiful
woman at an early age, but his love was
not at first returned. Persisting, howev
er, in his suit, he was finally accepted by
Miss Lowther, a celebrated beauty (sub
sequently the duchess of Bolton), whom
he was to marry on his return from the
Canadian expedition. He gave his be
trothed, on his last farewell, a necklace
of pearls. She wore it ever after, but, in
a few months, always wrapped in Mack
velvet.

Wolfe was excitable in manner, and
somewhat impetuous in temper. His na
ture was an enthusiastic one, and he pur
sued with ardor whatever touched his
heart. His warmth occasionally caused
those, who did not know him well, to
doubt his discretion. A day or two after
he had received his command, he dined
with Pitt. After dinner, the subject of
his expedition to Quebec naturally com
ing up, Wolfe became so excited, that he
sprang from his seat, strode about the



room, flourishing his sword, and spoke of
what he would do in such a boastful man
ner, that Pitt was said to have been fright
ened for a moment at having intrusted
to apparently such a frivolous character
so weighty a matter as the fate of na
tions.

Wolfe s mercurial temper was, howev
er, balanced by a strong and well-culti
vated intellect. He was fond of study,
and, by diligent application, though most
of his life had been spent in the camp,
had become no mean scholar. He wrote
both prose and verse with facility. That
famous camp-song is his which still echoes
in every tent where the British soldier is
serving his country:

" How stands the glass around ?
For shame ! ye take no care, my boys,

How stands the glass around ?

Let mirtli and wine abound,

The trumpets sound,
The colors they are flying, boys :

To fight, kill, or wound,

May we still be found
Content with our hard fate, my boys,

On the cold ground !

" Why, soldiers, why,
Should we be melancholy, boys ?

Why, soldiers, why ?

Whose business tis to die !

What, sighing ? fie !
Do n t fear, drink on ; be jolly, boys !

Tis he, you, or I !

Cold, hot, wet, or dry,
We re always bound to follow, boys,

And scorn to fly !

" Tis but in vain
I mean not to upbraid you, boys
T is but in vain
For soldiers to complain:
Should next campaign



COLONIAL.]



THE MAD WOLFE.



109



Send us to HIM who made us, boys,

We re free from pain !

But, if we remain,
A bottle and a kind landlady

Cure all again !"

Wolfe s affectionate and domestic na
ture, in sympathy with the devotional
sentiment of his pious mother, whom he
so strongly loved, was religiously dis
posed. He had even the reputation of
being fanatical. A courtier remonstrated
with the king on the appointment of
Wolfe, saying, " He is mad" (meaning by
"mad," over-religious). "If he be mad,"
replied the sovereign, " I wish he would
bite some of my other generals !" Wolfe
tells his mother, in a letter from Scot
land : " I have observed your instructions
so rigidly, that, rather than want the
word, I got the reputation of being a
very good Presbyterian, by frequenting
the kirk of Scotland till our chapel
opens."

On the 14th of February, the
British land-forces, under Wolfe,
sailed for America. The transports which
bore them were convoyed by a large
English squadron, commanded by Saun-
ders, " that admiral who was a pattern
of most sturdy bravery united with the
most unaffected modesty. No man said
less or deserved more. Simplicity in his
manners, generosity, and good nature,
adorned his genuine love of his coun
try." On the 21st of April, the whole
armament arrived off Cape Breton, but
could not enter the harbor of Louisburg,
as was originally intended, in consequence
of the large quantity of floating ice. They
set sail for Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and



1759,



anchored in that port. Here were now
gathered a magnificent fleet of twenty
two ships-of-the-line, five frigates, nine
teen smaller vessels, and a crowd of trans
ports, under the flag of Admiral Saunders.
General Wolfe mustered eight thousand
troops under his command. A detach
ment of artillery and engineers, ten bat
talions of infantry, and six companies
of rangers, made up the whole force,
which, however, was afterward increased
by the addition of several companies from
the garrison at Cape Breton, and which
formed what was called the corps of Lou
isburg grenadiers.

" On board one of the ships," says Ban
croft, " was Jervis, afterward Earl St. Vin
cent; another which followed bore as mas
ter James Cook, the navigator who was
destined to explore and reveal the un
known paths and thousand isles of the
Pacific. The brigades had for their com
manders the brave, open-hearted, and lib
eral Robert Monckton, afterward govern
or of New York and conqueror of Mar-
tinico ; George Townshend, elder brother
of Charles Townshend, soon to succeed
his father in the peerage, and become
known as a legislator for America, a man
of quick perception but unsafe judgment;
and the rash and inconsiderate Murray.
For his adjutant-general Wolfe selected
Isaac Barre, an old associate at Louis-
burg ; an Irishman of humble birth, elo
quent, ambitious, and fearless. The gren
adiers of the army were formed into a
corps, commanded by Colonel Guy Carle-
ton. A detachment of light infantry
were to receive orders from Lieutenant-
Colonel, afterward Sir William* Howe."



llu



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



|_PART 1



The ice having cleared, Admiral Saun-
ders bore away for Louisburg. He de
tached from his fleet, however, a small
squadron, under Admiral Darrell,to inter
cept the French vessels which were said
to be making; their wav to the St. Law-

O /

rence, in order to carry relief to Quebec.
On the arrival of the ships and troops in
the harbor of Louisburg, the two com
manders (Saunders and Wolfe) counselled
together in regard to the plans of the
proposed attack on Quebec ; and orders
were soon after issued to all the vessels,
in case of separation, to make Gaspe bay,
in the gulf of St. Lawrence, the first, and



Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 14 of 126)