Defeat at Quebec

Tuesday, January 12, AD 2016



The year 1775 ended on a note of defeat for the Americans. Since December 6, 1776 the city had been under siege by the combined forces of General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold. Twelve hundred Americans confronted 1800 British regulars and French Canadian militia.  The Americans realized that the British would eventually strongly reinforce Quebec by sea, and that a prolonged siege in the teeth of a Canadian winter would probably do far more harm to the besiegers than the besieged.

Thus before dawn on December 31, 1775, in the midst of a blizzard, the Americans began a two pronged assault on the lower town of Quebec, the plan being that the forces led by Montgomery and Arnold would meet in the lower town, and then scale the walls of the upper town.

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5 Responses to Defeat at Quebec

  • I have been reading a book by Kevin Phillips, 1775.
    Phillips points out the animosity between Catholic Quebec and Puritan New England, which are not far apart. The outright hatred among many New Englanders for the Catholic Church was a divide Quebec would not cross. The British Crown guaranteed freedom of religion to Quebec, which drove New England crazy.
    This animosity exists today in a different way, as the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins have a fierce rivalry……even though Catholicism has faded in both regions.

  • The Revolution was a major factor in helping chip away at anti-Catholicism in the colonies. Civil disabilities, where they existed, against Catholics were removed in most of the colonies. As for Canada, there was a fair amount of support for the Revolution among English Canadians, little among French Canadiens. However there was also little love by the French Canadiens for their English overlords, the French Canadiens largely just wishing to be left alone. Phillips was an overrated political analyst who became a bad historian.

  • While I never thought much of Phillips, and still don’t, there is one very good chapter in his book. Many times I have pointed out the help that Spain provided to the Americans and Phillips does go into this in some detail. How often is Galvez mentioned in any American history textbook? Not in any I ever read.
    Back to Quebec…it is correct that they wanted to be left alone…still, many Quebecois left to settle Vincennes, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve and New Orleans, giving further evidence that the Catholic impact upon our nation is greater and goes back further than most of us are aware of.

    Back to Quebec

  • Is this the genesis of the phrase “keep your powder dry?”

  • A good query Pete! The quote is attributed to Cromwell, although I doubt if he said it.

232 Years Since Cowpens

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013

A very accurate video on the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.  Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, the American commander, was an American original.  An ill-educated frontiersman, Morgan was also a natural leader of men, made easier by his height, well over six-foot, and his robust sense of humor, along with his willingness to use his fists to enforce discipline if necessary.  He served in the French and Indian War, being sentenced to 500 lashes for punching a British officer.  He later made a joke of it saying that in carrying out the sentence the count was one short, but it was a tribute to his toughness that he survived such an experience.  It is a pity that the late John Wayne, circa 1955, did not appear in a movie bio of this remarkable man.

At the beginning of the Revolution, Morgan led a company of Virginia riflemen to join Washington’s Army besieging Boston.  Volunteering to join the invasion of Canada, he led three companies of riflemen that quickly became known as Morgan’s Sharpshooters.  In the attack on Quebec on December 31, 1775, Captain Morgan led his men in ferocious fighting in the city.  The attack was ultimately defeated, with Morgan refusing to surrender to the British and instead tendering his sword to a French priest.

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2 Responses to 232 Years Since Cowpens

  • To have survived 499 lashes is amazing.

    American Cannae, maybe; American Hannibal . . .

    The contributions of men like Washington, Morgan, the Continental Regular, and militia (men like you and I) cannot be exaggerated.

  • One of the more brilliant examples of tactical planning in American military history–he made his own weaknesses work in his favor. The fact he’d worn out the British by keeping a step ahead of them for weeks didn’t hurt.

    If only William Washington had run Bloody Ban through–he wounded Tarleton, if I recall correctly.

    And the Cannae reference is dead on: during the Civil War, both sides would desperately look for battles of annihilation, but never come close to achieving them. With the partial exception of Thomas at Nashville, I suppose.