ATTACK ON QUEBEC by Harrison Bird


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In this book an authority on the American revolution (The March on Saratoga, Navies in the Mountains, etc.) writes of the abortive attempt of the revolting American colonies in 1775-76 to capture Quebec and bring Canada to their side in the war with England. Had the effort succeeded it might have ended the Revolution at once with an American victory; its failure turned it to a minor and almost forgotten incident in the war. Planned as a two-pronged affair under General David Montgomery and the brave but erratic Benedict Arnold, the invasion was marked by massive inefficiency, bitter jealousies, sickness, lack of supplies, bad luck and bad weather. Montgomery, following the Lake Champlain waterway to Canada, did capture Montreal, then marched on Quebec to meet Arnold. Delayed by a terrible trek through the Maine woods, Arnold arrived ten days late, in which time troop ships from England had reached the citadel with reinforcements. After vainly calling on the fortress to surrender, the Americans attacked the Quebec wall in a snowstorm on December 30, 1775. Montgomery was killed in the assault, Arnold wounded, and Daniel Morgan, that born leader, captured with 466 men. Withdrawing upstream with his remaining men, Arnold continued the siege of Quebec from his bed, but in May, with the arrival of further British reinforcements, the invasion of Canada was ended. This tale of bravery and defeat is told largely through flashbacks and the fictionalized thoughts and actions of minor characters in the drama, a device which detracts from the historical interest of the narrative itself. The book, however, should make an excellent outside reference for beginning students in American revolutionary history.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1968
Publisher: Oxford