Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Sainte-Foy and the Conquest of Canada

Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Sainte-Foy and the Conquest of Canada

by D. Peter MacLeod


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Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Sainte-Foy and the Conquest of Canada by D. Peter MacLeod

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and the subsequent capitulation of Quebec set the stage for an equally significant French-British engagement in the struggle for northeastern North America, the Battle of Sainte-Foy.

In the spring of 1760, after having suffered a brutal winter, Quebec garrison commander James Murray's troops were vulnerable and reduced to an army of skeletal invalids due to malnutrition and scurvy. Trapped in hostile territory and lacking confidence in the fortifications of Quebec, Murray planned to confront French attackers outside the walls. Instead of waiting at Montreal for the British to attack, Montcalm's successor, François-Gaston de Lévis, returned to the plains for a rematch accompanied by every combatant available--French regulars, Canadian militia and First Peoples warriors. The ensuing Battle of Sainte-Foy was less a battle for territory than a struggle for survival between two equally desperate adversaries. If the British lost the battle, they would lose Quebec. If the French lost the battle, they would very likely lose Canada--both the French and the British had their backs to the wall.

MacLeod presents this historical event in riveting detail, from the preparation and day-by-day actions during the engagement to the compelling siege of Quebec by land and ship. Backs to the Wall is an accessible and engaging account of an important episode in Canadian history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771621274
Publisher: Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

D. Peter MacLeod is the pre-Confederation historian at the Canadian War Museum, where he curated the permanent exhibits on the Seven Years' War and The Battle of the Plains of Abraham. His previous books include The Canadian Iroquois and the Seven Years' War (Dundrun, 2012), and Northern Armageddon (Douglas & McIntyre, 2008). He lives in Ottawa, ON.

Table of Contents

Map viii

The People of 1760 1

Preface 8

Part 1 Preparations

1 War and Geography in the 1760 Campaign 15

2 The Battle of Lagos and the Defence of Canada 17

3 Canada after the Plains of Abraham 20

4 The Battle of Quiberon Bay 26

5 The British in Winter 28

6 A Decision in Paris 35

7 The Seven Nations of Canada 38

8 French Preparations 41

9 British Preparations 47

10 The French Set Forth 53

11 Armies on the Move 56

12 Fighting for Sainte-Foy 60

Part 2 Battle

13 The French Reach the Plains of Abraham 65

14 Murray Advances to the Buttes-à-Neveu 70

15 Murray's Advance Guard 78

16 Lines and Columns 81

17 The French Hit Back 89

18 The British Falter 95

19 Lévis' Charge 101

20 Breaking the Line 107

Part 3 Siege

21 Quebec Besieged: Trenches 121

22 Quebec Besieged: Batteries 129

23 Quebec Besieged: Ships 134

Part 4 Montreal

24 Late May and June 143

25 Murray's Advance 151

26 The Four-Front War 160

27 Sieges 171

28 Varennes 181

29 The Last Days of the War for Canada 185

Part 5 Conclusion

30 Occupied Canada 201

31 Looking Back from the Twenty-First Century 206

Acknowledgements 211

Endnotes 212

Bibliography 236

Illustration Credits 245

Index 246

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