• Si Biggs

The Capture of Quebec

The Capture of Quebec Unit/ Formation: His Majesty's Marine Forces Location: Canada Period/ Conflict: Seven Years' War Year: 1759 Date/s: 13 September 1759

On September 13, 1759, the British under General James Wolfe (1727-59) achieved a dramatic victory when they scaled the cliffs over the city of Quebec to defeat French forces under Louis-Joseph de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham (an area named for the farmer who owned the land).

Wolfe experienced months of frustration and ill health, and many thought the operation would fail. Then, at dawn on 13 September, Wolfe led his men in carrying out a daring plan. Using flat-bottomed landing craft, he took his 4,500 troops up the St Lawrence River and landed them south-west of the city.

They then scaled the Heights of Abraham to surprise the French and draw them out of Quebec and into battle exactly where Wolfe wanted to fight. It was a bold plan that relied on a mix of good judgement and luck, but it worked.

After skillfully positioning his men behind a ridge to protect them from the French batteries in Quebec, Wolfe ordered his soldiers to double-load their muskets for a devastating initial volley. In the brief fight that followed, their fire drove the French back into the city.

Wolfe was fatally wounded early in the battle but lived long enough to hear of his victory. He was an inspirational leader, who, like other great generals, was loved by his men.


General Wolfe and his troops climbing the Heights of Abraham at the Battle of Quebec 13th September 1759 in the French and Indian War or the Seven Years War: picture by Richard Caton Woodville

Over 2000 Marines were under command with 30 killed.

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