The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion
The Attack on Quebec
Caption: Sketch map of American attacks on Quebec, 31 December 1775
The American staff chose the night of December 31 to launch three simultaneous attacks against the city. That evening, a snowstorm helped them by preventing the defenders from seeing and hearing them arrive. Towards 4 a.m., flares went up from the American lines: this was the agreed upon signal! The attack began with cannon fire on the Saint-Jean Gate. In the city, drums and church bells sounded the alarm. But this initial attack was only a feint, during which Montgomery, leading four New York regiments, moved unnoticed below Cap-aux-Diamants and came up a narrow street (today Rue Petit Champlain) leading to Place Royale. Soon afterwards, Montgomery and his men were able to make out a house through the storm. "Forward, men. Quebec is ours!" shouted the general, running forward, sword in hand. A moment later, there was a terrible explosion. It came from the first defence post in Lower Town, held by some 30 Canadian militiamen and a few British seamen. Montgomery and everyone with him fell bleeding in the snow. The only survivor, aide-de-camp Aaron Burr, who would become an American vice-president, remained standing, completely stunned. There were further cannon shots and ripples of gunfire. The New Yorkers beat a hasty retreat!
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