Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! (Battle of Quebec City, 1775)

The Battle of Quebec by Charles Williams Jefferys

Happy New Year to all of the readers here on Kabinettskriege!

It may surprise you to learn that January 1st was not the beginning of the year for many people living throughout the Kabinettskriege era. While Catholic states had adopted the Gregorian Calendar (which places the new year on January 1st) in 1582, many Protestant states did not adopt this calendar until 1700, and England and Sweden did not adopt this until 1752 and 1753, respectively.

Like Christmas, a battle occurred on New Year's Eve in the Kabinettskriege era. This was brought to my attention by my good friend and fellow historian Andrew Dial, who will be doing a guest post about France in the Kabinettskriege era.

Defending Quebec from an American Attack December 31st, 1775 by F.H. Wellington 
On New Year's Eve, 1775, Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold attempted to storm Quebec City, in order to drive the British from a potential 14th colony: Canada. They hoped to repeat the success of James Wolfe in 1759, by defeating the defenders of Quebec City, and liberating this colony. British governor Guy Carleton marshalled the defenders and led a desperate defense. While this could be viewed as an American invasion of Canada, like the later war of 1812, some Canadians joined this invasion, such as James Livingston's 1st Canadian Regiment.

This mix of American colonists and disaffected Canadians attempted to take Quebec City by storm. They were decisively defeated by Carleton, the British garrison, and a French Canadian militia. Richard Montgomery was killed leading his men forward, Benedict Arnold was wounded in the leg, and when Daniel Morgan took the attack, he was captured by the British and Canadian militia defending the city.
The Death of General Montgomery by John Trumball

The rebel colonists were outnumbered by a 2 to 3 margin, roughly 1200 to 1800 men. In addition, the Canadians had the assistance of the heavy fortress cannon defending the city. Richard Montgomery was shot through the head by a canister blast from one of these cannons. This death scene, depicted above by John Trumball, was an attempt to show the similarity between the heroism of General Montgomery and General Wolfe, who died during the British attack in 1759. This battle ended the rebel hopes of conquering Canada.

Have a happy time bringing in the New Year, with best wishes from us at Kabinettskriege!

Thanks for Reading,

Alex Burns

1 comment:

  1. wow! You really did a good job hitting the nail on my countries war! Thanks for being a true historian- they are few in this world!