Fall of the French
With the melting of the ice on the riverways of Canada, Governor Vaudreuil and the Chevalier Maréchal de Lévis finalized their plans for an attempt to retake Quebec. The winter had been spent in the making of equipment needed for the army. Now, it was April 15th, and the river below Montreal could be navigated once again. On that day, two ships were loaded with the equipment and ammunition and set sail. These vessels were then to meet with others along the way carrying troops.
At Lachneaie they were joined by a fleet carrying the La Sarre battalion, then at Verchéres, barges transporting Guyenne corps. Then further down river, the convoy was joined by two regiments of Berry's, who formed the advance guard. Finally the convoy was to rendesvous with two divisions of cavalry, that had traveled there from Montreal by land, and several canoe loads of Indians. This brought the strength of the army to five brigades and eleven battalions, a total of six thousand nine hundred and ten men.
Due to strong winds and rain, the fleet was forced to land at a place known as Pointe-aux-Trembles. Here, with great difficulty, they struggled to drag their boats and equipment ashore over the rafts of floating ice. Also, there was the hazardous task of bring three field-pieces, that were to follow by land. Once this was done, the army encamped in the area around the church.
Saturday, the twenty-sixth, the convoy was again under way. Thus, despite a heavy north-east wind, and blocks of floating ice, they departed for St. Augustin. By noon of the same day, the fleet had reached it's destination. Here, the wide fringes of ice still lined the shores making a landing more difficult. The vessels landing here had to be dragged across the ice, and well up onto the shore, else be lost to the flows of ice at high tide. With the weather, combined with English defenses, the French army would be forced to make the last leg of trip would have to be by land. A march of eighteen miles over all most impassable roads lay ahead.
Lévis was well aware of the obstacles that lay ahead, decided to cross the river two miles above the mouth. An advance guard of grenadiers and Indians, with a small detachment of artillery, were sent on ahead to repair those bridges destroyed by the English. By two o'clock that afternoon, two narrow bridges were made ready for the army to cross.
No sooner did word reach de Lévis, than the army was ordered to march. Officers, and men alike set out on foot in ankle deep mud, in a cold rain. As the French army advanced, under these severe conditions, scouts reported that the English had recently abandoned their positions at Lorette, and had pulled back to Ste. Foy. With this news, de Bourlamaque was ordered to seize these positions and the houses overlooking the road. When the positions were secured, a brigade was sent to relieve the grenadiers, and de Bourlamaque was ordered to advance " as far as he possibly could without,...