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Quebec Under The Gun

July 2024
1min read

The drawings on these two pages were made in shell-torn Quebec, after the surrender, by Richard Short, purser of H.M.S. Prince of Orange. Describing the scene in Montcalm and Wolt’e, Francis Parkman wrote: “The [British] fleet was gone; the great river was left a solitude; and the chill days of a fitful November passed over Quebec in alternations of rain and frost, sunshine and snow. … Their own artillery had so battered the place that it was not easy [for the British troops] to find shelter. … the Bishop’s Palace … was a skeleton of tottering masonry, and [other] buildings were a mass of ruin, where ragged boys were playing at see-saw among the fallen planks and timbers. … The Cathedral was burned to a shell. The solid front of the College of the Jesuits was pockmarked by numberless cannon-balls, and the adjacent church, of the Order was woefully shattered. The church of the Récollets suffered still more. The bombshells that fell through the roof had broken into the pavement, and as they burst had thrown up the bones and skulls of the dead. … The commissary-general, Derniers, thus describes … the state of the town: ‘Quebec is nothing but a shapeless mass of ruins. Confusion, disorder, pillage, reign even among the inhabitants, for the English make examples of severity every day. Everybody rushes hither and hither, without knowing why. … Never was there seen such a sight.’”

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