Bombing ignites the city
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Bombing ignites the city
Bombing ignites the city
The British siege of Quebec began the night of Thursday, July 12, 1759.
The siege of Quebec began at 9 p.m. on July 12, 1759. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
The siege of Quebec began at 9 p.m. on July 12, 1759. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Inside the city, François-Joseph de Vienne watched from his warehouse. He wrote: "At precisely 9 o'clock in the evening, the enemy sent a rocket from the heights of the Pointe de Lévy..."

Four large cannon and five mortars kept up a steady barrage until morning, sending cannonballs into the streets and smashing walls. Firebombs made of iron baskets filled with pitch, tar and powder were lobbed over the walls, spreading fire. In that first day three hundred British bombs fell on Quebec.

At his church, Notre-Dame des Victoires, Abbé Jean-Félix Recher watched the city burn around him. "At noon a bomb fell on the widow Morand's house, set it on fire and burned it to the ground as well as Widow Cheneverd's house, Mr Cardenas', Mr Dassier's and Madame Boishébert's."

"...the gunfire and the bombardment...
Wolfe bombarded Quebec mercilessly in an attempt to force the French to surrender. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Wolfe bombarded Quebec mercilessly in an attempt to force the French to surrender. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
terrorized the whole town... the women with their children, in great numbers near the citadel, were continually in tears, wailing and praying; they huddled together and said the rosary," Recher wrote.

Marie de la Visitation, a member of the order of nuns that ran the General Hospital, described the desperate scene in a letter: "Let us now, dear Mothers, endeavour to give you some of the details of a war and captivity, which our sins have drawn upon us... During one night, upwards of fifty of the best houses in the Lower Town were destroyed. The vaults containing merchandise and many precious articles did not escape the effects of the artillery.
Abb Jean-Flex Recher church, Notre-Dame des Victoires, was destroyed during the bombardment of Quebec. (As portrayed by Simone Berry in Canada: A People's History)
Abb Jean-Flex Recher church, Notre-Dame des Victoires, was destroyed during the bombardment of Quebec. (As portrayed by Simone Berry in Canada: A People's History)
During this dreadful conflagration, we could offer nothing but our tears and prayers at the foot of the altar at such moments as could be snatched from the necessary attention to the wounded."

The bombing continued, eventually destroying Recher's church and others. On August 10, a shell ignited brandy in a wine cellar, spreading flames until Notre Dame des Victoires had burned to a half-walled ruin. The Recollet Friar's Church had holes in the roof where the cannonballs had fallen and its pews were strewn into useless piles of lumber. The Jesuits' Church and the nunnery suffered the same fate.

"In addition to these misfortunes," noted Marie de la Visitation, "we had to contend with more than one enemy; famine, at all times inseparable from war, threatened to reduce us to the last extremity; upwards of six hundred persons in our building and vicinity, partaking of our small means of subsistence, supplied from the government stores, which were likely soon to be short of what was required for the troops.
Marie de la Visitation was a member of the order of nuns that ran the hospital outside the Quebec city walls. (As portrayed by Diana Leblanc in Canada: A People's History
Marie de la Visitation was a member of the order of nuns that ran the hospital outside the Quebec city walls. (As portrayed by Diana Leblanc in Canada: A People's History

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