Battle for a Continent
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Battle for a Continent
Plains of Abraham
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British forces assemble
On the orders of a sick and dying General James Wolfe, 5,000 English troops landed at l'Anse au Foulon, just before midnight on September 12, 1759.
More than four thousand English troops assembled on the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
More than four thousand English troops assembled on the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
The soldiers were met with a steep rock face rising 200 feet above the river. A narrow goat path was their only access to the top. For six hours the British army climbed, reaching the field above by five o'clock in the morning Thursday, September 13, 1759.

Wolfe had only seen this place – the Plains of Abraham – through a spyglass on his ship's deck. It was an abandoned farmer's field, uneven with clutches of trees and a cornfield. A small hill, Butte a Neveu, obscured Quebec. Because the top of the hill was within cannon range of Quebec, Wolfe reluctantly placed his men at the bottom of the hill.

He didn't have enough troops for the customary triple line, the delicate choreography of shooting, kneeling and loading that the British favoured.
Evicted from the Scottish Highlands by the English, men like James Thompson now fought for Britian at the Plains of Abraham. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Evicted from the Scottish Highlands by the English, men like James Thompson now fought for Britian at the Plains of Abraham. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Instead he set up two lines and had the men load two musketballs to maximize their firepower.

The men assembled into an incongruous regimental mosaic. The 78th Highlanders, known as the Fraser Highlanders, had the tartan wraps, broadswords and pipers that had been at Culloden, where some of them had fought for the Catholic Bonnie Prince Charlie. Now they were being commanded by a man who had fought against them at that bloody battle. Wolfe had suggested recruiting the Highlanders as mercenaries, noting their ferocity and fearlessness. Besides these qualities, he commented, it would be "no great mischief" if they were killed. Sergeant James Thompson, Simon Fraser, Alexander Fraser – these were the names of men from Highland Catholic families whose homes had been destroyed by the British.
Many soldiers of the 35th Regiment, like Michael Clinton, were Irish farmers displaced from the land or unemployed labourers. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Many soldiers of the 35th Regiment, like Michael Clinton, were Irish farmers displaced from the land or unemployed labourers. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)

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Battle for a Continent
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French army prepares in Montreal
Plains of Abraham
British forces assemble
French forces mobilize
The battle
The French retreat
The abandoned battlefield
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Winter 1759-1760

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