The Conquest

The British Invasion Strategy

Louisbourg, Then Quebec, Then Montreal

Grenadier, 17th Regiment of Foot, 1750s

Caption: Grenadier, 17th Regiment of Foot, 1750s

View Multimedia - Changing Boundaries

Caption: View Multimedia - Changing Boundaries

Loudoun, a talented strategist, formulated an impressive plan to invade New France, which was approved by the new government of William Pitt. This involved first taking Quebec City, the gateway of the colony to Europe, followed by Montreal, the main military base in New France and key to the interior of the continent.

The first objective was to be met from the St. Lawrence River, by calling upon the formidable Royal Navy. But first it would be necessary to take the fortress of Louisbourg. The British could not allow such a large naval base to remain available to the French navy. This preliminary operation required mustering, in Halifax, an army of regular troops to embark on a powerful fleet. The plan was to lay siege first to Louisbourg, then to Quebec.

The second objective, to take Montreal, required the creation of two armies with a core of regular British troops supported by provincial American troops. The former, the larger of the two, would assemble at Albany, sail up Lake Champlain and then down the Richelieu River. The second would gather in Virginia and Pennsylvania and then move up the Ohio River, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on their way to the St. Lawrence. The final phase of the operation would be set in motion only after the fall of Quebec, so that the three Anglo-American armies would join at Montreal. The plan could not be executed quickly. Though the strategy was good and the forces mobilized considerable, 1757 was not an auspicious year for the Anglo-American forces.