The Conquest

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

Wolfe's Desperate Plan

Maj.-Gen. James Wolfe

Caption: Maj.-Gen. James Wolfe

Time was short, and in September the generals on Wolfe's staff presented him with a final, desperate plan: attempt a night landing to the west of the city and climb the cliffs onto the heights and prepare to battle the French. Whether the attempt would be successful depended entirely upon the element of surprise.

The risk was great, to be sure, but Wolfe liked danger, and he agreed. During the night of September 13 fortune smiled on him at last. His men were able to elude the watchful French sentinels. By morning, some 4,500 British soldiers, equipped with a few field cannon, formed ranks on the Plains of Abraham with Wolfe leading them. Having avoided committing any tactical errors, the young English general was preparing for the battle with remarkable composure.

Additional Images

Gunner, Royal Artillery, 1751-1764
Map of the siege of Quebec, 1759
A view of the taking of Quebec, 13th September 1759