Gouvernement du Canada - Commission des champs de batails nationaux Gouvernement du Canada - Canada

The National Battlefields Commission

Plains of Abraham





A Difficult Winter in Québec

It was on the evening of September 18 that the British entered Québec and raised the Union Jack over the walls of the city. Subsequently, the necessary arrangements were made to spend the winter. First of all, Monckton went back to New York while Townshend returned to England. The command fell to Brigadier Murray. The Grenadiers left to rejoin their regiment, while the rest of the troops remained in Québec. As for the Navy, Saunders left a few small boats in Québec and stationed other larger ships in Halifax. The latter were ordered to return in the St. Lawrence as soon as the ice melted in the spring.

The British garrison found this first winter in Québec difficult. Since the town had been destroyed, the dwellings that could have housed the garrison were very scanty. Food was available but its freshness was doubtful: this, combined with the lack of vitamins, caused a scurvy epidemic among soldiers posted in Québec and decimated part of the British Army. The soldiers felt that they had been abandoned in this hostile environment, there were no other British troops within a radius of several hundred kilometres. And so, weakened and demoralized, the soldiers who managed to survive the harsh winter saw, with the coming of spring, that there would be more fighting134.

However, despite the harshness of winter, Murray lost no time in improving the Québec fortifications. He had temporary work done on the top of the parapets and placed seven blockhouses to control traffic over the entire grounds in front of the city walls. He also reinforced the façade of the "Porte Saint-Louis" and built temporary entrenchments. After the winter was over, in the spring of 1760, he continued the work. He especially had a series of small defensive posts erected at Cap-Rouge, Lorette, Sainte-Foy, Sillery and Pointe-Lévy. He also had the redoubt and the Sainte-Foy church reinforced135.