The National Battlefields Commission
Plains of Abraham
Following the defeat of the Plains of Abraham, Governor Vaudreuil wondered how he should react. What should be the next move? His first reflex was to send a message to the dying Montcalm. Montcalm's answer was to suggest three options: immediately re-attack the enemy, regroup the troops upstream at the Jacques-Cartier River, or capitulate on behalf of the entire colony. Although he favoured the first option, the Governor was persuaded by his officers assembled at a council of war that it was best to regroup the troops around the Jacques-Cartier River. Vaudreuil sounded the retreat at 6:00 p.m. However, before doing so, he sent to the town commander Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay, the terms of the surrender that would have to be negotiated with the British127.
In the meantime, the Chevalier de Lévis learned the news and immediately left Montreal to rejoin the troops. The new commander of the French forces arrived at the Jacques-Cartier River on September 17. He then took control of the army in disarray. In his opinion, it had been a mistake to leave Québec, and he thought they should go back in order to avoid the worst: the capture of Québec by the British. If it turned out to be impossible to defend Québec, the town should be destroyed to prevent the enemy from spending the winter there. It was thus decided, and on September 18, the army began marching towards Québec. However, Lévis was too late.
On September 15, two days after the British had won a victory at the Plains of Abraham, and while they were preparing to lay siege to Québec, the Chevalier de Ramezay, commander of the town's garrison, convened his officers at a council of war. The pressure from residents to surrender the town was enormous. They had sustained heavy losses during the summer bombardments and they were morally and physically spent. Furthermore, this time the shellings would not come from the other side of the river but from the Plains, which was much closer. Finally, provisions were scarce and no one could see how the fortifications could withstand the siege128.
At the council of war, 13 of the 14 participants were in favour of surrendering the city. On September 17, around 3:00 p.m., de Ramezay therefore sent a messenger to the British with a capitulation proposal. It was signed on the morning of September 18.
Articles of the capitulation of Québec:
It was while marching towards Québec that Lévis learned of the town's surrender. He had to turn back and return to the Jacques-Cartier River. Vaudreuil, for his part, continued on to Montreal where he spent the winter.