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

The National Battlefields Commission

Plains of Abraham



Opposing Forces

British Army, Americans and Navy The Americans

Rangers :



To protect settlers against attacks and raids by the Canadians and Amerindians, a special unit, the Rangers, was set up as early as the 17th century. It was however during the Seven Years' War that the Rangers actually had the opportunity to show what they could do, and so they became a powerful tactical weapon. At that time, they were incorporated into the regular army and served alongside the land troops. It was in 1755 that Lord Loudoun became aware that the ambush tactics used by these Rangers, combined with the new tactics and the regular units, could prove a great asset. Henceforth, the Rangers could be found on all British fronts77.

During the siege of Québec, Wolfe requested 600 Rangers to serve with his regular troops; such a high number being justified by the fact that the General sought to control the areas around the city. Under the circumstances, six companies – 576 men – under Major George Scott's command, joined the ranks of Wolfe's army. They were the first to land at the Île d'Orléans on June 25, and made a first contact – actually, a skirmish – with the troops already in the area. In July, two regiments were sent out as reinforcements on the east bank of the Montmorency River, while the others participated in raids carried out west of the city. Moreover, the fear campaign led by Wolfe, and the resulting destruction of several villages, was mostly carried out by Rangers. Because of the scattering of the troops during that summer, they did not take part in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Five companies returned to New England after the capture of Québec, while another company remained in Murray's ranks78.

Colonial Pioneers :



In addition to the Rangers, the American troops fighting alongside the British at the siege of Québec included Colonial Pioneers. These were "American" land troops, and some of the companies were considered to be as efficient as the British troops. These soldiers were trained by their provincial legislature for eight months of the year, and they were paid and equipped by their respective colonies. It was in Massachusetts, the most highly populated colony, that the highest number of  Pioneers could be found: 6,800 of them in 1759, including 300 that had landed in Québec in July of that year. Based on the remaining documents regarding the conflict, these military men did not take part in the battles but were used to build and maintain fortifications, batteries and camps79.

We have no information concerning their equipment. As for their uniform, they probably had none80.

British Forces in Québec in 1759


Commanders :


Commander in Chief of the British Army in America:

Major General Jeffery Amherst

Commander in Chief of the Québec Expedition:

Major General James Wolfe

Commander of the First Brigade:

Brigadier General Robert Monckton

Commander of the Second Brigade:

Brigadier General George Townshend

Commander of the Third Brigade:

Brigadier General James Murray


Number of men

15th Regiment of Foot (Amherst)


28th Regiment of Foot (Bragg)


35th Regiment of Foot (Otway)


43th Regiment of Foot (Kennedy)


47th Regiment of Foot (Lascelles)


48th Regiment of Foot (Webb)


                        58th Regiment of Foot(Anstruther)


78th Infantry (Fraser)


           2nd Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot (Monckton)


3rd Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot (Lawrence)


Louisbourg Grenadiers


Light Infantry




Colonial Pioneers


Royal Artillery


Total Land Forces



Source : André Charbonneau, « Québec, ville assiégée », dans Serge Bernier et al., Québec, ville militaire (1608-2008), Montréal, Art Global, 2007, p. 141.

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