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

The National Battlefields Commission

Plains of Abraham




Opposing Forces

French Army, Canadians and Amerindians The French Navy

In the spring of 1759, immediately before the British fleet entered the St. Lawrence River, a convoy originating from France sailed towards Québec. It was escorted by eight warships under the command of captains Jacques Kanon and Jean Vauquelin. This was the Jean Vauquelin who acted as a senior naval officer at the siege of Québec.

The role of the Navy, at least on the river, was very modest. Two vessels were left behind at Québec but their armament was unloaded along the coast to defend the city. As for the other six vessels, they were sent upriver to Batiscan and used as a resupply convoy. However, the crews were requisitioned for the defence of Québec. All told, there were approximately one hundred Navy Infantrymen, some 1,400 sailors serving as artillerymen in the various batteries set up along the shore, and nearly 600 men more or less assigned to the fire ships.

French Naval Forces at the Beginning of the Siege of Québec (June 1759)


Senior Naval Officer: Captain Jean Vauquelin Nb of Ships
Frigates 8
Armed transport ships 16
Fire ships (merchant ships modified in harbour) 8
Rafts (used as fire ships) 120



Gunboats Number Nb of Cannons
Floating battery 1 12
Large gunboat 1 4
Small gunboats 12 12
Barges 6 6

Source : André Charbonneau, « Québec, ville assiégée », Dans Serge Bernier et al., Québec, ville militaire (1608-2008), Montréal: Art Global, 2008, p. 140.