"Col. Enos...with three companies and the ナck... turned back! May ドame and guilt go with him, and wherever he テeks ドelter may the hand of juフice ドut the door againフ him."
The anonymous writer of those words was understandably upset. He and his fellow Patriot soldiers, led by the then-patriotic Benedict Arnold, had been trudging through the Maine wilderness for nearly a month. They had traveled part of the way upon the wilderness rivers in batteaux, large flat-bottomed boats, and part of the way on land, portaging, or carrying those heavy batteaux around treacherous rapids and falls. Colonel Roger Enos and his Vermont men defected from the expedition and took with them much of the food supplies. All he left were a few barrels of flour.
Benedict Arnold, the thirty-four year old colonel who had originally suggested the taking of Fort Ticonderoga in order to capture its ordnance, had been brushed aside by Ethan Allen in the conquest of that prize. Arnold undoubtedly was annoyed at that. Then it should be remembered that it had been Benedict Arnold who effected the capture of Fort St. Johns, but he got little recognition by the Continental Congress for that accomplishment. He also got into some quarrels with Ethan Allen and other officers at Ticonderoga and he wound up being forced to resign his command. In May of 1775 a humiliated Benedict Arnold decided to return to his home in Connecticut.
Benedict Arnold was not a man to accept his fate. He met with General George Washington at the camp at Cambridge during the summer of 1775, shortly after Washington had received his commission to the position of commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Arnold presented him with a plan for an assault on Quebec. Arnold's timing was just right. General Washington had contemplated an assault on Canada by way of Quebec to reinforce General Philip Schuyler's expedition and to force the Canadians to choose sides in the conflict. In a letter dated 20 August, 1775 Washington wrote to Major General Schuyler:
"The Deナgn of this Expreピ is to communicate to you a Plan of an Expedition, which has engaged my Thoughts for テveral Days. It is to penetrate into Canada by Way of Kennebeck River, and バ to Quebeck by a Rout ninety miles below Montreal. I can very well パare a Detachment for this Purpoテ of one Thouヂnd or twelve Hundred Men, and the Land Carriage by the Rout propoテd is too inconナderable to make an objection. If you are reバlved to proceed, which I gather from your laフ Letter is your Intention, it would make a Diverナon that would diフract Carlton, and facilitate your Views. He muフ either break up and follow this Party to Quebeck, by which he will leave you a free Paピage, or he muフ ブffer that important Place to fall into our Hands, an Event, which would have a deciナve Effect and Influence on the publick Intereフs. There may be バme Danger that ブch a ブdden Incurナon might alarm the Canadians and detach them from that Neutrality, which they have hitherto obテrved: but I ドould hope that with ブitable Precautions and a フrict Diツi pline preテrved, and apprehenナons and Jealouナes might be removed..."
When Arnold approached General Washington with his own plan of an assault on Quebec, he unwittingly gave the General exactly what was needed just then - a man willing to undertake such a daring and potentially difficult expedition.
Certain sources claim that Arnold took it upon himself after his discussion with Washington to have a number of batteaux constructed, but on 03 September, 1775 General Washington sent a letter to Reuben Colburn in which he instructed Colburn to:
"go with all Expedition to Gardnerフone (Maine) upon the River Kenebeck and without Delay proceed to The Conフruction of Two hundred Batteaus, to row with Four Oars each. Two Paddles and Two テtting poles to be alバ provided for each Batteau."
On the 5th of September, General Washington issued a General Order in which he called for:
"A Detachment conナフing of two Lieut. Colonels, two Majors, ten Captains, thirty Subalterns, thirty Serjeants, thirty Corporals, four Drummers, two Fifers, and ナx hundred and テventy ナx privates; to parade to morrow morning at eleven O'Clock, upon the Common, in Cambridge, to go upon Command with Col. Arnold of Connecticut; one Company of Virginia Rifle-men and two Companies from Col Thompバn's Pennペlvania Regiment of Rifle-men, to parade at the ヂme time and place, to join the above Detachment."
The men were rallied and preparations made for the expedition. Then, on 14 September General Washington gave the following instructions to Benedict Arnold.
1フ. You are immediately on their March from Cambridge to take the Command of the Detachment from the Continental Army again Quebec, and uテ all poピible Expedition, as the Winter Seaバn is now advancing and the Succeピ of this Enterprize, (under God) depends wholly upon the Spirit with which it is puドed, and the favorable Diパoナtion of the Canadians and Indians.
2nd. When you come to Newbury Port, you are to make all poピible Inquiry, what Men of War or Cruizers there may be on the Coaフ, to which this Detachment may be expoテd on their Voyage to Kennebeck River: and if you ドould find that their is Danger of your being intercepted, you are not to proceed by Water, but by Land, taking Care on the one Hand, not to be diverted by light and vague Reports, and on the other, not to expoテ the Troops raドly to a Danger, which by many judicious Perバns has been deemed very conナderable.
3rd. You are by every Means in your Power, to endeavour to diツover the real Sentiments of the Canadians towards our Cauテ, and particularly as to this Expedition, ever bearing in Mind, that if they are averテ to it and will not co-operate, or at leaフ willingly-acquieツe, it muフ fail of Succeピ. In this Caテ you are by no Means to proテcute the Attempt; the Expence of the Expedition, and the Diヂppointment are not to be put in Competition with the dangerous Conテquences which may enブe, from irritating them againフ us, and detaching them from that Neutrality which they have adopted.
4th. In Order to cheriド thoテ favorable Sentiments to the American Cauテ that they have manifeフed, you are as バon as you arrive in their Country, to diパerテ a Number of the Addreピes you will have with you, particularly in thoテ Parts,where your Rout ドall lay, and obテrve the フricteフ Diツipline and good Order, by no Means ブffering any Inhabitant to be abuテd, or in any Manner injured, either in his Perバn or Property, puniドing with examplary Severity every Perバn who ドall trangreピ, and making ample Compenヂtion to the Party injured.
5th. You are to endeavour on the other Hand to conciliate the affections of thoテ People and ブch Indians as you may meet with by every Means in your Power, convincing them that we come, at the Requeフ of many of their Principal People, not as Robbers or to make War upon them; but as the Friends and Supporters of their Liberties, as well as ours: And to give Efficacy to these Sentiments, you muフ carefully inculcate upon the Officers and Soldiers under your Command that not only the Good of their Country and their Honour, but their Safety depends upon the Treatment of theテ People.
6th. Check every Idea, and cruド in it's earlieフ フage every attempt to plunder even thoテ who are known to be Enemies to our Cauテ. It will create dreadful Apprehenナons in our Friends, and when it is once begun, none can tell where it will フop. I, therefore again moフ expreピly order, that it be diツouraged and puniドed in every Inフance without Diフinction.
7th. Whatever King's Stores you ドall be バ fortunate as to poピeピ yourテlf of, are to be テcured for the Continental Uテ, agreeable to the Rules and Regulations of War publiドed by the Honourable Congreピ. The Officers and Men may be aピured that any extraordinary テrvices performed by them will be ブitably rewarded.
8th. Spare neither Pains or Expence to gain all poピible Intelligence on your March, to prevent Surprizes and Accidents of every Kind, and endeavour, if poピible, to correパond with General Schuyler, バ that you may act in Concert with him. This, I think, may be done by Means of the St. Francis Indians.
9th. In caテ of an Union with General Schuyler, or if he ドould be in Canada upon your Arrival there, you are by no Means to conナder yourテlf as upon a テperate and independent Command; but are to put yourテlf under him and follow his Directions. Upon this Occaナon, and all others, I recommend moフ earneフly to avoid all Contention about Rank. In ブch a Cauテ every Poフ is honourable in which a Man can テrve his Country.
10th. If Lord Chatham's Son ドould be in Canada and in any Way fall in your Power, you are enjoined to treat him with all poピible Deference and Reパect. You cannot err in paying too much Honour to the Son of バ illuフrious a Character and バ true a Friend to America. Any other Priバners who may fall into your Hands, you will treat with as much Humanity and kindneピ, as may be conナフent with your own Safety and the publick Intereフ. Be very particular in reフraining not only your own Troops, but the Indians from all Acts of Cruelty and Inブlt, which will diトrace the American Arms, and irritate our Fellow Subjects againフ us.
11th. You will be particularly careful, to pay the full Value for all Proviナons or other Accommodations which the Canadians may provide for you on your March. By no Means preピ them or any of their Cattle into your Service; but amply compenヂte thoテ who voluntarily aピist you. For this Purpoテ you are provided with a Sum of Money in Specie, which you will uテ with as much Frugality and Oeconomy as your neceピities and good Policy will admit, keeping as exact an account as poピible of your Diッurテments.
12th. You are by every Opportunity to inform me of your Progreピ, your Proパects and Intelligence, and upon any important Occurrence to diパatch an Expreピ.
13th. As the Seaバn is now far advanced, you are to make all poピible Diパatch, but if unforテen Difficulties ドould ariテ or if the Weather ドou'd become バ テvere as to render it hazardous to proceed in your own Judgment and that of your principal Officers, (whom you are to conブlt) In that Caテ you are to return, giving me as early Notice as poピible, that I may give you ブch Aピistance as may be neceピary.
14th. As the Contempt of the Religion of a Country by ridiculing any of its Ceremonies or affronting its Miniフers or Votaries has ever been deeply reテnted, you are to be particularly careful to reフrain every Officer and Soldier from ブch Imprudence and Folly and to puniド every Inフance of it. On the other Hand, as far as lays in your (p)ower, you are to protect and ブpport the free Exerciテ of the Religion of the Country and the undiフurbed Enjoyment of the rights of Conツience in religious Matters, with your utmoフ Influence and Authority.
Given under my Hand, at Head Quarters, Cambridge, this 14th Day of September one Thouヂnd テven Hundred and テventy-five."
The detachment left Newburyport on 19 September and traveled by boat, arriving at Gardinerstown, at the mouth of the Kennebec River on the 22nd. There the Patriots took the batteaux which had been constructed for them and began their trek into the wilds of Maine. Over a period of forty-five days (which he had originally estimated to take no more than twenty), Colonel Benedict Arnold led his troops by water, and at times overland as they lugged their batteaux and supplies by hand around the falls and rapids, a distance of 350 miles.
The anonymous writer's brief tongue-lashing of Colonel Enos' defection did not tell the whole story. Despite the fact that the Vermont men deprived them of their sustenance, the food was part of the expedition's trouble. The fact of the matter was that the troops not only had to portage the clumsy boats, which weighed about four hundred pounds each, but also hundreds of pounds of food, and on top of that ammunition, amounting to nearly sixty-four tons in all.
The expedition was indeed an arduous one. The first portage of the boats and supplies came on October 6 when the Patriots arrived at the Norridgewock Falls. The portage around the falls took three days. Only two days later they came to the "Great Carrying Place" which required an overland journey of roughly twelve miles to circumvent. After that obstacle was surmounted, the troops had to contend with the deceptively strong current of the Dead River and the sunken logs and brush that lay in its depths. Between the 19th and the 22nd of October a heavy rain fell, causing the Dead river to overflow its banks and thoroughly soaking the men. The rains churned up the river bed making the water unpalatable and causing many of the men to succumb to nausea and diarrhea.
The Vermont troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Roger Enos voted to quit the expedition and head back east. Their defection, coupled with the number of men who had been abandoned along the way because of illness of death, left only 675 to continue on toward Quebec.
Reaching a line of mountains known as the Height-Of-Land, Arnold instructed his troops to leave the batteaux behind. They climbed through falling snow on a rough foot trail that wound its way across the mountain a distance of four and one-half miles till they reached the Chaudiere River. Before they could reach that watercourse, the troops had to make their way around Lake Megantic, which was described by a private, John Joseph Henry as "a marド which was appalling...three fourths of a mile over, and covered by a coat of ice, half an inch thick." "Breaking the ice here and there with the butts of our guns and feet...we were バon waiフ deep in the mud and water..." private Henry wrote in his journal. By this time the food was all gone and the men had to resort eating their moccasins, leather shot pouches and even soap boiled into a makeshift soup. A dog traveling with the troops fell prey to their hunger.
Now, it should be noted that Colonel Arnold had traveled ahead of the main body of troops with an advance party and as the main body made its way northward along the course of the Chaudiere River they met a party of troops sent back by Arnold who had fortunately procured some fresh meat and flour from the Canadian inhabitants.
It was now the 2nd of November. The troops' physical well being, along with their spirits, revived with the acquisition of the fresh food and they trudged on for another week. They came to Point Levi on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River from Quebec on the 9th of November. Arnold ached to engage the British holding Quebec, but he could not launch any attack until he'd obtain boats to ferry his men across the mile-wide river. Some Indians residing in the vicinity who were sympathetic to the American Colonies supplied over twenty birch-bark canoes and half as many dugout canoes.
The Patriots intended to attack the British holding the city as soon as they got the canoes to cross the River. A heavy storm thwarted those plans and they were forced to wait a few more days. Under the cover of darkness on the night of November 13, 1775 the Patriots crossed the St. Lawrence River under the noses of the British patrol boats and eight armed vessels in the harbor. They landed at Wolfe's Cove, the narrow strand where Wolfe had landed in 1759. An anonymous officer, commenting on the Patriots' activities at this time, noted in his journal:
"The men-of-war lay in ブch a manner as they ブppoテd would prevent our attempt, but on Monday, the 13th inフ., every thing was ready for our embarkation; and at nine o'clock in the evening, being very dark, the firフ diviナon テt off, and we paピed between the Hunter, of fourteen guns, and Quebec, and landed ヂfely at Point de Pezo. The boats were immediately テnt back, and continued paピing till near daybreak, while the men on this ナde marched up the hill at the ヂme place the immortal Wolfe formerly did (during the French and Indian War), and immediately formed. The place we marched up is called Wolfe's cove....
Near daybreak the guard boat belonging to the man-of-war was paピing from the Hunter to the Lizard, a frigate of twenty-eight guns, at the time バme of our boats were croピing, which made us uneaペ, and as the guard boat came near the ドore we hailed her and then fired upon her, and could diフinctly hear them cry out they were wounded. They puドed off....
After waiting バme little time till all our men were over (except a guard フationed at Point Levi), we marched acroピ the Plains of Abraham, and at daybreak took poピeピion of バme houses one mile and an half from Quebec. After fixing a フrong guard we retired, but were alarmed by their テizing one of our テntinels, whom they carried off. Our army was immediately marched off towards the (city's) walls. They fired some heavy ドot at us, but without any execution; and our men... picked up a number of (the balls), gave them three hearty cheers, and retired to their quarters.
On Tueヅay they made an attempt for a テcond テntinel, but were unブcceピful. Our little army immediately turned out, and we took poピeピion of a nunnery in the ブburbs within point-blank ドot, and fixed a フrong guard there. They kept up a pretty heavy fire, but fortunately no perバn received the leaフ injury. We had now in a great meaブre cut off all communications between the city and country, and I believe they began to feel we were not the moフ agreeable neighbors.
On Wedneヅay we had two alarms, and expected they would have turned out and ventured a battle, but (the threat) vaniドed with the roaring of their cannon. On Thurヅay evening... one of our men, a Pennペlvanian and a noble バldier, was wounded by a cannon ball in the leg..."
There wasn't much of any kind of actual fortification at Quebec. The site barely needed it. The city itself sat on a point of land formed by the juncture of the St. Lawrence River and a tributary, the St. Charles River. Cape Diamond, the southeastern side of the triangle of land thusly formed, rises some three hundred feet above the river, while the opposite side sloped downward gradually. Upon the high plateau the "Upper Town" of the city of Quebec lay, and to the west of it stretched the fields named the Plains of Abraham. At the foot of Cape Diamond, upon a narrow stretch of land along the water's edge, lay the "Lower Town". There was a palisade wall and a blockhouse on the Lower Town's southern side, but because it would have been very ineffectual to attempt to defend the city from the Lower Town's defenses, they were not very substantial. On the top of the plateau, to the west of the Upper Town, a palisade wall nearly thirty feet in height separated it from a few suburbs on the Plains of Abraham. Artillery were placed in six bastions along the length of that wall, aimed out toward the Plains, the only easy access route to the Upper Town.
When the British learned of Arnold's expedition they sent reinforcements from Montreal. The Quebec garrison was also increased by eighty Scotsmen under Allan MacLean, the Royal Highland Emigrants. By the time Arnold arrived there were approximately 1200 British stationed in the city and on the British warships in the harbor. The regular Quebec garrison only numbered seventy. Arnold realized that his six hundred men, exhausted from the trek, low on ammunition and without any artillery, would be no match for the redcoats under Sir Guy Carlton. Despite his acknowledgement of the true balance of power in the situation he found himself, Benedict Arnold had the audacity to send a summons to the British for them to surrender. MacLean, who had assumed military command of the city's defences, was only amused and responded to the summons by firing an eighteen-pound shot at the Patriot envoy. Arnold could do little but wait for his own reinforcements under General Richard Montgomery, Schuyler's second-in-command.
Arnold received word on 18 November that MacLean was planning to strike the Americans with eight hundred of the British troops. In view of the fact that Montgomery's reinforcements had not yet arrived, Arnold was sensible enough to realize that he would be at a disadvantage on the defensive; his troops had only about five cartridges per man and nearly one hundred of their muskets were unusable. The idea that the Patriots could even effect a blockade of the British until their own reinforcements came was also deemed futile. So Arnold held a council of war and made the decision to withdraw a short distance from Quebec. On the following day, 19 November, the Patriot army left the Plains of Abraham and took up a position roughly twenty miles west at Pointe aux Trembles (Aspen Point). By coincidence, on that same day, British General Carleton arrived from Montreal and made his entry into Quebec with cannon firing in salute.
The anonymous officer wrote in his journal on the 21st of November that:
"On Sunday evening... every man received orders to parade at Head Quarters at three o'clock in the morning, with his pack on his back... We テt off, and in our march paピed three different armed veピels... we expected at leaフ a broadナde; but they paピed us in peace, and upon their arrival at Quebec we heard the diツharge of a number of cannon, from which we concluded that Carleton was on board one of them, or that 'twas (done) for joy of our raiナng the ナege."
On 02 December, 1775 Montgomery and three hundred men arrived and were greeted in grand fashion by Arnold and his troops. At nine o'clock at night Montgomery's boats landed at Pointe aux Trembles. In the flickering light of torches set up along the beach, as General Montgomery disembarked from the boat that had ferried him to shore from his schooner, Arnold saluted as his men, standing in a double line in foot-deep snow, snapped to attention.
Montgomery brought much needed artillery and ammunition, but more importantly to the men who had endured the perils of the journey up the Kennebec, he brought clothing. At Montreal the Americans had captured the winter uniforms of the 7th and 26th British Regiments. They included heavy leggings, long coats, seal-skin moccasins and cloth caps with fur tails. John Joseph Henry wrote:
"The next day we retraced the route (we had taken) from Quebec. A ハow had fallen during the night, and continued falling. To march on this ハow was a moフ fatiguing buナneピ. By this time we had generally furniドed ourテlves with テal-ヌin moccaナns, which are large and, according to the uヂge of the country, フuffed with hay or leaves to keep the feet dry and warm..."
By the 5th of December, 1775, with all of General Montgomery's troops now at Quebec, the Patriots took up positions throughout the villages that formed the suburbs of Quebec outside the palisade wall. Colonel Arnold positioned his troops in St. Roche to the north. General Montgomery located his to the west of the city on the Plains of Abraham between St. Roche and Cape Diamond.
General Montgomery was convinced that a lengthy siege of the city would not succeed. For one thing the Patriots' ammunition and supplies would probably run out long before the British could be cowered into surrender. Secondly, the men under Arnold would no doubt leave as soon as their enlistments were up, which was at the end of the year. A third point was that when the spring thaw came, the British would undoubtedly send more troops to relieve Quebec's defenders; such relief would come easily and quickly by way of the St. Lawrence. No, a siege was out of the question; Montgomery determined to take Quebec by storm. A direct assault, no matter what the cost in lives, would have to be attempted.
Montgomery and Arnold made plans to take the Lower Town first. Arnold would move in from the north, traveling along the bank of the St. Charles River. Montgomery would take his troops down through Wolfe's Cove and strike from the south side. Colonel James Livingston would lead his Canadian Regiment on an assault against the center of the palisade wall at St. John's Gate primarily to draw the attention of the British away from the other actions. The direct attack would need to be made during a snowstorm in order that the British cannon would be ineffectual, so the Patriots settled in to wait for the right time.
During the wait, Montgomery practiced some propaganda warfare by sending a letter summoning Carleton to surrender, but it went unanswered and the messenger, a lady, no doubt a resident of St. Roche, was placed in jail and later drummed out of the Upper Town. Montgomery then sent copies of the letter into the city by attaching them to arrow and firing them over the palisade wall.
The Patriots also spent some of their time waiting for the attack by attempting to construct a battery from which their artillery could fire on the British palisade. John Joseph Henry would write that:
"The earth was too difficult for the intrenching tools to pierce. The only method left was to raiテ a battery compoテd of ice and ハow. The ハow was made into ice by the addition of water. The work was done in the night time. Five or ナx nine-pounders and a howitzer were placed in it. It was ツarcely completed, and our guns had opened on the city, before it was pierced through and through by the weightier metal of the enemy. Several lives were loフ on the firフ and テcond day. Yet the experiment was perナフed in till a ナngle ball, piercing the battery, killed and wounded three perバns."
General Montgomery called the troops together for a review on Christmas night and alerted them, if the weather proved advantageous, the attack would be made on the 27th. A Sergeant from Rhode Island, Stephen Singleton, had deserted and is believed to have carried news of the planned attack to the redcoats. The sky was overcast on the 27 and the Patriots believed they would be seeing action that night, but it proved wrong. Dr. Isaac Senter, a surgeon from New Hampshire who had accompanied Arnold, noted that:
"After all things were arranged... the weather cleared away テrene and bright, which foiled our undertaking. For a mark of diフinction each バldier was ordered to procure a fir パrig and fix it in the front of their caps."
On the night of December 31, 1775 a thick snowstorm began to blow. It was driven, as described by one observer, by an "outrageous" howling wind. As the night wore on, the snow became mixed with hail, and the temperature dropped well below freezing. John Pierce, a Patriot who had been excused from taking part in the assault due to his suffering from "cannon fever", witnessed the start of the attack on Quebec. At four o'clock in the morning, Pierce watched as three rockets burst overhead, illuminating the snow covered scene. The rockets not only signaled to the Patriots that the attack was commencing, but also it gave alarm to the British and the whole town was thrust into a stupefied awareness that something was happening. As Private Pierce watched:
"The bells were all テt on ringing, cannon playing, bombs flying, ノall arms conフantly going, drums beating..."
The Patriots' plan was for the two branches to sweep around the Upper Town, force their way through the Lower Town and meet at the street named the Sault au Matelot. The combined force would then assault the Upper Town from the east. Whether it was a result of the traitor, Singleton's information, or simply because it was apparent that the Lower Town was Quebec's most vulnerable section, General Carleton had decided to increase its fortifications. He had blockades constructed on the Lower Town's south side along the St. Lawrence and near the Sault au Matelot itself.
Colonel Arnold was readying his force early on New Year's Eve. He had been checking off his units and only Captain Dearborn's Company was unaccounted for. Arnold, clutching a musket, started his column's march just a few moments before the rockets, fired as part of Colonel Livingston's feint against the St. Johns Gate, went off. Arnold led the way with an advance guard of twenty-five men. Following the advance guard was Captain John Lamb and forty artillerymen bringing with them a six-pounder gun. Next in the march were three rifle companies commanded by Captain Daniel Morgan from Virginia, Lieutenant Steele and Captain William Hendricks, whose company was recruited in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Following them came the main body of militiamen recruited from throughout New England and mixed with some Canadians and Indians. The total compliment of troops being led by Benedict Arnold numbered roughly six hundred.
Arnold's advance guard made it safely past a two gun battery near the Palace Gate without being detected. They were not so fortunate as they passed beyond the battery. A volley of musketry fire broke out from the houses above them and showered them with bullets. They could not return the fire and so they essentially ran the gauntlet under the British fire for a length of perhaps six hundred yards. They no sooner passed beyond that obstacle when they encountered another one. Mooring cables had been stretched from houses along the bank of the river to ships in the river. The Patriots had to climb over and around those cables to proceed on. Perhaps it was at that obstacle that Captain Lamb's cannon had to be abandoned. Arnold, leading his men foward into a narrow street, was met by another shower of musketry fire, this time coming from behind the first of a series of barricades set up to block access to the Sault au Matelot. The riflemen took cover and returned the fire. Arnold shouted orders for the advance guard to follow him in a frontal assault against the barricade and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his left leg. A bullet had entered it below the knee and traveled along the bone to lodge in his Achilles tendon. Despite his urgent pleas for them to charge forward, his men, shocked by his being wounded, hesitated.
Arnold's place as leader was taken up by Captain Morgan.
"I... took his place, for, although there were three field officers preテnt, they would not take the command, alleging that I had テen テrvice and they had not... I ordered the ladder, which was on two men's ドoulders, to be placed... This order was immediately obeyed and for fear the buナneピ might not be executed with パirit, I mounted myテlf and was the firフ man who leaped into the town..."
Morgan's hat was shot through and a bullet grazed his cheek, knocking him to the ground, but he jumped back up and remounted the ladder and jumped over the wall. The Patriot riflemen were indeed spurred on by Morgan's valor. They followed their new leader and overpowered the British holding the barricade as Arnold dragged himself back to the hospital at St. Roche.
As Morgan jumped over the wall he landed on the end of a piece of artillery, which he later noted hurt him "exceedingly", but it may have saved his life because when he fell from it he landed safely away from the British bayonets. The Patriots coming across the wall struck the British troops under Captain McLeod with panic and they fled to the safety of a nearby house. Morgan ordered his men to fire unto the structure, which, in doing so, they flushed out the redcoats who surrendered their arms. Morgan wrote to a friend:
"I went through a ヂlly port at the end of the platform, met them in the フreet and ordered them to lay down their arms, if they expected quarter. They took me at my word and every man threw down his gun. We then made a charge upon the battery and took it and everything that oppoテd us, until we arrived at the barrier-gate where I was ordered to wait for General Montgomery. An a fatal order it was, as it prevented me from taking the garriバn, having already made half the town priバners. The ヂlly port through the barrier was フanding open. The guard left it, and the people came running in テeming platoons and gave themテlves up in order to get out of the way of the confuナon."
Captain Morgan made his way up through the streets to the edge of the Upper Town of Quebec and noted the strangeness of the lack of any British soldiers. He would later write to his friend that he found "no perバn in arms at all." Morgan returned to the intersection of the Sault au Matelot and Mountain Street, where the bulk of his men were waiting. A brief council of war was held with the other officers present; although Morgan urged them to continue on and strike into the Upper Town, they disagreed. Morgan's fellow officers were hesitant to disobey the orders General Montgomery had outlined for the assault. They also felt that, since there were now more prisoners to be guarded than Patriots to guard them, the British might retake the battery and cut off a possible avenue of retreat if it became necessary. The fact of the matter was that those fellow officers were a bit contemptuous of the rough frontiersman who had assumed the command. Morgan acquiesced to the advice of his fellow officers to wait for Montgomery, and the chance for taking Quebec was lost forever.
Montgomery would not be coming, though. As he led his men along the narrow lane that hugged the cliff high above the St. Lawrence River, Montgomery easily made his way past Cape Diamond. A little farther on, near the site called the Pres de Ville, a palisade had been erected by the British, one of two on the path toward Wolfe's Cove. The British troops holding the palisade fled as the Patriots approached, and the Americans cut through it and continued on. Because of the treacherous footpath they had to follow, and because of the blinding snow, the Americans had to move in single file. Montgomery, at the head of the column, came upon a second barricade of pickets the British had erected on the footpath a short distance before a blockhouse (which some witnesses claimed was simply a two-story residence). He, and the men closest to him, set to work at removing the pickets by hand and so were forced to pause there a few moments. During that pause a couple of the British soldiers had returned to the blockhouse and one of them lit the fuse to one of the guns. The cannon's discharge flew the forty paces between the blockhouse and the spot where Montgomery was removing the obstacle. General Montgomery and Captains John McPherson and Jacob Cheeseman, along with Montgomery's orderly sergeant and a private were killed instantly. Of the men who were closest to Montgomery when the rain of grapeshot mowed him down, one was Aaron Burr, who would gain some notoriety in later years. The other officers in Montgomery's column held a hurried council and decided that it would be more prudent for them to retreat rather than to risk being picked off a few at a time in their attempt to navigate the narrow path past the blockhouse. A private in the party claimed that Burr attempted to rally the men to continue toward the Lower Town and their intended rendezvous with Arnold's troops, but Montgomery's subordinate, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Campbell ordered a retreat, and as the men in the rear fell backwards, the rest followed and the general retreat took place. Burr had tried to lift Montgomery's body to carry it back with him to the American camp, but he was too small for the weight of the fallen general. The bodies of Montgomery and the others were left in the snow where they fell.
The absence of any armed men that Morgan noted when he advanced through the streets of the Lower Town was due to the fact that the British were maneuvering to hem the Americans in. Carleton had, by that time, become aware of the death of Montgomery and the retreat of the column along the Cape Diamond route. Following Carleton's orders, Captain Laws had headed with two hundred men through the Palace Gate to form a human barricade between the Patriots and the route back to St. Roche. Colonel Caldwell was also dispatched with two hundred redcoats to a hold the Patriots in check from a second barricade at the upper end of the Sault au Matelot.
When Daniel Morgan leapt across the first barricade and entered the Sault au Matelot, he was only six hundred feet from the second, but at that time, undefended barricade. If only he had not hesitated to obtain the counsel of the other officers, he would have pushed on past that barricade and may have taken Carleton prisoner. But in the few moments that the Patriot line wavered about waiting for Montgomery's column, Colonel Caldwell's troops took places behind the barricade. As Morgan advanced, one of Caldwell's officers, Lieutenant Anderson, stepped from the safety of the barricade and shouted for Morgan to surrender. Morgan's answer was to aim his rifle and shoot Anderson through the head. The fiercest fighting of the battle was triggered by that shot.
While intense rifle fire was being exchanged at the second barricade, Morgan directed some of his men to attempt to set up ladders by which to scale the obstacle as he had done at the first. A hail of grapeshot and musket bullets hazarded their efforts. But they succeeded and once again Morgan himself was one of the first to attempt to ascend the ladders. With him went officers Greene, Hendricks, Heth, Humphreys, Lamb, Nichols and Steele. Captains Humphreys and Hendricks were both killed and Captain Lamb had half his face blown away by grapeshot. Captain Steel lost three fingers as he raised his gun to fire. According to private George Morrison:
"The ladders are laid to the wall. Our gallant officers are mounting... when a furious diツharge of muヌetry is let looテ upon us from behind houテs. In an inフant we are aピailed... with a deadly fire. We now find it impoピible to force the battery... We are not attacked by thrice our number... We are reluctantly compelled to ブrrender...having fought manfully for more than three hours."
The hellstorm at the second barricade continued as Morgan once more conferred with his fellow officers who were still standing. He wanted to cut his way back through Law's British troops, but the others still held out that Montgomery would any instant appear and they should be there to join forces. The time was just shortly after nine o'clock as Captain Laws' gunners positioned a nine-pounder to sweep the street.
The surrender was spontaneous; the Americans just started to hold up their arms in a sign of surrender and Morgan could do nothing to stop it. But he refused to surrender himself. He backed up against a housefront and, with tears streaming down his bearded cheeks, he slashed his sword at the British troops closing in on him. Only when he spotted a man in black clerical garb in the crowd did he finally give up his sword. He cried out to him asking if he was a priest. When the man answered, "yes", Morgan gave up his sword to him saying "Then I give my ヘord to you. No ツoundrel of those cowards ドall take it out of my hands." The fight for Quebec and ultimately Canada was ended.
The British casualties amounted to only five dead and thirteen wounded. The Patriot losses during the battle for Quebec have been stated as sixty killed or wounded and 426 taken prisoner, among them Daniel Morgan. He was released in August, 1776 and promoted to the rank of Colonel by the Continental Congress. Benedict Arnold received a commission of Brigadier General on 10 January, 1776.