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Battle of Sainte-Foy

The Battle of Sainte-Foy, sometimes called the Battle of Quebec, was fought on April 28, 1760 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada during the Seven Years' War (called the French and Indian War in the United States). It was a victory for the French under the Chevalier de Lévis over the British army under General Murray. When compared to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham of the previous September, this battle proved to be a much bloodier affair in terms of the total number of casualties incurred by both sides - 833 French casualties to 1,124 British casualties. It was the last French victory of the French and Indian War.

Course of battle

After retreating from Quebec after the disaster of the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759, the French army regrouped in Montreal under General Lévis. Meanwhile the British army, left behind in Quebec after the fleet sailed at the end of October 1759, suffered from hunger, scurvy and the travails of living in a city largely destroyed in the siege.

In April 1760, Lévis returned to Quebec with an army of over seven thousand men, including Canadian militia and First Nations warriors. He hoped to besiege Quebec and force its surrender in the spring, when he expected a French fleet to arrive.

Murray felt that his army was too small to defend adequately the walls of Quebec, which had not been improved much since the fall. He therefore moved some 3,800 men into the field, all he could muster, along with over twenty cannon, to the same position that Montcalm had occupied on September 13, 1759. Rather than waiting for the French to advance, however, he took the gamble of going on the offensive. At first he had some success, but the advance masked his artillery, while the infantry became bogged down in the mud and melting snowdrifts of the late spring. The battle turned into a two-hour fight at close range; eventually, as more French soldiers joined the fray, the French turned the British flanks, forcing Murray to realize his mistake and to recall the British back to Quebec without their guns, which Lévis then turned on the city.

Casualties

The British army lost over eleven hundred, killed and wounded (three-quarters of the officers of the Fraser Highlanders were killed or wounded) and the French around eight hundred casualties, making the Battle of Sainte-Foy one of the bloodiest engagements ever fought on Canadian soil.

Aftermath

Lévis was, however, unable to retake Quebec City. The British garrison withstood a feeble siege until the arrival of naval reinforcements. The French fleet never arrived, France's naval hopes having been smashed at Quiberon Bay the previous autumn and the supply ships sent from France were lost in the Bay of Chaleur in the Battle of Restigouche—and when HMS Lowestoft raised its flag as it neared Quebec, Lévis raised the siege and retreated to Montreal, where he surrendered in September to an overwhelming British force.

Notes

References

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