Battle on the Plains of Abraham

British and French fight to control Québec

Battle of Québec

The battle on the plains of Abraham was a pivotal battle in the Seven Years War (Referred to as the French and Indian War in the United States). The battle, which began on 13 September 1759, was fought between the British Army and Navy, and the French Army, on a plateau just outside the walls of Québec City, on land that was originally owned by a farmer named Abraham Martin, hence the name of the battle. The battle involved fewer than 10,000 troops between both sides, but proved to be a deciding moment in the conflict between France and Britain over the fate of New France, influencing the later creation of Canada.


As the Seven Years' War entered its later stages through 1758 and 1759, French forces and colonies in northeastern North America came under renewed attacks from British armies. In 1758 after defeat in July at the Battle of Carillon, the British took Louisbourg in August, causing Atlantic Canada to fall into British hands, and opening the sea route to attack Quebec. Fort Frontenac fell to the British in the same month, costing the French supplies for the Ohio Valley campaign. When some of the Indian supporters of the French made peace with the British, France was forced to draw its troops back. French leadership, specifically Governor de Vaudreuil and General Montcalm, were unsettled by the British successes. However, Quebec was still able to protect itself as the British prepared a three-pronged attack for 1759.

How long was this Battle?

Wait, come again... The battle was how long?!

The culmination of a three-month siege by the British, the battle lasted about 15 minutes. British troops commanded by General James Wolfe successfully resisted the column advance of French troops and Canadien militia under General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, using new tactics that proved extremely effective against standard military formations used in most large European conflicts. Both generals were mortally wounded during the battle; Wolfe received three gun shot wounds that would end his life within minutes of the beginning of the engagement and Montcalm died the next morning after receiving a musket ball wound just below his ribs. In the wake of the battle, the French evacuated the city; their remaining military force in Canada and the rest of North America came under increasing pressure from British forces.

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