Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Plains of Abraham in Québec City

We spent some time on this beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon strolling through the Plains of Abraham, the site of the 1759 battle of the same name, also known as the Battle of Québec.

Like other battlefields we've seen,what's now called Battlefields Park strikes us as surprisingly small and of course peaceful and serene. It's hard to imagine troops marching to within 40 yards (36 meters) of each other and then opening fire but that's what happened after the British made their way across the river and climbed the cliffs.

We can also guess that it's one of the few significant battles in history in which both of the commanding generals were mortally wounded, a fact attested to by these plaques marking the spots where Wolfe and Montcalm allegedly fell.

More details about the battle can be found here, and a first-person account written by a British soldier can be read here.

Our hotel's revolving tower can be seen in the upper lefthand corner of the photo below. What we hadn't realized until today was that this was not the final battle of the Seven Years' War, known in the US as the French and Indian War, which ended with Britain's victory. The French won a battle the following year, the British retreated inside the walls of the city, and the French laid siege, only withdrawing when three British warships arrived in the harbor.

It's an amazing place to visit. As a bonus, since it's a federally-administered park, signs and plaques are plentiful and bilingual.

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