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cromby's defeat, because he had not driven the latter altogether from the lake St-Sacrement frontier. He deluged the general with a shower of letters urging him to send strong detachments, to harass the enemy, to take advantage of their terror, to cut off their communication to old Fort George, intercept their convoys, oblige them to retire, and thereby deprive them forever of all hope of renewing their attempt. All this was stated in a letter dated at Montreal, the 12th of July, and was repeated under different forms by the Governor, in his letters of the 15th, the 16th, and the 17th of July.
On the 15th he wrote: “I cannot sufficiently reiterate to you, Sir, all that I have had the honor to observe to you on that point. You are in fact now in a position to have constantly considerable detachments of Regulars, Canadians and Indians along the Lake and head of the Bay, to harass our enemies with vigor, to cut off their communication with Lydius, to intercept their convoys, to force them to retire and perhaps even to abandon their artillery, field train, bateaux, provisions, ammunition, etc.... This is of such great consequence that, so far from reducing the forces that I have destined for you, I liave nothing more pressing than to increase them, and to hasten their departure to you. You have the élite of our officers, of our young men, of our Canadians and of our Indians.”
Again on the 16th : “I cannot forbear having the honor again of renewing to you, Sir, all the observations I have submitted to you in my last letter. You cannot want for canoes, Canadians and Indians, to send out large detachments. We could not have a finer opportunity to oblige
the enemy to retire from old Fort George." And on tlie 17th : “ You perceive, Sir, tliat I have not neglected anything for the prompt conveyance to you of a great number of Indians and the élite of our Canadians. You have now a very considerable force; therefore, we have nothing better to do, as I have had the lionor to observe to you, than to employ them, without the loss of a moment, in vigorously harassing our enemies, etc.... What I have had the lionor to write to you on this subject in inany of my letters, merits, Sir, your attention. Your brilliant affair must not remain incomplete.... These reasons, Sir, lead me to defer writing to France, because, in rendering the Court an account of your brave affair of the eighth of this month, I hope to inform it that we have not neglected the great advantage of the retreat and discouragement of our enemies, and that we have rendered it impossible for them to make any new attempts at least for this year.” (1)
Montcalm smarted under these lectures on the art of making victory fruitful. He addressed to the governor very sharp rejoinders. “It is always astonishing," he wrote, “ that the Marquis de Vaudreuil considers himself qualified at a distance of fifty leagues to determine operations of war in a country he has never seen, and where the best Generals, after having seen it, would have been embarrassed. The Marquis de Vaudreuil forgets that the army (English) was at least 20,000 strong, and according to several prisoners 25,000. Supposing that it had lost in killed and wounded 5,000 men, that a portion of
(1) Paris Documents, pp. 759-760.
the Provincials had returned, they would still have 12 or 14,000 men, and consequently the superiority in the field, and would be at liberty to do what they pleased in their country. ... The Marquis de Vaudreuil will find in my observations some distrust of him ; this will never prevent me applying myself to the good of the service and of the Colony without embarassing myself with what people might write against me, either directly or indirectly. But I do not conceal from the Marquis de Vaudreuil, that I shall be able to demonstrate to him on my return to Montreal, that, if he has had the goodness in his despatches of last year to pay me some euloguims which I cannot merit, he did not omit persuading the Minister of Marine that he had supplied me with the means of laying siege to Lydius.... Were I so fortunate, Sir, as that your important occupations would permit you to be at the head of the army, you would see everything yourself, and I should have the satisfaction to receive clearer and less embarrassing orders, and you would have judged that I have combined boldness, prudence and some activity.
All this however did not prevent the Colony being played for on the eighth of July, odd or even (de pair ou non)........M. d'Aillebout is arrived this moment and hands me the letter you have done me the honor to write me on the 15th. As it generally contains only the same things you have done me the honor to write me on the 12th, I have already answered them, whereunto I shall add, that I shall not be able to send large detachments by Lake St-Sacrement until I have reestablished my camps at the Falls and Portage, and sent over bateaux
and canoes, a maneuvre which is done only when executed, and advances less expeditiously in fact than in theory. Up to this time I have done impossibilities in Canada with my slender means. I shall endeavor to do my best and require no spur...... To profit by the fear of enemies, would require to be in a condition to pursue them the very next day.(") An army that can be pursued only by detachments ten or twelve days afterwards, gets rid of its fright" (2)
During all this correspondence, Montcalm's temper ran high. We read in his Journal: “A letter from the Marquis de Vaudreuil ; a sequel to the captious dispatches; a snare unskilfully laid, because I was prepared for it. Ononthio (Vaudreuil) says: “That victory must yield great results, I send you all the troops. Rather safe occasion to expulse the enemy from lake St-Sacrement, to make the colony rich with artillery, barges,” etc. What means does Ononthio give to drive away from their position 15,000 men who are getting intrenched, and are well supplied for two months ? No doubt lie gives an army superior in numbers, well supplied with victuals, artillery, etc. No: neither victuals, nor the necessary outfit for portage. What do the Marquis de Vaudreuil's letters mean ? aud why, laboring under the scarcity of victuals, does he send obstinately that number of men who will serve only in eating our provisions? It is for the purpose of being
(1) On the 8th of July Montcalm had no Indians and few Canadians. That was the reason why he did not pursue Abercromiby. “If I had had two hundred Indians to head a detachment of one thousand picked men, under M. de Lévis' command, not many of the enemy would have escaped." Montcalm à Doreil, 8 juillet, 1758.)
(2) Paris Documents, pp. 757, 758, 759.
enabled to write to the Court: “ The Marquis de Montcalm had beaten the enemy; they had retreated to the bottom of lake St-Sacrement, dispirited, and in great confusion ; immediately I had sent to him all the forces of the colony so that he could drive them from their position and profit by his own victory. He could do it, but he did not do it." Here is the motive; here is the secret thrust of this year. That of last year was: “He could take Fort Edward ; I have supplied him with means to do it; but he would not do it.” (1)
Nothing could be more unfortunate than this quarrel between the two leaders. No doubt, Montcalm was not faultless during all these squabbles. He was too touchy, too impulsive, too easily irritated. , But we must state frankly that Vaudreuil's conduct was exasperating. Montcalm was on the frontier, overladen with heavy cares and dreadful responsibilities, facing boldly a formidable enemy, giving his nights and his days to the work of checking invasion, spending his strength, his brains, his health to that purpose, risking his life and, more than his life, his fame to save New-France, and achieving glorious victories amidst awful odds and perils. And at the same time, Vaudreuil, who had absolutely no experience nor instruction in war matters, comfortably seated in his château at Montreal, eighty leagues from the enemy, pretended to teach the brilliant general his own art, and to show, with pen and ink, how military wonders could be accomplished and miracles be realized. There may be strategists in
(1) Journal de Montcalm, pp. 407, 408, 409.