The Devastating Loss at Quebec

Neale Donovan

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The main reason why the Continental Army invaded Quebec was to capture it and convince the Canadians to ally themselves with the colonies and to fight against Great Britain with them. This would have provided the Americans a powerful ally in the war.


This invasion took place mostly in Canada, more specifically near Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River. The Battle of Quebec took place more in the area of Quebec.

Leaders and Troops

Leaders that were on the British-Canadian side were General John Burgoyne, Captain Charles Douglas, and General Guy Carleton. For the Continental Army, the generals they had were General Philip Schuyler, General Richard Montgomery, General Benedict Arnold, General David Wooster, General John Thomas, General William Thompson, and General John Sullivan. The overall amount of troops for the colonies was about 10,000 troops, but those who were able to fight were significantly less. Even the ones who could fight still were less effective in battle than the British, who had many more troops, and effective ones at that. To start, the British had a mere 700 troops to fight. Quickly after the invasion began, the British had received many reinforcements, including many Hessians and the Canadian milita, and got a force which rivaled what the colonists had in numbers.

Battle of Quebec

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This battle took place in Quebec, Canada in late 1775. There were about 1,200 troops for both the Colonists and the British and Canadians, with the British having a bit more than the Colonists. The British were the only ones with a uniform, the rest fought in whatever clothes they had. Both sides had muskets and bayonets, but the British and Canadians had heavy guns readily available, giving them a big advantage. As for casualties, the British and Canadian only suffered 20 losses, while the Americans suffered a loss of about 500.

Reasons for Loss

The main reasons America lost the battle was because the British and Canadians had more troops than the Americans. It was only by a little, but enough to give the advantage to Britain. Also, the Canadian forts had heavy artillery for defensive battling. In addition, the Americans were weakened by an outbreak of smallpox. General Carleton had begun his preparation of the province as soon as he heard of the Americans advancing. By the time the colonists actually made it into the province, the British army had already readied their army, as to easily crush the Continental Army.

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1. What did the Colonies hope to accomplish in this invasion?
2. Why do you think the British suffered so few casualties compared to the Colonists?
3. Do you think the fact that the British had uniforms had any effect on the battle?