One of the Earliest Views of a Battle Fought on American Soil
Interesting engraving depicting the French defense of Quebec City against the English/Massachusetts Bay Colony attack under the command of Admiral Phipps and Major Hohn Walley in 1690.
The map view is centered on the St. Lawrence River, with a view of Quebec at the top left. At the right, across the St. Charles River, a battle between the French and allied Indians, versus the "troupes Angloises" (Massachusetts Bay Colony Troops) is shown. A number of ships are shown in the St. Lawrence depicting the British & French forces.
At the bottom, a key depicts important features of the view and battle.
Battle of Quebec
The Battle of Québec was fought in October 1690 between the colonies of New France and Massachusetts Bay, then ruled by the kingdoms of France and England, respectively. It was the first time Quebec's defenses were tested.
Following the capture of Port Royal in Acadia, during King William's War, the New Englanders hoped to seize Quebec itself, the capital of New France. The loss of the Acadian fort shocked the Canadians, and Governor-General Louis de Buade de Frontenac ordered the immediate preparation of the city for siege. When the British proposed terms of surrender, the Governor-General famously declared that his only reply would be by "the mouth of my cannons."
British Major John Walley led the invading army, which landed at Beauport in the Basin of Quebec. However, the militia on the shore were constantly harassed by Canadian militia until their retreat, while the expedition's ships, commanded by Sir William Phips, were nearly destroyed by cannon volley fire from the top of the city.
This state of the map appeared in the 1703-1704 edition of Lahontan's work.
Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, the third Baron Lahontan, was a member of the aristocracy. Born in 1666, he was forced into a career in the military by the family’s hardship after his father’s death. He served across the Atlantic, in New France.
Lahontan was dispatched as part of a force who were to defeat the Iroquois tribes near the Great Lakes. In addition to, or perhaps instead of, his military duties he explored much of the upper Mississippi River Valley. While serving at Boucherville, Lahontan learned Algonquin. Later, he commanded Fort St. Joseph, on the site of what is now Detroit.
While Lahontan certainly saw a great deal of the Great Lakes region, in 1688 he set out on his most fantastic journey. So fantastic, in fact, that it is unclear whether or not it really happened. These travels included what he called the Rivière Longue, which some scholars believe was actually the Missouri River. He also reported a giant salt lake, around which the Tuhuglauk nation lived. However, Lahontan kept this strategically important detail secret while he served as Lieutenant-Governor in Placentia, Newfoundland and as he fled that position when faced with possible imprisonment.
In exile, Lahontan settled in the Netherlands in the mid-1690s, where he began to work on accounts of his travels. The first of these was Nouveaux Voyages dans l'Amerique Septentrionale (1703), which became a bestseller. It was printed in thirteen editions in fourteen years. This book included a description and map of the “Long River,” which was accepted and incorporated into the popular cartographic conception of the region by most of the leading mapmakers of the time, including Guillaume de L'Isle, Herman Moll, Henry Popple, and John Senex. The Tuhuglauk’s salt lake, in turn, would be combined with the geographic hypothesis of a Sea of the West.
Lahontan followed his 1703 memoir with two more, Memoires de l’Amerique Septentrionale, and Supplement aux Voyages ou Dialogues avec le sauvage Adario. Nouveaux Voyages dans l’Amerique Septentrionale. By the time he died, sometime before 1716, he was one of the most popular travel writers in Europe, despite the fact that many of his details were exaggerated or fictitious.