The Minute Book
Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Militia Field Day and Mock Battle (1880)
Topic: Canadian Militia

This early 1900s postcard shows a military review held on the Plains of Abraham,
possibly the 1908 Tercentennary Review.

Sketch of Field Day in Honor of Her Majesty's Birthday on 24th May at Quebec

The Montreal Gazette; 21 April 1880

It is expected that the following troops will assemble in Quebec to celebrate the Queen's birthday on 24th May next.

Two squadrons of Cavalry, two Field Batteries, (8 guns), five Garrison Batteries, eight Infantry Battalions.

The corps from a distance will arrive on Monday morning, under arrangements made for their transport.

The troops will be drawn up in line upon the Plains of Abraham, at half past eleven o'clock a.m., for which purpose no corps should arrive on the ground later than eleven o'clock.

The line will face the St. Louis road, and be drawn up as far back from it as the ground will permit.

If there is not enough space for the line, the cavalry and artillery on the right will be thrown forward en potence.

His Excellency the Governor-General and Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise will, upon arrival, be received with a royal salute from the line with colors drooped and bands playing the National Anthem. His Excellency and Her Royal Highness will probably then ride down the line and inspect the troops, preceded by the staff in the regulated order of formation. The band of each regiment will strike up as the procession approaches the right flank of the corps. A noon a royal salute and feu de joie will be fired in honour of Her Majesty's birthday. After each 7 guns the Infantry will fire one round of running fire, three times successively. When arms are ordered, the order will be given "Off hats and three cheers for Her Majesty." The troops will then march past in column and quarter column, preparatory to which the Infantry will form quarter column on the right companies of Battalions. The Cavalry and Artillery conforming. Immediately after marching past, the troops will be formed for the following evolutions of a field day. The attacking force will consist of about 900 men and will be formed on the low ground at the extreme edge of the Plains close to the Marchmont fence. It will be composed of the following corps, viz:

Half troop of Cavalry, Quebec Field Battery, "A" and "B" Batteries, (without guns), 9th Battalion Rifles and 62nd battalion.

This force will be commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Strange, R.A. The remainder, with the four guns of "A" and "B" Batteries, will compose the defending force, and will at once proceed to rake position under the walls of the Citadel, either in the ditches or the low ground in front of them. They will throw parties of riflemen into the two Martello Towers, and will leave one corps of riflemen under cover of the broken ground near those towers, and another behind Wolfe's Monument. Lieut.-Colonel Duchesnay will command this force. The western walls of the citadel will be manned by the five garrison batteries of artillery, and the guns on the bastions commanding the approaches from the Plains will have gun detachments told off to each. Should an attack from the river take place, the gins on the King's bastion and eastern face of the Citadel must also be manned. The troops in the Citadel will be under command of Lieut.-Colonel Irwin, R.A. On a signal being give, the attacking force will advance in order of attack across the Plains of Abraham; they will first be assailed by the outpost near Wolfe's Monument; upon which they will open fire and drive them in. The Martello Towers and supporting corps of riflemen will open fire upon the assailants, when within range. The towers will be captured and the troops driven in, retiring in skirmish order upon the main body in the Citadel ditches. The assailants advancing and steadily firing upon the retiring out-posts, will suddenly be arrested by a fire from the Citadel walls, and simultaneously by a sortie of the infantry concealed in the ditches. This main body now re-inforced by the out-posts will advance in order of attack over the Cove Common and rough ground, covered by fire from the fortress. They will recover the Martello Towers and detach a battalion of infantry supported by cavalry to the right, in order to turn the left flank of the retiring force by the St. Louis Road and reach the Plains by the gateway near the toll-bar. The retiring force will dispute the ground at every obstacle, especially where there are enclosures and palings to cover riflemen; but the opposing forces must never approach nearer than 200 yards from each other. When the retreating force again reaches the open Plains of Abrham assailed on the left flank by the turning movement, and in rear by the continually advancing forces before which they are retiring, they will fight a retreating action till they again reach the point of low ground from whence the orginally advanced and where they will be lost to sight. A charge of cavalry might then be made across the Plains in close order, performing the pursuing practice with the supposed object of completely dispersing the enemy. The operation of the troops of all arms, when passing and re-passing through the enclosed ground, between the New Gaol and the Martello Towers, will require the exercise of the most military intelligence and circumspection, on the part of the commanders, and all the regimental officers and men employed. Should a demonstration be made by one or more of Her Majesty's ships from the river, I suggest the ships get under weigh in the morning, and drop down towards the Island of Orleans. On approaching the city of Quebec about one o'clock, when the land attack on the Citadel will be commencing, they might on hearing the firing from the heights, open a broadside fire of half an hour on the works of the Citadel. This would be hotly returned, and at the end of that time they would sheer off with yards canted, supposing the lifts and braces have been shot away, and with boats hanging disordered in the davits. The troops, after the field day, will form a line of quarter-columns, at close interval on the original ground, advance in review-order, give a royal salute, and upon the departure of the Governor-General and Her Royal Highness the Princess, the field artillery will fire a royal salute of 21 guns. The whole force will be under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Edward Selby Smith, K.C.M.G., who will generally direct the evolutions of the troops engaged. The scarlet and rifle brigaes will be commanded by their respective officers. The infantry will be supplied with 30 rounds of blank cartridge per man. The pouches to be carefully examined to ascertain that no ball cartridge remains, previous to the issue of the blanks.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 23 February 2014 1:56 AM EST

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