stationed along the river bank below Quebec to resist any attempt at landing from that quarter.
The artificial landward defences of Quebec, which, at the best, were weak, consisted of palisades strengthened by a deep embankment and flanked at intervals with square stone towers. There were batteries at advantageous places, and a number of light pieces were held in reserve for the defence of any threatened points. What is now called Lower Town was outside the main fortified position, but was covered by guns on the cliffs, while there were two batteries of 18- and 24-pounders at the edge of the river to protect the landing. The strength of the position, however, lay in its natural advantages.
After a wearisome wait down the river for a fair wind, Phips' fleet cast anchor between the Island of Orleans and the town of Quebec on October 16th. A boat at once put out from the Admiral's ship bearing a flag of truce. Canoes met it half way and took ashore a young lieutenant who announced himself as the bearer of a letter from Sir William Phips to Count Frontenac. After being blind-folded he was escorted to the Governor through the jeering inhabitants. The grim old warrior, surrounded by a number of distinguished French and Canadian officers, defiantly received the bearer of Phips' demand of surrender, and short and sharp came his reply: "I will answer your General only by the mouths of my cannon, that he may learn that a man like me is not to be summoned after this fashion. Let him do his best and I will do mine."
After holding a council of war, Phips decided to attempt to establish a strong force on the elevated plateau behind the town, with a view to delivering a combined attack from the river and from the rear. A detachment of 1,200 militia under Major Walley was landed below Quebec on the Beauport shore, with instructions to cross the St. Charles river by a ford which was practicable at low water, climb the heights near the right bank of the river, and gain the rear of the town.