Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

   Headlines  |  Alternate Histories  |  International Edition

Home Page


Alternate Histories

International Edition

List of Updates

Want to join?

Join Writer Development Section

Writer Development Member Section

Join Club ChangerS


Chris Comments

Book Reviews


Letters To The Editor


Links Page

Terms and Conditions



Alternate Histories

International Edition

Alison Brooks



Other Stuff


If Baseball Integrated Early


Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog








Fly the White Flag

by Steve Payne



Author says: what if the British-American amphibious assaults on the French Fortresses of Louisbourg and Quebec City had both failed? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

19th September 1759: this day marked the withdrawal of the substantial British-American forces which had besieged the City of Quebec for three months. With the onset of fall, British Commanders had grown sufficiently desperate enough to attempt a dangerous amphibious landing at L'Anse-au-Foulon, a cove situated southwest of the city. But whilst scaleing the fifty metre cliffs, French-Canadian-Native forces had been alerted by the double agents upon whose intelligence the British had chosen the site, and the assault was repelled.
"To the best of my knowledge and ability, I have fixed upon that spot where we can act with most force and are most likely to succeed. If I am mistaken I am sorry for it and must be answerable to His Majesty and the public for the consequences"

As the British-American forces withdrew, Quebec's defenders celebrated a great victory by waiving white flags, the colour of the Bourbon Monarchy in France. Because the whole of the St Lawrence Region had been to mobilized in order to defend the future of Canada.

Conversely, the outcome was a bitter disappointment to Jeffrey Amherst, the Supreme Commander of British Forces in North America. Whilst the original aim of the Seven Years War had been to simply to occupy the Ohio Valley, by 1758 Amherst was charged with no less a task than the conquest of Canada.

"Who would not go to Hell, to hear such music for half an hour?" ~ British sergeant

The transfer of forces to North America, by both Great Britain resulted in an unprecedented clash of the two rival empires. By the time of the amphibious assault on the French Fortress of Louisbourg, the Royal Navy had committed seventy vessels, twenty-four ships of the line, nineteen frigates, sloops and fireships plus one hundred and thirty transports carrying thirteen thousand men and two thousand pieces of ordinance. Constructed in 1917, the stone fortress was so massive that it became known as the "Gibraltar of North America".

"[Quiberon Bay] is the graveyard of our navy, the ruin of all our hopes" ~ King George II of England

Of course the defeat at Louisbourg was a catastrophic setback for Amherst's plans. But in fact, three boats did make it to a rocky inlet unprotected by French fire and secured a beach head. But the one hundred and fifty marines led by Brigadier James Wolfe and Master James Cook were defeated by troops sent by French Governor Augustin Drucour, who correctly guessed the small size of the landing force. And so neither of these uniquely talented officers were alive for the final showdown at Quebec City one year later.

Unbeknown to Amherst, but suspected by the more astute members of the War Office in London, British Forces had been recklessly overcommitted to overseas engagements. And this imperial overstretch would have truly catastrophic consequences for the British Empire. Because on November 20th, the home fleet of British admiral Sir Edward Hawke was destroyed off the French coast at Quiberon Bay. Sealanes to the British Isles were undefended, and a force of just fourteen thousand regulars stood between the Pretender Charles and the restoration of the House of Stuart.

Author says, considerable amounts of source material have been repurposed from the source articles of "D-day at Louisbourg" by AJB Johnston published in the June-July 2008 Edition of Canadian Beaver Magazine, the book "Northern Armageddon" by D. Pete Macleod (2008) and also Wikipedia.

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


Site Meter


Hit Counter