SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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THE BATTLE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD IN 30 MINUTES

It was in the early fall of 1759 when the soldiers of General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, commandant of the French army of Quebec, retired to their tents, they knew their enemy, the British navy and marines were just across the mighty St. Lawrence River on the other side. But they felt secure in their garrison on a buff which was high above the river that had 180-foot steep cliffs that made it impossible for an invading army to make a direct assault. Besides, they numbered more than 12,000 men.

What they didn’t know what the British commander General James Wolf with his 7,000 men had received some vital information. He was told about a steep path that ascended from the river to the Plains of Abraham outside of the city. Seizing on this new lead, General Wolfe devised a new war plan that was put into action on the 12th of September. First, he ordered the bombardment of the Beaufort shore, then loaded landing craft with soldiers and put them ashore east of the Montmorency River. Next cannon fire was directed against the city from the British battery near Point Levy. Finally, a portion of the British fleet sailed past Québec and appeared to be headed for Montreal.

Only a few sentries were left to guard the heights overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River. But under the cover of darkness, British forces quietly boarded small boats that ferried more than 4,000 soldiers ashore. At 4 am. on the 13th, a scouting party ascended the pathway to the top of the cliff and took out the single French sentry. When dawn broke a few hours later, the city woke up to the spectacle of a British army in battle formation immediately outside its walls.

Montcalm tried to gather his widely dispersed army, but by 10 am. made the premature decision to confront the British army with whatever soldiers were at hand. The great battle on the Plains of Abraham lasted only 30 minutes; British ranks held firm in the face of a French advance. A devastating volley was fired when the British musketeers could see the whites of the French soldiers’ eyes. Huge numbers of men were mowed down and many others broke ranks and fled.

Up to that moment, France occupied the Louisiana territory (also called the New France) that stretched from New Orleans through what is now Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Montana, up into Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. Had this battle not taken place the continent of North America would have been divided with the French owning it from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. But it was at that moment, in just 30 minutes, the colonization of North America changed hands from the French to the British. Just 44 years later the British would lose their portion in a revolutionary war led by General George Washington, and leaders of the new United States would purchase this Louisiana territory for $11,000,000 million dollars. There are other examples from history that show the disastrous effects of what may happen overnight when people are supposed to be awake and alert, but instead, they are sleeping, thinking that nothing can get to them.

This is especially true of the United States today. But not only the country, but also the Church. There are some who think that the freedom of religion in America will always be secure. But there are forces being assembled who want that to change. If you have a church you can keep it; if you have a pastor you can keep him or her, but you won’t be able to worship openly. So as a resolution for this coming New Year of 2018, let us all resolve within ourselves and our communities that we will not let the enemy sneak up on us in the darkness of night. The best way to do that is to keep our lights shining; keep the lighthouse of God’s Word always lit, and always standing ready as soldiers in the Army of the Lord. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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