The inaugural ceremonies in Québec City about the newly discovered Seven Years' War Cemetery took place 11 October 2001.
The ceremonies were under the presidency of Québec Prime Minister, Monsieur Bernard Landry, with the diplomatic corps (France and United Kingdom) was divided in two parts:
Lieutenant General Montcalm, commander in chief of the French army in North America during the Seven Years' War was mortally wounded at the battle of the Plains of Abraham (September 13, 1759). He died the day after and was buried in the chapel of the Ursulines nuns.
- A funeral convoy and the transfer of the
remains of Louis-Joseph marquis de Montcalm to the
small Québec General Hospital Cemetery, burial ground of over one thousand
soldiers, sailors and canadians milicias of Montcalm's army.
- The inauguration of the Seven Years' War Memorial on which monument are inscribe by regiments, the names of all Montcam's soldiers being buried in the cemetery. There are also some Wolfe's soldiers buried in the cemetery so their names are also inscribed on the memorial.
A funeral convoy with Montcalm's coffin and music departed the Ursulines' chapel and the procession walked (with military music band) through the old city in direction of the cemetery. The Archbishop of the Québec Catholic church and the Ursuline and
Augustine nuns wore dresses as they were in 18th century.
Montcalm's remains were transfered into a sarcophagus inside a specially build mausoleum. Montcalm's Mausoleum is inside the cemetery which still belongs to the Augustine nuns, and the general is now reunited with his soldiers, 242 years later.
Here are the major characteristics of the cemetery:
- This is the only cemetery left in the world to bear witness of the Seven
Years' War, the real first world war (550 000 dead). We do have the names of over one thousand soldiers of Montcalm's army.
- It holds in its entrails the highest concentration in the world of 'Knights of Saint-Louis' (Chevaliers de Saint-Louis), one of the highest French military decorations before the Révolution. There are 17 of them (18 with Montcalm).
- The registration by the Augustines nuns of the dead soldiers (not only the aristocrats) and the maintenance of their burial ground since 242 years was a first in history of mankind. They kept their secret for 240 years.
- The cemetery was open in 1710, the oldest in Quebec City and is still in use, although it is very small (150 feet X 250 feet).
- It is the oldest war cemetery in Canada and was declared in 1999, a 'National Historical Site' by the federal government.
In the future, this national site of memory will become The site for all kind of commemoration and historical celebration about New-France. It is really an open air museum with its historical pannels, historical plaques, the Memorial, the Montcalm's Mausoleum, the big sculpture of Pascale Archambault
Passage without return (Traversée sans retour),ect.
For further information, contact:
Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec
A 190-page reference book of the commemoration project.
Les morts de la guerre de Sept Ans au Cimetière de l'Hopital Général de Québec
(The dead of the Seven Years' War at the Québec's General Hospital Cemetery)
Author: Jean-Yves Bronze
Editor: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, Québec, 2001.
Cost: 25 $ Can.
To obtain a copy, write or fax to:
Distribution de livres Univers
(Les Presses de l'Université Laval)
845 rue Marie-Victorin
Canada, G7A 3S8
tél.: (418) 831-7474; or 1-800-859-7474 (for Canada only)
fax : (418) 831-4021