Monday, March 28, 2016

Review of Drummer Boy for Montcalm by Wilma Pritchard Hays

Drummer Boy for Montcalm

By Wilma Pritchard Hays, illustrated by Alan Moyler

Published 1959 by The Viking Press

187 pages, hardcover with dust jacket


“Word had come to France that England was preparing to besiege Quebec that summer of 1759, and both sides knew it was to be a fight to the finish.  Now as Peter Demo stood on the deck of the French ship bringing recruits, the twelve-year-old stowaway was bursting with excitement over his first view of the walled city built on a sheer cliff two hundred feet above the St. Lawrence.” (description from inside dust jacket)


The Story

The book opens with a short prologue: “England and France in the New World,” which tells the story of the English and French settlements in North America up to 1759. 

The story begins with the arrival of Peter Demo at Quebec.  Peter, an orphan, joins a ship of recruits sailing to reinforce General Montcalm’s army in Quebec.  There he befriends a courier du bois named Philippe d’Argons.  Peter wants to be a courier du bois himself, but first he needs money to get started.  He is accepted as a worker for the Grand Company of Associates, which he quickly discovers is a corrupt monopoly.   Peter and Philippe work to return stolen furs to the Indians and Peter has to leave his job with the Grand Company.  He then becomes a drummer boy with Montcalm’s forces, follows the French army during the siege of Quebec, and makes friends with an Indian named Bomazeen.  When Quebec finally surrenders, Peter and Bomazeen become fur traders in the region of Lake Champlain.  An epilogue details what happened to Peter Demo (who was a real person) and the Grand Company of Associates.


The History

On the dust jacket, Mrs. Hays states that she “followed closely the true incidents of battle, the details of weather and its effects upon the siege.”  This is a true statement, for her story is impressively researched.  This is no generic fiction that is randomly set in an era; rather this book is steeped in 1759 Quebec.  Commanders’ names and personalities are here.  Songs of the era are sung by the soldiers.  Even the thievery of the pompously named Grand Company of Associates is chronicled.


Interestingly, Mrs. Hays uses actual quotes for historic figures whenever possible.  The speech of the Ottawa chief is chronicled by Captain Bougainville in his journal (1).  Nearly all of General Montcalm’s lines are recorded in history.  In addition to its research, this book also has a chronology for the siege of Quebec in the back of the book.



This book is a labor of love, and a charming look at the 1759 siege of Quebec. 

Highly recommended. 5/5 stars. 

The book’s best quote comes from the Abbe.  When talking to Peter, he says: “Le bon Dieu (the good Lord) did not promise always to do what we ask.  He promised always to be with us—whether it rains or shines.”


  1. pg. 145, Adventure in the Wilderness: the American Journals of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (University of Oklahoma: 1990)

Monday, March 21, 2016

An Announcement

Hi everyone!  I have been accepted as a speaker for INCH's annual homeschool conference!  INCH stands for Information Network of Christian Homes.  Their conference runs from May 19-21 this year.  My topic is "A Providential View of the Battle of Yorktown."

"The 1781 Battle of Yorktown ultimately decided American independence from Great Britain.  In this lecture, homeschool graduate and history lover Jordan Jachim will show how God was working to bring all the pieces together at a little-known port named Yorktown.  See how the plans of Benedict Arnold, Lord Charles Cornwallis, General Rochambeau and George Washington worked to bring about this battle.  Discover heroes in the American, British, and French armies.  And learn how God directed even the wind and tides to bring about His purpose." (description from

If you will be at INCH, I would love to see you!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Advice from John Adams

As election time approaches here in the United States, it is good to reflect on how our Founding Fathers advised us.  This quote comes from John Adams "Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."

Meme created by yours truly from his personal collection of figures.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Montcalm's Army from "Troupes Du Roi 1757"

These plates are from a book called "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757."  This book, written in 1757, has provided a priceless window into the uniforms of French infantry during the Seven Years War.  The plates selected depict French regiments who fought with Montcalm to defend New France (Canada) from 1755 to 1760.

All photographs are courtesy of the Reunion des Musees Nationaux at
These regiments are arranged in order of seniority, that is, from oldest raised to newest raised.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.

First is the Regiment La Reine, the queen's own regiment.  This regiment fought at Lake George (1755), Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment La Reine at

Next is the Regiment La Sarre.  In the picture, the soldier is fighting an enemy with his sword.  This regiment fought at Fort Oswego (1756), Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758), the Plains of Abraham (1759) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment La Sarre at 

This flagbearer is from Regiment Royal-Roussillon, raised in the Roussillon province with King Louis XV as its colonel.  This regiment fought at Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758), the Plains of Abraham (1759) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment Royal-Roussillon at

Regiment Languedoc was raised in the Languedoc province where General Montcalm was born.  This regiment fought at Lake George (1755), Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758), the Plains of Abraham (1759) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment Languedoc at

This reclining soldier is from Regiment Guyenne which was raised in the Guyenne province.  This regiment fought at Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758), the Plains of Abraham (1759) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment Guyenne at

This soldier holding a pipe is from Regiment Berry.  Regiment Berry was originally supposed to sail to India, but was sent to Canada instead.  This regiment fought at Fort Carillon (1758) and Sainte-Foy (1760). Read more about Regiment Berry at

The last of Montcalm's regular regiments is Regiment Bearn.  This illustration shows a grenadier, distinguished by his mustache.  This regiment fought at Fort Oswego (1756), Fort William-Henry (1757), Fort Carillon (1758), the Plains of Abraham (1759) and Sainte-Foy (1760).  Read more about Regiment Bearn at