In the spring of 1756, the port city of Brest, France, hosted a handful of senior French army officers: Lévis, Senezergues, Bougainville, Bourlamaque, Montcalm. They were there to organize and accompany the massive force being sent to North America. War was on again with the British, and they were needed across the ocean for the defense of New France.
Together they waged the North American battles of the Seven Years’ War. Early on, those battles turned in their favor; victories at Forts Oswego, William Henry, and Carillon provided welcome news at the court of Louis XV. As the war raged on, the tide reversed; defeats at Québec City and Montreal forced France to pay dearly at the negotiating table at the end of the war.
These officers paid a steep price personally as well. Bougainville was wounded at Carillon. Bourlamaque was injured no fewer than three times, including a close call at the Battle of St. Foy when his horse was killed beneath him. Senezergues and Montcalm gave their lives at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Lévis, the only one to end the war physically unscathed, would die, mercifully, on the eve of the French Revolution, a conflict that would see his wife and two of his daughters guillotined.
Today their names adorn the upper town of Québec City. Lévis has a monument in the Parc des Braves and a short stately avenue that intersects with Chemin Ste-Foy. Bougainville and Bourlamaque have avenues of their own near Battlefields Park, while Senezergues Street graces Parliamentary Hill. The Marquis de Montcalm, who commanded them all, gave his name to an entire Québec City neighborhood and has a monument dedicated to his memory on the Grande Allée.