15 September – On this day

The Battle of Signal Hill was fought on this day in 1762, against a fortification located by the hill, and was the last battle of the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War. The British under Lieutenant Colonel William Amherst forced the French to surrender St. John’s, which they had seized earlier that year in a surprise attack.

At dawn on 15 September, Royal Navy warships anchored behind a steep hill, with masts out of view of the French positioned on Signal Hill. British troops then scaled the cliff side onto the hill itself. The surprise was total, and the engagement was brief but fatal.The commander of the French detachment, Guillaume de Bellecombe, was seriously wounded. On the British side, a bullet shattered the legs of one of Amherst’s officers, MacDonell. The French withdrew to the fort. The British began painstakingly bringing artillery pieces up the cliff and constructed small batteries which they proceeded to use to bombard the fort, until the French capitulated.

At the close of the battle, Signal Hill was in the hands of the British. Strengthened by this advantageous situation, they obtained the capitulation of the French garrison numbering 600 men of St. John’s three days later.