The Journal begins on 16 February 1759, the day the ship sailed from England for America in the company of several men-of-war and transports. The fleet arrived off the coast of Nova Scotia at Louisbourg on 16 April 1759, but was unable to enter the harbour because of ice and
proceeded to Halifax. On 13 May 1759, the fleet left Halifax harbour and anchored at Louisbourg two days later, then sailed for the St. Lawrence River and Quebec on 4 June 1759. Every few days from the time the fleet left England until Quebec capitulated on 18 September 1759, Edward Coats recorded details of the expedition.
In addition to the usual journal entries, the author recorded a detailed description of the town of Quebec and surrounding area under the title, Remarks on Quebec. At the end of the Journal, Coats included two documents of special importance: Articles of Capitulation, and List of His Majesty's Naval Force Employed at the Reduction of Quebec in North America under the Command of Vice-Admiral Saunders. The ships in the fleet are listed by name, 146 in all, together with the names of their commanders and the number of guns carried by each ship. The Neptune was the largest with ninety guns and the other ships are listed in descending order by the number of guns. This detailed list of the British naval force used in the capture of Quebec is an important record and one that, unfortunately, has been in a rather obscure source.