Invasion of Quebec (1775)
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The Invasion of Quebec (June 1775 – October 1776, french: Invasion du Québec) was the first major military initiative by the newly formed
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
during the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies of British America in Continental Congress ...
. The objective of the campaign was to gain military control of the British
Province of Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...
(part of modern-day Canada), and convince French-speaking ''
Canadien French Canadians (referred to as Canadiens mainly before the twentieth century ; french: Canadiens français, ; feminine form: , ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of p ...
s'' to join the revolution on the side of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
. One expedition left
Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon Fort Carillon, the precursor of Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Cha ...

Fort Ticonderoga
under
Richard Montgomery Richard Montgomery (December 2, 1738 – December 31, 1775) was an Ireland, Irish soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and he is most fa ...
, besieged and captured Fort St. Johns, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton when taking
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and w ...

Montreal
. The other expedition left
Cambridge, Massachusetts Cambridge ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Greater Boston, Boston metropolitan area as a major suburb of Boston. , it was the fifth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, ...
, under
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (Brandt (1994), p. 414 June 1801) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America ...

Benedict Arnold
, and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...

Maine
to
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada () are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the juri ...

Quebec City
. The two forces joined there, but they were defeated at the Battle of Quebec in December 1775. Montgomery's expedition set out from
Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon Fort Carillon, the precursor of Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Cha ...

Fort Ticonderoga
in late August, and in mid-September began besieging Fort St. Johns, the main defensive point south of Montreal. After the fort was captured in November, Carleton abandoned Montreal, fleeing to
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada () are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the juri ...

Quebec City
, and Montgomery took control of Montreal before heading for Quebec with an army much reduced in size by expiring enlistments. There he joined Arnold, who had left Cambridge in early September on an arduous trek through the wilderness that left his surviving troops starving and lacking in many supplies and equipment. These forces joined before Quebec City in December, and they assaulted the city in a snowstorm on the last day of the year. The battle was a disastrous defeat for the Continental Army; Montgomery was killed and Arnold wounded, while the city's defenders suffered few casualties. Arnold then conducted an ineffectual siege on the city, during which successful propaganda campaigns boosted
Loyalist Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdo ...
sentiments, and General
David Wooster David Wooster ( – May 2, 1777) was an American general who served in the French and Indian War and in the American Revolutionary War. He died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Cities, schools, and public places w ...
's blunt administration of Montreal served to annoy both supporters and detractors of the Americans. The failed months-long siege of Quebec City was possibly one of the first instances of
biological warfare Biological warfare, also known as germ warfare, is the use of Toxin#Biotoxins, biological toxins or Pathogen, infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and Fungus, fungi with the intent to kill, harm or incapacitate humans, animal ...
successfully being used by a besieged army. The British intentionally sent out smallpox-infected civilians and prostitutes to the American lines, killing or wounding 5,000 American soldiers with this method, which included the death of Major General
John Thomas John Thomas may refer to: Politics United States * John Chew Thomas (1764–1836), U.S. Congressman from Maryland * John Thomas (New York) (1792–1866), New York politician * John Warwick Thomas (1800–1871), North Carolina state legislator and ...
. The
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...

British
sent several thousand troops, including General
John Burgoyne General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

John Burgoyne
and Hessian allies, to reinforce those in the province in May 1776. General Carleton then launched a counter-offensive, ultimately driving the
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
-weakened and disorganized Continental forces back to Fort Ticonderoga. The Continental Army, under Arnold's command, were able to hinder the British advance sufficiently that an attack could not be mounted on Fort Ticonderoga in 1776. The end of the campaign set the stage for Burgoyne's campaign of 1777 to gain control of the
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Hudson River
valley.


Naming

The objective of the American military campaign, control of the British
province of Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...
, was frequently referred to as "Canada" in 1775. For example, the authorization by the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British ...
to General
Philip Schuyler Philip John Schuyler (; November 18, 1804) was an American general in the Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American col ...

Philip Schuyler
for the campaign included language that, if it was "not disagreeable to the
Canadians Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atl ...
", to "immediately take possession of Fort Saint-Jean (Quebec), St. John's, Montreal, and any other parts of the Country", and to "pursue any other measures in Canada" that might "promote peace and security" of the colonies.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 242 Even relatively modern history books covering the campaign in detail refer to it as Canada in their titles (see references). The territory that Britain called Quebec was in large part the French colonization of the Americas, French Canada, New France, province of Canada until 1763, when France ceded it to Britain in the Treaty of Paris (1763), 1763 Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the French and Indian War. (French leaders had Montreal Campaign, surrendered the province to the British military in 1760.)#KingsfordV, Kingsford (vol 5), pp. 1–10 The name "Quebec" is used in this article, except in quotations that specifically mention "Canada", to avoid confusion between this historic usage, and usage with respect to the modern nation of Canada.


Background

In the spring of 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The conflict was then at a standstill, with the British Army surrounded by colonial militia in the siege of Boston. In May 1775, aware of the light defenses and presence of heavy weapons at the British
Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon Fort Carillon, the precursor of Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Cha ...

Fort Ticonderoga
,
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (Brandt (1994), p. 414 June 1801) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America ...

Benedict Arnold
and Ethan Allen led a force of Patriot (American Revolution), colonial militia that Capture of Fort Ticonderoga, captured Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown Point, and raided Fort St. Johns, all of which were only lightly defended at the time.#KingsfordV, Kingsford (vol 5), p. 391 Ticonderoga and Crown Point were garrisoned by 1,000 Connecticut militia under the command of Benjamin Hinman in June.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 182–183


Congressional authorization

The First Continental Congress, meeting in 1774, had previously invited the French-Canadians to join in a second meeting of the Congress to be held in May 1775, in a Letters to the inhabitants of Canada, public letter dated October 26, 1774. The
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British ...
sent a second such letter in May 1775, but there was no substantive response to either one.#Alden, Alden, pp. 195–198 Following the capture of Ticonderoga, Arnold and Allen noted that it was necessary to hold Ticonderoga as a defense against attempts by the British to militarily divide the colonies, and also noted that Quebec was poorly defended. They each separately proposed expeditions against Quebec, suggesting that a force as small as 1200–1500 men would be sufficient to drive the British military from the province. Congress at first ordered the forts to be abandoned,#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 178 prompting New York and Connecticut to provide troops and material for purposes that were essentially defensive in nature. Public outcries from across New England and New York challenged the Congress to change its position. When it became clear that Guy Carleton, the governor of Quebec, was fortifying Fort St. Johns, and was also attempting to involve the Iroquois in upstate New York in the conflict, Congress decided that a more active position was needed. On June 27, 1775, Congress authorized General
Philip Schuyler Philip John Schuyler (; November 18, 1804) was an American general in the Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American col ...

Philip Schuyler
to investigate, and, if it seemed appropriate, begin an invasion.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 179–242 Benedict Arnold, passed over for its command, went to Boston and convinced General George Washington to send a supporting force to
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada () are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the juri ...

Quebec City
under his command.#Alden, Alden, p. 202


Defensive preparations

Following the raid on Fort St. Johns, General Carleton was keenly aware of the danger of invasion from the south, and requested, without immediate relief, reinforcements from General Thomas Gage in Boston. He set about raising local militias to aid in the defense of Montreal and Quebec City, which met with only limited success.#Coffin, Coffin, pp. 496–497 In response to the capture of Ticonderoga and the raid on Fort St. Johns, he sent 700 troops to hold that fort on the Richelieu River south of Montreal, ordered construction of vessels for use on Lake Champlain,#Alden, Alden, p. 199 and recruited about one hundred Mohawk nation, Mohawk to assist in its defense. He himself oversaw the defense of Montreal, leading only 150 regulars, since he relied on Fort St. Johns for the main defense. The defense of Quebec City he left under the command of Lieutenant-Governor Hector Theophilus de Cramahé, Cramahé.#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 53


Negotiations for Indian support

Guy Johnson, a
Loyalist Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdo ...
and British Indian agent living in the Mohawk Valley in New York, was on quite friendly terms with the Iroquois of New York, and was concerned for the safety of himself and his family after it became clear that Patriot sentiment had taken hold in New York. Apparently convinced that he could no longer safely conduct Crown business, he left his estate in New York with about 200 Loyalist and Mohawk supporters. He first went to Fort Ontario, where, on June 17, he extracted from indigenous tribal leaders (mostly Iroquois and Wyandot people, Huron) promises to assist in keeping supply and communication lines open in the area, and to support the British in "the annoyance of the enemy".#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 293 From there he went to Montreal, where, in a meeting with General Carleton and more than 1,500 indigenous peoples, negotiated similar agreements, and delivered war belts "to be held ready for service". However, most of those involved in these agreements were Mohawks; the other tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy largely avoided these conferences, seeking to stay neutral. Many of the Mohawks remained in the Montreal area after the conference; however, when it seemed uncertain whether the Americans would actually launch an invasion in 1775, most of them had returned home by the middle of August.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 295–296 The Continental Congress sought to keep the Iroquois, Six Nations out of the war. In July 1775, Samuel Kirkland, a missionary who was influential with the Oneida (tribe), Oneidas, brought to them a statement from Congress: "we desire you to remain at home, and not join either side, but to keep the hatchet buried deep."#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), p. 91 While the Oneidas and Tuscarora people, Tuscaroras remained formally neutral, many individual Oneidas expressed sympathy with the rebels. News of Johnson's Montreal meeting prompted General Schuyler, who also had influence with the Oneidas, to call for a conference in Albany, New York, Albany, to be held in mid-August. Attended by about 400 indigenous (primarily Oneidas and Tuscaroras, and only a few Mohawk), Schuyler and other Indian commissioners explained the issues dividing the colonies from Britain, emphasizing that the colonists were at war to preserve their rights, and were not attempting conquest.#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), pp. 91–93 The assembled chiefs agreed to remain neutral, with one Mohawk chief saying, "It is a family affair" and that they would "sit still and see you fight ... out".#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), p. 93 They did, however, extract concessions from the Americans, including promises to address ongoing grievances like the encroachment of white settlers on their lands.#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), p. 94


Montgomery's expedition

The primary thrust of the invasion was to be led by General Schuyler, going up Lake Champlain to assault Montreal and then Quebec City. The expedition was to be composed of forces from New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, as well as the Green Mountain Boys under Seth Warner, with provisions supplied by New York.#Lossing, Lossing, pp. 227–228 However, Schuyler was overcautious, and by mid-August the colonists were receiving reports that General Carleton was fortifying defensive positions outside Montreal,#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 309–310 and that some Native tribes had joined with the British.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 291–292


Approach to St. Johns

On August 25, while Schuyler was at the indigenous peoples conference, Montgomery received word that ships under construction at Fort St. Johns were nearing completion. Montgomery, taking advantage of Schuyler's absence (and in the absence of orders authorizing movement), led 1,200 troops that had mustered at Ticonderoga up to a forward position at Île aux Noix in the Richelieu River, arriving September 4.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 317–324. Schuyler, who was falling ill, caught up with the troops en route. He dispatched a letter to James Livingston (American Revolution), James Livingston, a Canadian prepared to raise local militia forces in support of the American effort, to circulate in the area south of Montreal. The next day, the forces went down the river to Fort St. Johns, where, after seeing the defenses and a brief skirmish in which both sides suffered casualties, they withdrew to Île aux Noix. The skirmish, which involved mostly indigenous people on the British side, was not supported from the fort, prompting the Indians to withdraw from the conflict.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 357 Any additional indigenous support for the British was further halted by the timely arrival of Oneidas in the area, who intercepted a Mohawk war party on the move from Kahnawake, Caughnawaga toward St. John's. The Oneidas convinced the party to return to their village, where Guy Johnson, Daniel Claus, and Joseph Brant had arrived in an attempt to gain the Mohawks' assistance. Refusing to meet directly with Johnson and Claus, the Oneidas explained to Brant and the Mohawks the terms of the Albany agreement.#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), p. 97 Brant and the British agents left without any promises of support. (In a more formal snub of the British, the war belt that Guy Johnson gave to the Iroquois in July was turned over to the American Indian commissioners in December 1775.)#Glatthaar, Glatthaar (2006), p. 98 Following this first skirmish, General Schuyler became too ill to continue, so he turned command over to Montgomery. Schuyler left for Fort Ticonderoga several days later.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 335 After another false start, and the arrival of another 800–1000 men from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York, as well as some of the Green Mountain Boys,#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 361–365 Montgomery finally began besieging Fort St. Johns on September 17, cutting off its communications with
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and w ...

Montreal
and capturing supplies intended for the fort. Ethan Allen was captured the following week in the Battle of Longue-Pointe, when, overstepping instructions to merely raise local militia, he attempted to take Montreal with a small force of men.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 384 This event resulted in a brief upturn in militia support for the British; but the effects were relatively short-lived, with many deserting again in the following days.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 388, 410 After an attempt by General Carleton to relieve the siege failed on October 30, the fort finally surrendered on November 3.#Lossing, Lossing, p. 229


Occupation of Montreal begins

Montgomery then led his troops north and occupied Nuns' Island, Saint Paul's Island in the Saint Lawrence River on November 8, crossing to Pointe-Saint-Charles on the following day, where he was greeted as a liberator.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 474 Montreal fell without any significant fighting on November 13, as Carleton, deciding that the city was indefensible (and having suffered significant militia desertion upon the news of the fall of St. Johns), withdrew. He barely escaped capture, as some Americans had crossed the river downstream of the city, and winds prevented his fleet from departing right away. When his fleet neared Sorel, Quebec, Sorel, it was approached by a boat carrying a truce flag. The boat carried a demand for surrender, claiming that gun batteries downstream would otherwise destroy the convoy. Based on uncertain knowledge of how real these batteries were, Carleton elected to sneak off the ship, after ordering the dumping of powder and ammunition if surrender was deemed necessary. (There were batteries in place, but not nearly as powerful as those claimed.)#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 67–70 On November 19, the British fleet surrendered; Carleton, disguised as a common man,#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 487–490 made his way to Quebec City. The captured ships included prisoners that the British had taken; among these was Moses Hazen, a Massachusetts-born expatriate with property near Fort St. Johns whose poor treatment by the British turned him against them. Hazen, who had combat experience in the French and Indian War and went on to lead the 2nd Canadian Regiment throughout the war, joined Montgomery's army.#Everest, Everest, pp. 31–33 Before departing Montreal for Quebec City, Montgomery published messages to the inhabitants that the Congress wanted Quebec to join them, and entered into discussions with American sympathizers with the aim of holding a provincial convention for the purpose of electing delegates to Congress. He also wrote to General Schuyler, requesting that a Congressional delegation be sent to take up diplomatic activities.#Gabriel, Gabriel, p. 141 Much of Montgomery's army departed due to expiring enlistments after the fall of Montreal. He then used some of the captured boats to move towards Quebec City with about 300 troops on November 28, leaving about 200 in Montreal under the command of General
David Wooster David Wooster ( – May 2, 1777) was an American general who served in the French and Indian War and in the American Revolutionary War. He died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Cities, schools, and public places w ...
.#Shelton, Shelton, pp. 122–127 Along the way, he picked up James Livingston (American Revolution), James Livingston's newly created 1st Canadian Regiment of about 200 men.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), vol 2, p. 86


Arnold's expedition

Benedict Arnold, who had been rejected for leadership of the Champlain Valley expedition, returned to
Cambridge, Massachusetts Cambridge ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Greater Boston, Boston metropolitan area as a major suburb of Boston. , it was the fifth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, ...
, and approached George Washington with the idea of a supporting eastern invasion force aimed at Quebec City.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, pp. 398–399 Washington approved the idea, and gave Arnold 1,100 men, including Daniel Morgan's riflemen, for the effort.#SmithFourteen, Smith (1907), vol 1, p. 515 Arnold's force sailed from Newburyport, Massachusetts to the mouth of the Kennebec River and then upriver to Fort Western (present day Augusta, Maine). Arnold's expedition was a success in that he was able to bring a body of troops to the gates of
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada () are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the juri ...

Quebec City
. However, the expedition was beset by troubles as soon as it left the last significant outposts of civilization in present-day Maine. There were numerous difficult portages as the troops moved up the Kennebec River, and the boats they were using frequently leaked, spoiling gunpowder and food supplies. The height of land between the Kennebec and the Chaudière River was a swampy tangle of lakes and streams, where the traversal was complicated by bad weather, resulting in one quarter of the troops turning back. The descent down the Chaudière resulted in the destruction of more boats and supplies as the inexperienced troops were unable to control the boats in the fast-moving waters.Arnold's expedition is described in detail in e.g. #SmithMarch, Smith (1903) and Desjardins (2006). By the time Arnold reached the outskirts of civilization along the Saint Lawrence River in November, his force was reduced to 600 starving men. They had traveled almost 400 miles through untracked wilderness. When Arnold and his troops finally reached the Plains of Abraham on November 14, Arnold sent a negotiator with a white flag to demand their surrender, but to no avail. The Americans, with no cannons, and barely fit for action, faced a fortified city. Arnold, after hearing of a planned sortie from the city, decided on November 19 to withdraw to Neuville, Quebec, Pointe-aux-Trembles to wait for Montgomery, who had recently captured Montreal.#Simeon, Simeon, p. xiv As he headed upriver, Carleton returned to Quebec by river following his defeat at Montreal.#KingsfordV, Kingsford (vol 5), p. 463 On December 2, Montgomery finally came down the river from Montreal with 500 troops, bringing captured British supplies and winter clothing. The two forces united, and plans were made for an attack on the city.#Alden, Alden, p. 206 Three days later the Continental Army again stood on the Plains of Abraham and began to besiege the city of Quebec.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), vol 2, p. 98


Battle and siege of Quebec

While planning the attack on the city, Christophe Pélissier (businessman), Christophe Pélissier, a Frenchman living near Trois-Rivières, came to meet with Montgomery. Pélissier, who was politically supportive of the American cause, operated Forges du Saint-Maurice, an ironworks at Saint-Maurice, Quebec, Saint-Maurice. Montgomery discussed the idea of holding the provincial convention with him. Pélissier recommended against holding a convention until after Quebec City had been taken, as the habitants would not feel free to act in that way until their security was better assured.#Gabriel, Gabriel, pp. 185–186 The two did agree to have Pélissier's ironworks provide munitions for the siege, which he did until the Americans retreated in May 1776 (at which time Pélissier also fled, eventually returning to France).#ProcRSC1886 1 4, Proc. RSC 1886, pp. 85–86 Montgomery joined Arnold and James Livingston in an assault on Quebec City during a snowstorm on December 31, 1775. Outnumbered and lacking any sort of tactical advantage, the Americans were soundly defeated by Carleton. Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded, and many men were taken prisoner, including Daniel Morgan.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), vol 2, pp. 111–147 Following the battle, Arnold sent Moses Hazen and Edward Antill (soldier), Edward Antill, another expatriate American, to report the defeat and request support to Wooster in Montreal, and also to the Congress in Philadelphia.#Everest, Everest, p. 35 Carleton chose not to pursue the Americans, opting instead to stay within the fortifications of the city, and await reinforcements that might be expected to arrive when the river thawed in the spring. Arnold maintained a somewhat ineffectual siege over the city, until March 1776, when he was ordered to Montreal and replaced by General Wooster. During these months, the besieging army suffered from difficult winter conditions, and smallpox began to travel more significantly through the camp. These losses were offset by the arrival each month of small companies of reinforcements.#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 126 On March 14, Jean-Baptiste Chasseur, a miller living downstream from the city, entered Quebec and informed Carleton that there were 200 men on the south side of the river ready to act against the Americans.#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 130 These men and more were mobilized, but an advance force was defeated in the Battle of Saint-Pierre by a detachment of pro-American local militia that were stationed on the south side of the river.#Lanctot, Lanctot, pp. 131–132 Congress, even before it learned of the defeat at Quebec, had authorized as many as 6,500 additional troops for service there.Nelson, p. 167 Throughout the winter, troops trickled into Montreal and the camp outside Quebec City. By the end of March, the besieging army had grown to almost 3,000, although almost one quarter of these were unfit for service, mainly due to smallpox. Furthermore, James Livingston and Moses Hazen, commanding the 500 Canadians in the army, were pessimistic about the loyalty of their men and the cooperation of the population due to persistent Loyalist propaganda.#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 133 Congress was conflicted about requests that Arnold made for a more experienced general officer to lead the siege effort. They first chose Charles Lee (general), Charles Lee, a major general with experience in the British Army, to lead the troops in Quebec in January. One week later, they retracted the step, and instead sent Lee into the southern states to direct efforts against an anticipated British attack there.Nelson, p. 173 (The British attempt was thwarted in the June 1776 Battle of Sullivan's Island.) They finally settled in March 1776 on Major General John Thomas (general), John Thomas, who had served in the army besieging Boston.


Discontent in Montreal

When General Montgomery left Montreal for Quebec City, he left the administration of the city in the hands of Connecticut's Brigadier General David Wooster. While Wooster at first had decent relations with the community, he took a number of steps that caused the local population to come to dislike the American military presence. After promising American ideals to the population, he began arresting Loyalists and threatening arrest and punishment of anyone opposed to the American cause.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 110 He also disarmed several communities, and attempted to force local militia members to surrender their Crown commissions. Those who refused were arrested and imprisoned at Fort Chambly.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 111 These and similar acts, combined with the fact that the Americans were paying for supplies and services with paper money rather than coin, served to disillusion the local population about the entire American enterprise. On March 20, Wooster left to take command of the forces at Quebec City, leaving Moses Hazen, who had raised the 2nd Canadian Regiment, in command of Montreal until Arnold arrived on April 19.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 112–113 On April 29, a delegation consisting of three members of the Second Continental Congress, Continental Congress, along with an American Jesuit priest, John Carroll (bishop), John Carroll (later the first Catholic bishop in the United States) and a French printer from Philadelphia, arrived in Montreal. The Continental Congress had assigned this delegation the tasks of assessing the situation in Quebec and attempting to sway public opinion to their cause. This delegation, which included Benjamin Franklin, was largely unsuccessful in its efforts, as relations were already significantly damaged. The delegation had not brought any hard currency to alleviate debts to the population that were accumulating. Efforts to turn the Catholic clergy to their cause failed, as the local priests pointed out that the Quebec Act passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, British Parliament had given them what they wanted. Fleury Mesplet, the printer, while he had set up his press, did not have time to produce anything before events began to overtake the delegation.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 115 Franklin and Carroll left Montreal on May 11, following news that the American forces at Quebec City were in panicked retreat,#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 141 to return to Philadelphia. Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Charles Carroll, the other two delegates, analyzed the military situation in the area south and east of Montreal, finding it a good place to set up a defense. On May 27, they wrote a report to Congress on the situation, and left for the south.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 116


The Cedars

Upriver from Montreal were a series of small British garrisons that the Americans had not concerned themselves with during the occupation. As spring approached, bands of Cayuga nation, Cayuga, Seneca nation, Seneca, and Mississaugas, Mississauga warriors began to gather at Oswegatchie, New York, Oswegatchie, one of these garrisons, giving the commander there, Captain George Forster, a force with which to cause trouble for the Americans.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 117 Forster had recruited them on the recommendation of a Loyalist who had escaped from Montreal. Furthermore, while General Wooster, much to the annoyance of both Patriot and Loyalist merchants, had refused to permit trade with the Indians upriver out of fear that supplies sent in that direction would be used by the British forces there, the congressional delegation reversed his decision and supplies began flowing out of the city up the river.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 118 To prevent the flow of supplies to the British forces upriver, and in response to rumours of indigenous peoples gathering, Moses Hazen detached Colonel Timothy Bedel and 390 men to a position upriver at Les Cèdres, Quebec, Les Cèdres (English: ''The Cedars''), where they built a stockaded defense works. Colonel Forster was made aware of these movements by Indian spies and Loyalists, and on May 15 began to move downriver with a mixed force of about 250 Natives, militia, and regulars. In an odd series of encounters known as the Battle of the Cedars, Bedel's lieutenant Isaac Butterfield surrendered this entire force without a fight on the 18th, and another 100 men brought as reinforcements also surrendered after a brief skirmish on the 19th.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 119–121


Quinze-Chênes

On receiving news of Butterfield's capture, Arnold immediately began assembling a force to recover them, which he entrenched in a position at Lachine, Quebec, Lachine, just upriver from Montreal. Forster, who had left the captives in the stockade at Les Cèdres, moved closer to Montreal with a force now numbering around 500, until May 24 when he received intelligence of Arnold's location, and that Arnold was expecting additional forces which would significantly outnumber his. Since his force was dwindling in size, he negotiated an agreement with his captives to exchange them for British prisoners taken during the siege of Fort St. Johns. After a brief exchange of cannon fire at Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Quinze-Chênes, Arnold also agreed to the exchange, which took place between May 27 and 30.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 121–123


Reinforcements arrive at Quebec City


American troops

General John Thomas was unable to move north until late April, due to the icy conditions on Lake Champlain.Nelson, p. 184 Concerned about reports of troop readiness and sickness, he made requests to Washington for additional men to follow him while he waited for conditions to improve. Upon his arrival in Montreal, he learned that many men had promised to stay only until April 15, and most of these were insistent on returning home. This was compounded by relatively low enrollments in regiments actually raised for service in Quebec. One regiment with an authorized strength of 750, sailed north with but 75 men.Nelson, pp. 187–188 These deficiencies prompted Congress to order Washington to send more troops north. In late April, Washington ordered ten regiments, led by Generals William Thompson (general), William Thompson and John Sullivan (general), John Sullivan, to go north from New York. This significantly reduced Washington's forces that were preparing for a British attack there.Nelson, p. 188 This also exposed transport problems: there were insufficient sailing hands on Lakes George and Champlain to easily move all of these men. Furthermore, there was also a shortage of supplies in Quebec, and much of the shipping was needed to move provisions instead of men.Nelson, p. 189 As a result, Sullivan's men were held up at Ticonderoga, and Sullivan did not reach Sorel, Quebec, Sorel until the beginning of June.Nelson, p. 210 General Wooster arrived in the American camp outside Quebec City in early April with reinforcements. Reinforcements continued to arrive from the south in modest numbers, until General Thomas arrived at the end of April and assumed command of a force that was nominally over 2,000 strong, but in reality was significantly diminished by the effects of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
and the hardships of the Canadian winter. Rumors began circulating on May 2 that British ships were coming up the river. Thomas decided on May 5 to evacuate the sick to Trois-Rivières, with the rest of the forces to withdraw as soon as practical. Late on that day he received intelligence that 15 ships were 40 leagues below the city, awaiting favorable conditions to come up the river. The pace of camp evacuation took on a sense of urgency early the next day when ship's masts were spotted; the wind had changed, and 3 ships of the fleet had reached the city.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), vol 2, pp. 294–295


British troops

After news of Lexington and Concord reached London, the government of Frederick North, Lord North, Lord North, realizing it would require the support of foreign troops to combat the rebellion, began negotiating with European allies for the use of their troops in North America. Requests to Catherine the Great for Russian Empire, Russian troops were refused, but a number of Germans in the American Revolution, German principalities were prepared to offer theirs. Of the 50,000 troops that Britain raised in 1776, nearly one third came from a handful of these principalities; the number of troops from Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Hanau caused them to be widely referred to as Hessian (soldiers), Hessians.#Nickerson, Nickerson, p. 46 Of these 50,000, about 11,000 were destined for service in Quebec.#Nickerson, Nickerson, p. 92 Troops from Hesse-Hanau and Brunswick-Lüneburg sailed in February 1776 for Cork (city), Cork, where they joined a convoy carrying British troops that sailed in early April.#Ketchum, Ketchum, pp. 89–96 Carleton, having been informed of pace of activity in the American camp, rapidly unloaded reinforcements from the arrived ships, and around noon marched with a force of about 900 troops to test the Americans. The American response was essentially panic; a disorganized retreat began that might have ended even more disastrously for the Americans had Carleton pressed his advantage. Hoping to win over the rebels with a lenient attitude,#Lanctot, Lanctot, p. 139 he was content to send ships up the river to harass the Americans, and to possibly cut them off. He also captured a number of Americans, mostly sick and wounded, but also a detachment of troops that had been abandoned on the south side of the St. Lawrence. The Americans, in their hurry to get away, left numerous valuable military effects, including cannon and gunpowder, in their wake. They regrouped on the 7th at Deschambault, Quebec, Deschambault, about 40 miles upriver from Quebec City. Thomas held a war council there, in which most of the leadership favored retreat. Thomas opted to retain 500 men at Deschambault while sending the rest to Sorel, and also sent word to Montreal for assistance, since many of the troops had little more than the clothes on their backs and a few days rations.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), volume 2, pp. 345–346 The Congressional delegation in Montreal, upon hearing this news, determined that holding the Saint Lawrence would no longer be possible, and dispatched only a small number of troops toward Deschambault. Thomas, after waiting for six days for word from Montreal and hearing none, began to withdraw toward Trois-Rivières, but not before having to fight off skirmishers from forces landed from British ships on the river. They reached Trois-Rivières on May 15, where they left the sick, and a detachment of New Jersey troops to defend them. By the 18th, the remaining troops joined reinforcements under General Thompson at Sorel, where on the 21st, a council was held with the Congressional delegates. Thomas contracted smallpox that same day, and died on June 2. He was replaced by Thompson.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 126–127


Carleton's counteroffensive


Trois-Rivières

On May 6, 1776, a small squadron of British ships under Sir Charles Douglas, 1st Baronet, Captain Charles Douglas had arrived to relieve Quebec with supplies and 3,000 troops, precipitating the Americans' retreat to Sorel. However, General Carleton did not take significant offensive measures until May 22, when he sailed to Trois-Rivières with the 47th and 29th regiments. While hearing news of Forster's success at Les Cèdres, instead of pushing ahead he returned to Quebec City, leaving Allen Maclean in command at Trois-Rivières. There he met Lieutenant General
John Burgoyne General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

John Burgoyne
, who had arrived on June 1 with a large force of mostly Irish recruits, Hessian allies, and a war chest of money. The Americans at Sorel, on receiving word that a force of "only 300 men" was at Trois-Rivières, thought that they should be able to send a force from Sorel to take Trois-Rivières back. Unaware that major British reinforcements had arrived, and ignorant of the geography around the town, General Thompson led 2,000 men first into a swamp, and then Battle of Trois-Rivières, into the teeth of a reinforced, entrenched British army. This disaster included the capture of Thompson and many of his senior officers, as well as 200 men and most of the ships used for the expedition, and forecast the end of the American occupation of Quebec. The American forces at Sorel, now under the command of General Sullivan, retreated.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 127–128 Carleton once again did not press his advantage, even going so far as to eventually return the captives to New York, in great comfort, in August.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 128


Retreat to Crown Point

Early on June 14, Carleton finally sailed his army up the river to Sorel. Arriving late in the day, they discovered that the Americans had abandoned Sorel just that morning, and were retreating up the Richelieu River valley toward Chambly and St. Johns. Unlike the departure from Quebec City, the Americans left in a somewhat orderly manner, although some units were separated from the main force by the arrival of Carleton's fleet, and were forced to march to Montreal to join Arnold's forces.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 129 Carleton directed General Burgoyne and 4,000 troops to move up the Richelieu after the retreating Americans, while Carleton continued sailing toward Montreal.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 130 In Montreal, Arnold was ignorant of the events taking place downriver, having recently finished dealing with Forster. A messenger he sent downriver toward Sorel on June 15 for news from General Sullivan spotted Carleton's fleet, escaped to shore, and returned with the news to Montreal on a stolen horse. Within four hours, Arnold and the American forces garrisoned around Montreal had abandoned the city (but not before trying to burn it down), leaving it in the hands of the local militia. Carleton's fleet arrived in Montreal on June 17.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 131 Arnold's troops caught up with the main army near St. Johns on the 17th. Sullivan's army was in no condition to fight, and after a brief council, the decision was made to retreat to Crown Point. The army reportedly got away from St. Johns almost literally moments before the vanguard of Burgoyne's army arrived on the scene.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 132 The remains of the American army arrived at Crown Point in early July, ending a campaign that was described as "a heterogeneal concatenation of the most peculiar and unparalleled rebuffs and sufferings that are perhaps to be found in the annals of any nation", by Isaac Senter, a doctor who experienced much of the campaign.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 132–133 Unfortunately for the Americans, the campaign was not quite ended, since the British were still on the move.


Shipbuilding and politics

The Americans had been careful at every step of the retreat up the Richelieu and across Lake Champlain to deny the British of any significant shipping, burning or sinking any boats they did not take with them. This forced the British to spend several months building ships. Carleton reported to London on September 28 that "I expect our Fleet will soon sail with hopes of success should they come to action".#Stanley, Stanley, p. 134 General Arnold, when he and Ethan Allen captured Fort Ticonderoga, had established a small navy that was still patrolling Lake Champlain. While the British assembled a navy to counteract Arnold's, Carleton dealt with matters in Montreal. Even before the Americans retreated from Quebec City, he formed committees to look into the roles played by local Patriot sympathizers, sending them out into the countryside to arrest active participants in the American action, including those who had detained Loyalists.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 124 When he arrived in Montreal, similar commissions were set up.


Valcour Island

General Horatio Gates was given command of the Continental Army's northern forces in early July. He promptly moved the bulk of the army to Ticonderoga, leaving a force of about 300 at Crown Point. The army was busied improving the defenses at Ticonderoga, while Arnold was given the task of building up the American fleet at Crown Point. Throughout the summer, reinforcements poured into Ticonderoga, until the army was estimated to be 10,000 strong.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 136 A smaller army of shipwrights labored at Skenesborough (present-day Whitehall (village), New York, Whitehall) to build the ships needed to defend the lake.Nelson, p. 228 Carleton began to move on October 7. By the 9th, the British fleet was on Lake Champlain. In a Battle of Valcour Island, naval action between Valcour Island and the western shore, beginning on October 11, the British inflicted heavy damage to Arnold's fleet, forcing him to withdraw to Crown Point. Feeling that Crown Point would be inadequate protection against a sustained British attack, he then withdrew to Ticonderoga. British forces occupied Crown Point on October 17.#Stanley, Stanley, pp. 137–143 Carleton's troops remained at Crown Point for two weeks, with some troops advancing to within three miles of Ticonderoga, apparently in an attempt to draw Gates' army out. On November 2, they pulled out of Crown Point and withdrew to winter quarters in Quebec.#Stanley, Stanley, p. 144


Aftermath

The invasion of Quebec ended as a disaster for the Americans, but Arnold's actions on the retreat from Quebec and his improvised navy on Lake Champlain were widely credited with delaying a full-scale British counter thrust until 1777.#Morrissey, Morrissey, p. 87 Carleton was heavily criticized by Burgoyne for not pursuing the American retreat from Quebec more aggressively.#Nickerson, Nickerson, p. 71 Due to these criticisms and the fact that Carleton was disliked by George Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville, Lord George Germain, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies and the official in George III of the United Kingdom, King George's government responsible for directing the war, command of the Saratoga campaign, 1777 offensive was given to General Burgoyne instead (an action that prompted Carleton to tender his resignation as Governor of Quebec).#Nickerson, Nickerson, p. 102 A significant portion of the Continental forces at Fort Ticonderoga were sent south with Generals Gates and Arnold in November to bolster Washington's faltering defense of New Jersey. (He had already lost New York City, and by early December had crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, leaving the British free to operate in New Jersey.) Conquering Quebec and other British colonies remained an objective of Congress throughout the war. However, George Washington, who had supported this invasion, considered any further expeditions a low priority that would divert too many men and resources away from the main war in the Thirteen Colonies, so further attempts at expeditions to Quebec were never fully realized.#SmithFourteenII, Smith (1907), volume 2, pp. 459–552 Several hundred men of British and French descent continued to serve in the ranks of the Continental Army following the retreat of 1776. Under Livingston and Hazen, they served in various theaters of the war, including the siege of Yorktown. Being unable to recover the property they lost in the Province of Quebec, many remained in the army out of necessity and continually pushed American political and military authorities to live up to their financial pledges. At war's end, ''Canadiens'' reunited with women and children who had survived on rations in Albany and Fishkill, New York; some accepted the opportunity to settle a northern New York tract designated for "refugees" from Canada and Nova Scotia. During the Treaty of Paris (1783), Paris peace talks, the American negotiators unsuccessfully demanded all of Quebec as part of the war spoils. Benjamin Franklin, primarily interested in the Ohio Country, which had been made part of Quebec by the Quebec Act of 1774, suggested in the peace talks that Quebec should be surrendered to America but only the Ohio Country was ceded. In the War of 1812 the Americans launched another invasion of British North America, and again expected the local populace to support them. That failed invasion is now regarded as a significant event in Canadian history; it has even been claimed as the birth of modern Canadian identity.#Dale, Dale, p. 8


See also

* American Revolutionary War#Early engagements * List of American Revolutionary War battles * Heritage Minutes * History of Canada * History of the United States * Military history of Canada * Military history of the United States


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * This book includes a reprint of Arnold's diary of his march. * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * {{Good article Canadian campaign Canada–United States relations Conflicts in Canada New York (state) in the American Revolution Maine in the American Revolution Conflicts in 1775 Conflicts in 1776 1775 in North America 1776 in North America Military history of Quebec 1775 in the Province of Quebec (1763–1791) 1776 in the Province of Quebec (1763–1791) Invasions of Canada