Richard Montgomery
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Richard Montgomery (2 December 1738 – 31 December 1775) was an Irish
soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of an army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or l ...

soldier
who first served in the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
. He later became a
major general Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...

major general
in the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
during the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of t ...
, and he is most famous for leading the unsuccessful 1775 invasion of Quebec. Montgomery was born and raised in Ireland. In 1754, he enrolled at
Trinity College, Dublin , name_Latin = Collegium Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin , motto = ''Perpetuis futuris temporibus duraturam'' (Latin) , motto_lang = la , motto_English = It will last i ...

Trinity College, Dublin
, and two years later joined the British Army to fight in the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War, which pitted the North American colonies of the British Empire against those of the French colonial Empire, French, each side being supported by various Native Ame ...

French and Indian War
. He steadily rose through the ranks, serving in
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...

North America
and then the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
. After the war he was stationed at
Fort Detroit Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or Fort Detroit (1701–1796) was a fort established on the north bank of the Detroit River by the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and the Italian Alphonse de Tonty in 1701. In the 18th century, Frenc ...

Fort Detroit
during
Pontiac's War Pontiac's War (also known as Pontiac's Conspiracy or Pontiac's Rebellion) was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans dissatisfied with British rule in the Great Lakes region following ...

Pontiac's War
, following which he returned to Britain for health reasons. In 1773, Montgomery returned to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British Colony, colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Fo ...
, married Janet Livingston, and began farming. When the American Revolutionary War broke out, Montgomery took up the Patriot cause, and was elected to the
New York Provincial Congress The New York Provincial Congress (1775–1777) was a revolutionary provisional government formed by colonists in 1775, during the American Revolution, as a pro-American alternative to the more conservative New York General Assembly, and as a repla ...
in May 1775. In June 1775, he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
. After
Philip Schuyler Philip John Schuyler (; November 18, 1804) was an American general in the Revolutionary War and a United States Senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States Ho ...

Philip Schuyler
became too ill to lead the invasion of Canada, Montgomery took over. He captured Fort St. Johns and then
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada and List of towns in Quebec, most populous city in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian ...

Montreal
in November 1775, and then advanced to
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. As of July 2021, the city had a population of 549,459, and the Communauté métrop ...

Quebec City
, where he joined another force under the command of
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (#Brandt, Brandt (1994), p. 4June 14, 1801) was an American military officer who served during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army and rose to the r ...

Benedict Arnold
. On 31 December, he led an attack on the city, but was killed during the battle. The British found his body and gave him an honorable burial. His remains were moved to
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...

New York City
in 1818.


Early life

Montgomery was born near Swords in the north of
County Dublin "Action to match our speech" , image_map = Island_of_Ireland_location_map_Dublin.svg , map_alt = map showing County Dublin as a small area of darker green on the east coast within the lighter green background of ...

County Dublin
in Ireland. He was born into an Ulster Scots
gentry Gentry (from Old French ''genterie'', from ''gentil'', "high-born, noble") are "well-born, genteel and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past. Word similar to gentle imple and decentfamilies ''Gentry'', in its widest ...
family, the
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a counties of Ireland, county of Republic of Ireland, Ireland in the provinces of Ireland, province of Ulster and in the Northern and Western Region. It is named after the town of Donegal (town) ...
branch of the
Clan Montgomery Clan Montgomery (also Montgomerie) is a Scottish clan of the Scottish Lowlands. History Origins of the Clan The Montgomeries emigrated from Wales to Scotland in the 12th century with the Clan Stewart, FitzAlans. The Cambro-Norman family derive ...
. His father, Thomas Montgomery, was a
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
officer and a
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members o ...
(MP) for the
pocket borough A rotten or pocket borough, also known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough or Electoral district, constituency in Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain, or the United King ...
of
Lifford Lifford (, historically anglicised as ''Liffer'') is the county town of County Donegal, Ireland, the administrative centre of the county and the seat of Donegal County Council, although the town of Letterkenny is often mistaken as holding this ...
in east Donegal, which returned two MPs to the Irish Parliament.Gabriel p. 17 Thomas' brother Alexander Montgomery (1720–1800) and cousin, another Alexander Montgomery (1686–1729), were both
colonel Colonel (abbreviated as Col., Col or COL) is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, a colonel was typically in charge o ...
s and MPs for
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a counties of Ireland, county of Republic of Ireland, Ireland in the provinces of Ireland, province of Ulster and in the Northern and Western Region. It is named after the town of Donegal (town) ...
. Another first cousin Alexander Montgomery (died 1785) was MP for
County Monaghan County Monaghan ( ; ga, Contae Mhuineacháin) is a Counties of Ireland, county in Ireland. It is in the Provinces of Ireland, province of Ulster and is part of Border Region, Border strategic planning area of the Northern and Western Region. I ...
. Richard Montgomery spent most of his childhood at Abbeville House in
Kinsealy Kinsealy (officially Kinsaley; ) is an outer suburb of Dublin in Fingal, Republic of Ireland, Ireland. Kinsealy is on the Northside (Dublin), northside of the city, about 7 km from the centre city, on the Malahide Road, in the former green ...
, near Swords, in County Dublin, where he learned to hunt, ride, shoot, and fence. Thomas Montgomery made sure that his sons received a good education; Richard attended the school of the Rev. Saumarez Dubourdieu in
Leixlip Leixlip ( or ; , IPA: lʲeːmʲənˠˈwɾˠad̪ˠaːnʲ is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland. Its location on the confluence of the River Liffey and the River Rye (Ireland), Rye Water has marked it as a frontier town historically ...
, and learned French,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
, and
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
. Richard Montgomery entered
Trinity College, Dublin , name_Latin = Collegium Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin , motto = ''Perpetuis futuris temporibus duraturam'' (Latin) , motto_lang = la , motto_English = It will last i ...

Trinity College, Dublin
in 1754. Despite his great love of knowledge, Montgomery did not receive a degree. He was urged by his father and his oldest brother Alexander to join the military, which he did on 21 September 1756.Shelton p. 16 His father purchased an
ensign An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate nationality. The ensign is the largest flag, generally flown at the stern (rear) of the ship while in port. The naval ensign (also known as war ensign), used on warships, may be differ ...
's commission for Montgomery, who joined the 17th Regiment of Foot.


Seven Years War


North America

On 3 February 1757, the 17th Foot was ordered to march from its garrison at
Galway Galway ( ; ga, Gaillimh, ) is a City status in Ireland, city in the West Region, Ireland, West of Ireland, in the Provinces of Ireland, province of Connacht, which is the county town of County Galway. It lies on the River Corrib between Lo ...
and prepare to be deployed overseas.Shelton p. 19 On 5 May, Montgomery and the 17th Foot sailed from
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material) Cork is an Permeability (earth sciences), impermeable buoyancy, buoyant material, the Cork cambium, phellem layer of bark (botany), bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use prima ...
for
Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax is the capital and largest municipality of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and the largest municipality in Atlantic Canada. As of the 2021 Census, the municipal population was 439,819, with 348 ...
, arriving in July.Gabriel p. 21 The British had planned an attempt on
Louisbourg Louisbourg is an unincorporated community and former town in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. History The France, French military founded the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1713 and its fortified seaport on the southwest part of the h ...
but the operation was called off, and they sailed instead for winter quarters in New York. In 1758, the 17th Foot was sent back to Halifax, once again with the goal of taking Louisbourg. The British commanders, Jeffery Amherst and James Abercromby drew up a plan to assault the French at Louisbourg, which is located on the Atlantic coast of
Cape Breton Island Cape Breton Island (french: link=no, île du Cap-Breton, formerly '; gd, Ceap Breatainn or '; mic, Unamaꞌki) is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America and part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The island accounts for 18. ...
, north of Halifax. The French garrison consisted of only 800 men, while the British force had 13,142 troops supported by 23
ships of the line A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed during the Age of Sail from the 17th century to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactics in the Age of Sail, naval tactic known as the line of battle ...
and 13
frigate A frigate () is a type of warship. In different eras, the roles and capabilities of ships classified as frigates have varied somewhat. The name frigate in the 17th to early 18th centuries was given to any full-rigged ship built for speed and ...
s. On 8 June 1758, the attack on the fort began. Montgomery landed on the beach under heavy fire and ordered his troops to advance with fixed
bayonet A bayonet (from French ) is a knife, dagger, sword A sword is an edged and bladed weapons, edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife or dagger, is attached to a hilt and can be straigh ...
s.Shelton p. 23 The outer French defenses withdrew back toward the city. Montgomery's unit and the rest of the British force chased the French back to a point just outside the Fort's guns. At this point, the British prepared to besiege the city. Due to bad weather, artillery and other materials needed for the siege took several weeks to arrive onshore. Montgomery had his men dig entrenchments and build breastworks, also ordering his men stay alert to the possibility of a French attack. On 9 July, the French attempted a breakout, but it failed. On 26 July, following a series of actions resulting in the destruction of most their fleet, the French surrendered.Shelton p. 24 General Amherst was impressed by Montgomery's action during the siege, and promoted him to
lieutenant A lieutenant ( , ; abbreviated Lt., Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an Military, armed force or Uniformed services, uniformed service. Broadly ...
. On 8 July 1758, James Abercromby attacked Fort Carillon on
Lake Champlain Lake Champlain ( ; french: Lac Champlain) is a natural freshwater lake in North America. It mostly lies between the US states of New York (state), New York and Vermont, but also extends north into the Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. The New ...
, but was repelled with heavy losses.Shelton p. 25 In August, Montgomery and the 17th foot sailed to
Boston Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, state capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financ ...
, marched to join with Abercromby's forces in Albany and then moved to Lake George. On 9 November, Abercromby was recalled; Amherst replaced him as commander-in-chief. The British high command, for the 1759 campaign, developed a plan for a three-pronged attack into Canada, in which forces including the 17th foot would assault Fort Carillon and also capture
Fort St. Frédéric A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its ...
, near
Crown Point, New York Crown Point is a Administrative divisions of New York#Town, town in Essex County, New York, Essex County, New York (state), New York, United States, located on the west shore of Lake Champlain. The population was 2,024 at the 2010 census. The name ...
. Under Amherst's command, Montgomery and the 17th Foot participated in the capture of Fort Carillon. While the army was gathering prior to the battle, Montgomery's company was on guard duty; he ordered his men to remain vigilant for French and Indian ambush parties. On 9 May his suspicions proved correct when 12 men from the 17th were attacked.Shelton p. 26 Montgomery and the 17th met stiff resistance at first. Montgomery ordered that his men were not to fire at night, fearing they would shoot their comrades. On 21 July, the army began its movement toward Fort Carillon; by the 26th they were in position outside the fort's walls, from which the French had already withdrawn most of their forces to Fort St. Frédéric. That night, after some exchange of cannon fire during the day, the French blew up Carillon's powder magazine, and Fort St. Frédéric the next day, and withdrew to the far end of Lake Champlain. The 17th, which was placed under the command of Major General
Robert Monckton Lieutenant-General Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general wa ...
late in 1759, spent the winter on garrison duty in the
Mohawk River The Mohawk River is a U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline dataThe National Map accessed October 3, 2011 river in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson Ri ...
valley.Gabriel, pp. 26–27 On 15 May 1760, Monckton named Montgomery as regimental
adjutant Adjutant is a military appointment given to an Officer (armed forces), officer who assists the commanding officer with unit administration, mostly the management of human resources in an army unit. The term is used in French-speaking armed forc ...
, a position awarded by the commanding officer to the most promising lieutenant in the regiment. In August, the 17th Foot joined with the Lake Champlain Division, and set out from Crown Point to participate in a three-pronged attack on Montreal.Shelton p. 28 The 17th Foot captured the Île aux Noix and
Fort Chambly Fort Chambly is a historic fort in La Vallée-du-Richelieu Regional County Municipality, Quebec. It is designated as a National Historic Sites of Canada, National Historic Site of Canada. Fort Chambly was formerly known as Fort St. Louis. It was p ...
before meeting with the two other divisions outside Montreal. The Marquis de Vaudreuil,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
's French governor, seeing that the city could not be defended, surrendered the city without a fight. Eccles With the fall of Montreal, all of Canada fell into British hands. In the summer of 1761, Montgomery and the 17th Foot marched from Montreal to
Staten Island Staten Island ( ) is a Boroughs of New York City, borough of New York City, coextensive with Richmond County, in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. Located in the city's southwest portion, the borough is separated from New Jersey b ...
.


Caribbean

After conquering Canada, the British government put together a plan to defeat the French in the
West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 independent island country, island countries and 18 dependent territory, ...
. In November 1761, Montgomery and the 17th set sail for
Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It occupies an area of and has a population of about 287,000 (2019 estimate). ...
, where they joined other units from North America. On 5 January 1762, the force left Barbados and headed towards the French island of
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole, Matinik or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: or ) is an island and an Overseas department and region, overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France. An integral part of ...
, arriving there in mid-January. The French, having received word of an impending attack, had built up their defenses. A beachhead was quickly established, and the main offensive began on 24 January. The French outer defenses were overrun and the survivors fled to the capital,
Fort Royal Fort-de-France (, , ; gcf, label= Martinican Creole, Fodfwans) is a commune and the capital city of Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole, Matinik or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: or ) is an island and an Overse ...
. The British prepared to launch an assault on the fort, but the French, seeing the situation was hopeless, surrendered.Shelton p. 29 On 12 February, the entire island surrendered. After the fall of Martinique, the rest of the French West Indies,
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea t ...
,
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia ( acf, Sent Lisi, french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean. The island was previously called Iouanalao and later Hewanorra, names given by the native Arawaks and Caribs, two Amerindian ...
, and Saint Vincent, fell to the British without a fight. On 6 May 1762, in reward for his actions in Martinique, Lieutenant Colonel John Campbell promoted Montgomery to
captain Captain is a title, an appellative for the commanding officer of a military unit; the supreme leader of a navy ship, merchant ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel; or the commander of a port, fire or police department, election precinct, e ...
and gave him command of one of the ten companies of the 17th Foot.Gabriel, p. 28 Spain entered the war in 1761 as an ally of France. The British high command believed that capturing
Havana Havana (; Spanish: ''La Habana'' ) is the capital and largest city of Cuba. The heart of the La Habana Province, Havana is the country's main port and commercial center.
would destroy the lines of communication from Spain to its
colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located overseas, settled by the population of a certain state and governed by that state. Before the expansion of early mo ...
.Shelton p. 30 On 6 June, the assaulting British forces arrived seven miles off the shore of Havana. The 17th Foot, including Montgomery's company, was to capture Moro Fort, the key to the Spanish defense of the city. British battleships bombarded the fort, silencing all but two Spanish guns. On 30 July, Montgomery and the 17th Foot stormed and captured the fort. In late August 1762, Montgomery and the 17th Foot were sent to New York, where they remained for the rest of the war. The conflict was ended by the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 10 February 1763.


Pontiac's War

Angered by the French surrender and unhappy with British policies that affected them, an
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian French: ) is the capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, usually as i ...
chief, Pontiac, organized 18 Native American tribes that attacked British military and civilian settlements beginning in April 1763.Shelton, p. 32 The tribes captured eight British forts and forced the evacuation of two more. General Amherst ordered the 17th to Albany in June 1763 to assist in combating the outbreak of hostilities. En route to Albany, the ship carrying Montgomery up the Hudson River ran aground near Clermont Manor, seat of the politically powerful
Livingston family The Livingston family of New York is a prominent family that migrated from Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britai ...
. While the ship was refloated, the Livingstons played host to the ship's officers. Montgomery met Robert Livingston's 20-year-old daughter Janet. We do not know what happened between them at this time, but Janet noticed that Montgomery was not with the regiment (having been given leave to return to England early) when it returned to New York.Gabriel, p. 32 The 17th was first assigned to garrison duty at
Fort Stanwix Fort Stanwix was a colonial fort A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fo ...
, where Montgomery remained until 1764. In 1764, Montgomery applied to Colonel Campbell and General
Thomas Gage General (United Kingdom), General Thomas Gage (10 March 1718/192 April 1787) was a British Army general officer and Colonialism, colonial official best known for his many years of service in North America, including his role as British Comman ...
for leave to return to England; his service in the Caribbean had taken a toll on his health. Gage granted the leave, directing Colonel Campbell to approve the leave as soon as possible. Campbell, whose subordinate officers had been depleted in the Caribbean campaign, would grant the leave only after the upcoming expedition.Gabriel, pp. 32–33 The British in 1764 organized two expeditions to combat the uprising.Gabriel p. 33 Montgomery and the 17th were on one of these expeditions, commanded by
John Bradstreet Major General John Bradstreet, born Jean-Baptiste Bradstreet (21 December 1714 – 25 September 1774) was a British Army officer during King George's War, the French and Indian War, and Pontiac's War. He was born in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia ...
, that went to
Fort Niagara Fort Niagara is a fortification originally built by New France to protect its interests in North America, specifically control of access between the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, the easternmost of the Great Lakes. The fort is on the river's e ...
in July, where they were stationed for one month, while
Sir William Johnson Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet of New York ( – 11 July 1774), was a British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly k ...
organized and held a major conference with Natives from around the
Great Lakes The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes in the mid-east region of North America that connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. There are five lakes ...
. The conference drew more than 2,000 natives; Bradstreet's forces stayed there as a deterrent to rumored Native attacks. They then marched to
Fort Detroit Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or Fort Detroit (1701–1796) was a fort established on the north bank of the Detroit River by the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and the Italian Alphonse de Tonty in 1701. In the 18th century, Frenc ...

Fort Detroit
, which had been subject to a surprise attack earlier, arriving in August.Gabriel p. 34 For several weeks, Montgomery stayed at the fort, helping to improve its defenses, and also gaining an understanding of how to interact with the Natives. In September, Bradstreet left Fort Detroit for Sandusky, to meet with the Shawnee and the Delaware; while the 17th remained on garrison duty at Fort Detroit and
Fort Michilimackinac Fort Michilimackinac was an 18th-century France, French, and later Kingdom of Great Britain, British, fort and trading post at the Straits of Mackinac; it was built on the northern tip of the lower peninsula of the present-day state of Michigan ...
, Montgomery, whose leave had been granted, accompanied him. On 3 October, Montgomery and several other officers met with Thomas King, an Oneida chief. King had accompanied a detachment of Bradstreet's men on operations in Illinois; he reported that the Natives were quite hostile there, and had recommended against military action against them. Two days later, at a larger conference with Bradstreet and
Iroquois The Iroquois ( or ), officially the Haudenosaunee ( meaning "people of the longhouse"), are an Iroquoian Peoples, Iroquoian-speaking Confederation#Indigenous confederations in North America, confederacy of First Nations in Canada, First Natio ...
leaders, Bradstreet explained to them that the British would not be attacking the Shawnee and Delaware. Bradstreet then released Montgomery, who traveled first to Johnson Hall and then New York, where he delivered dispatches from Bradstreet to Gage before departing for England.Gabriel p. 35


Recovery

In Britain, Montgomery recovered his health.Shelton p. 33 He associated with Whig Members of Parliament, who generally supported the colonists in their demands for more political freedom. Montgomery became friends with several prominent Whigs, among them Isaac Barre,
Edmund Burke Edmund Burke (; 12 January ew Style, NS1729 – 9 July 1797) was an Anglo-Irish people, Anglo-Irish Politician, statesman, economist, and philosopher. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of Parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the ...
, and
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox (24 January 1749 – 13 September 1806), styled ''The Honourable ''The Honourable'' (British English) or ''The Honorable'' (American English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling d ...
. While stationed in Britain, Montgomery spent much of his time discussing politics with these three men. He began to question the British Government's policies. In 1768, with the 17th Foot back in England, he began a recruitment drive; before it began, his company was only 17 men. He also became engaged; however, his fiancée proved to be untrue, and the engagement was broken.Gabriel, p. 49 After being passed over for promotion in 1771, likely because of his political affiliations, he sold his commission for about £1,500 and left the military in 1772. He then bought scientific instruments (microscopes, a barometer and hygrometer), surveying tools, and draftsmen's tools, and sailed for America in July of that year.Gabriel, p. 53 He had decided to never marry or take up arms again, and to become a gentleman farmer.


Settling in New York

He bought a farm at King's Bridge, 13 miles north of
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...

New York City
. While adjusting to his surroundings, Montgomery renewed his acquaintance with Janet Livingston, who later recounted that "politeness led him to make me a visit."Gabriel, p. 57 After receiving permission from her father, he and Janet were married on 24 July 1773.Shelton p. 39 Montgomery's marriage with Janet also led him to become a slave owner, as the Livingstons were a prominent slaveowning family in the region. After their marriage, Montgomery leased his farm to a tenant. His wife's grandfather, Judge Beekman, gave them a cottage on the Post Road north of the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck in which to reside. Montgomery bought some surrounding land and set to work fencing, ploughing fields, building a grain mill, and laying the foundation for a larger home called "Grasmere", though it was yet to be completed at the time of his death and the tiny cottage was his only residence in Rhinebeck. He said that he was "Never so happy in all my life", but followed that up by saying "This cannot last; it cannot last."Shelton p. 40 Three months after their marriage, Janet told him of a dream she had in which Montgomery was killed in a duel by his brother. Montgomery replied by saying "I have always told you that my happiness is not lasting ... Let us enjoy it as long as we may and leave the rest to God." Because Montgomery was now tied to the
Livingston family The Livingston family of New York is a prominent family that migrated from Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britai ...
, who supported the Patriot cause, he began to turn against the British government, seeing himself as an American instead of an Englishman.Shelton p. 50 He came to believe that the British government was being oppressive and was acting like a tyrannical parent-state.


New York Provincial Congress

On 16 May 1775, Montgomery was elected as one of the ten deputies to represent Dutchess County in the
New York Provincial Congress The New York Provincial Congress (1775–1777) was a revolutionary provisional government formed by colonists in 1775, during the American Revolution, as a pro-American alternative to the more conservative New York General Assembly, and as a repla ...
. Although Montgomery had only lived in New York for two years and had not sought political involvement, he was well known and respected in the area and he felt obliged to attend. He was reluctant to go, but nonetheless went to New York City, 80 miles south of Rhinebeck.Shelton p. 56 The first session began on 22 May. On 26 May 97 delegates, including Montgomery, signed a resolution legitimizing its authority. Montgomery's views were those of a moderate Patriot. He believed that the British Government was wrong, but hoped for an honorable reconciliation.Shelton p. 57 Gradually, the faction of the Congress that remained loyal to the King lost its influence, with some not participating on a regular basis. Montgomery was selected to serve in a site selection committee to decide the placement of military defensive positions in New York,Shelton p. 63 and was also involved in organizing the provincial militia and securing its supplies.


American Revolution


Appointment

After the appointment of
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the ...
as Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
on 15 June 1775, the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a late-18th-century meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that united in support of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress was creating a new country it first named "United Colonies" and in 1 ...
asked the New York Provincial Government to select two men for service in the army. One would be a
major general Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...

major general
, the other a
brigadier general Brigadier general or Brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries. The rank is usually above a colonel, and below a major general or divisional general. When appointed to ...
. The assembly favored
Philip Schuyler Philip John Schuyler (; November 18, 1804) was an American general in the Revolutionary War and a United States Senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States Ho ...

Philip Schuyler
as the major general. Montgomery expressed concern over this, as he did not believe that Schuyler had enough combat experience for such an appointment.Shelton p. 66 Montgomery wrote that "Phil Schuyler was mentioned to me ... His consequence in the province makes him a fit subject for an important trust – but has he strong nerves? I could wish to have that point well ascertained with respect to any man so employed." Although Montgomery knew he was under consideration for brigadier general, he did not publicly show any desire for the appointment. Nonetheless, Schuyler was appointed major general, and Montgomery brigadier general, on 22 June. Montgomery was ranked second in command of all the brigadier generals. In view of this appointment, he said, "The Congress having done me the honor of electing me brigadier-general in their service, is an event which must put an end, for awhile, perhaps for ever, to the quiet scheme of life I had prescribed for myself; for, though entirely unexpected and undesired by me, the will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed."


Plan

On 25 June, George Washington passed through New York City on his way to Boston.Shelton p. 75 Washington assigned Montgomery as deputy commander under Schuyler. A few days later, Schuyler received orders from the Continental Congress to invade Canada. The idea was that the army was to invade
Quebec Quebec ( ; )According to the Government of Canada, Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official name in Canadian English is ...
, where the Hudson River and the northern lakes could supply the army. A force was quickly assembled at
Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the New France, French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Champlain, in northern New York (state), New York, in the United States. It was constructed ...
, and Schuyler left to take command of the army on 4 July.Shelton p. 78 Montgomery stayed in Albany for several more weeks making the final arrangements for the invasion. His wife followed him as far north as Saratoga, where he told her "You shall never have cause to blush for your Montgomery." Through July and early August, Montgomery and Schuyler continued to organize their force, raising the men and materials needed for an invasion.Shelton p. 86 While they organized, Washington decided to expand the invasion, ordering
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (#Brandt, Brandt (1994), p. 4June 14, 1801) was an American military officer who served during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army and rose to the r ...

Benedict Arnold
to lead another invasion force that would invade Quebec from
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It borders New Hampshire to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southeast, and the Provinces and territories of Canad ...
. It was to join with Schuyler's army outside
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. As of July 2021, the city had a population of 549,459, and the Communauté métrop ...

Quebec City
, where they would launch a joint attack on to the city.


Invasion of Quebec

In August, Schuyler left to meet with representatives of the
Iroquois Confederacy The Iroquois ( or ), officially the Haudenosaunee ( meaning "people of the longhouse"), are an Iroquoian Peoples, Iroquoian-speaking Confederation#Indigenous confederations in North America, confederacy of First Nations in Canada, First Natio ...
in order to keep them neutral during the invasion, leaving Montgomery in command of the forces at Fort Ticonderoga.Shelton p. 87 While Schuyler was away, Montgomery received intelligence that the British were building two gunboats on
Lake Champlain Lake Champlain ( ; french: Lac Champlain) is a natural freshwater lake in North America. It mostly lies between the US states of New York (state), New York and Vermont, but also extends north into the Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. The New ...
, which, when complete, would give the British military access to the lake.Gabriel, p. 85 Without asking permission from Schuyler, he moved 1,200 men north on the schooner ''
Liberty Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society fr ...
'' and the sloop ''
Enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings was a midstream energy holding company based in Houston, Texas Houston (; ...
''. Montgomery wrote a letter to Schuyler, explaining the situation. Schuyler returned to Fort Ticonderoga on 30 August, ordered an additional 800 men to reinforce Montgomery, and then, despite being ill, set out to join Montgomery. He caught up with Montgomery on 4 September on Isle La Motte,Shelton p. 90 where he assumed command and ordered the advance to continue to Île aux Noix, a small island in the
Richelieu River The Richelieu River () is a river of Quebec, Canada, and a major right-bank tributary of the Saint Lawrence River, St. Lawrence River. It rises at Lake Champlain, from which it flows northward through Quebec and empties into the St. Lawrenc ...
. Schuyler, whose health was poor, drafted a proclamation in which he called the Canadians "Friends and Countrymen", asking them to help expel the British from Canada. On 6 September, Montgomery led a probing force to Fort St. Johns, the key to the British defense of Montreal. Montgomery led the main body of troops toward the fort through a marshy and heavily wooded area. A flanking party led by Captain Matthew Mead was ambushed by 100 Native Americans allied to the British.Shelton p. 91 The party held its ground, forcing the ambushing Natives to fall back to the fort. Montgomery, fearing that the British force was larger than he had anticipated, called off operations for the rest of the day and withdrew his force to a spot beyond the range of the British guns. Believing that the fort could not be captured quickly, Schuyler recalled Montgomery's force and fortified Île aux Noix.Shelton p. 92 Schuyler's health declined, so Montgomery assumed command of the daily functions of the army. On 10 September, a larger force of 1,700 men led by Montgomery moved toward the fort.Shelton p. 93 In the swampy area around the fort, it was so dark that two parties of Americans ran into each other; each feared the other to be the British, and both fled. Montgomery ran to intercept them and ended the flight. As they advanced toward the fort, the force came under British
grapeshot Grapeshot is a type of artillery round invented by a British Officer during the Napoleonic Wars. It was used mainly as an anti infantry round, but had other uses in naval combat. In artillery, a grapeshot is a type of ammunition that consists of ...
fire. One party of Americans attacked the British breastworks, inflicting 2 casualties, after which they fell back. The next morning, Montgomery called a council of war, in which it was agreed to make another attack on the fort. However, word spread that a British warship was advancing up the river, and half the New England troops fled out of fright.Shelton p. 94 Montgomery, believing his force could no longer take the fort, retreated back to Île aux Noix. Montgomery, furious at the flight of the New England troops, asked Schuyler to appoint a court-martial board. Meanwhile, Schuyler's health had not improved. He left for Ticonderoga on the 16th to recover, giving full control of the operation to Montgomery.


Siege of St. Johns

Outside of
Fort Saint-Jean (Quebec) Fort Saint-Jean is a fort in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Quebec located on the Richelieu River. The fort was first built in 1666 by soldiers of the Carignan-Salières Regiment of France who had travelled to N ...
, Montgomery continued to receive reinforcements.Shelton p. 98 He granted leaves to commanders who he felt were not fit for their position. He said "I hope we shall have none left but fighting men on whom I can rely." On 16 September, Montgomery organized another expedition against the British fort. In total, he had 1,400 men. He sent a naval component, with 1 schooner, 1 sloop, and 10 bateaux with 350 troops to counter any move by the British warship, ''Royal Savage''. Montgomery took the rest of his force and sailed up the river, landing near St. Johns on 17 September. The British garrison was 725 men commanded by Major Charles Preston, who just 3 years earlier had been Montgomery's superior officer in the British Army.Shelton p. 99 Montgomery and his troops spent the first night near the landing area, under light fire from the British guns. The next morning, he ordered Major Timothy Bedel to occupy a position north of the fort, but when Montgomery saw that his men were apprehensive, he chose to lead the mission himself. As Montgomery led his troops, they came upon a fight between British troops and another American party. Montgomery took command of the skirmish and forced the British party back into the fort.Shelton p. 100 Montgomery sent Bedel with a force to entrench themselves about a mile north of the fort. Montgomery then put other troops around the fort and began a siege. Preston and the British forces had many more guns and much more ammunition than the Americans and thus achieved a 10-to-1 firepower advantage for the first few weeks. Montgomery concentrated his forces on improving the siege works. Within several days they had erected 2 batteries under consistent fire from the fort. On 22 September, Montgomery was nearly killed while inspecting the breastworks when a cannonball from the fort shot past him, ripping his skirt and knocking him off the breastwork, although he landed on his feet. The troops observed that this "did not seem to hurt or frighten him." The Americans continued to receive armaments from Ticonderoga,Shelton p. 106 with guns arriving on 21 September and also on 5 October. However, the artillery were positioned too far away to do much damage to the fort. With the arrival of the new guns, Montgomery planned to move the emphasis of the bombardment from the east side of the fort to the north side, where they would be closer. However, his officers unanimously rejected this plan, fearing that many men would desert due to the increased danger. Montgomery ordered that a new battery be built where the ''Royal Savage'' could be threatened. On 14 October, the battery was completed and then used to sink the British ship. In mid-October, James Livingston, an American expatriate living near Chambly (and a relative of Montgomery's wife Janet), suggested to Montgomery that he might have better success attacking Fort Chambly, which, about 10 miles downstream, was weaker than St. Jean.Shelton p. 109 Montgomery approved of the idea and ordered 350 men to take Chambly. On the night of 16 October, two American guns were slipped past Fort St. Jean and moved towards Chambly. The next morning, these guns opened fire on Chambly. After two days of bombardment, holes were driven into the fort's walls and the chimney had been knocked down. The British commander surrendered the fort, along with 6 tons of gunpowder and 83 men.Shelton p. 110 Montgomery sent the colors of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, who had been defending the fort, to Schuyler, the first standards of a British regiment captured in the war. Washington sent a letter of congratulations to Montgomery and commented that he hoped "that his next letter be dated from Montreal." The capture of Chambly improved morale in the ranks of Montgomery's army, so much so that he went through with his plan to establish a battery north of Fort St. Jean, this time without opposition. While the Americans were constructing the batteries, the British heavily bombarded the American workers, but this resulted in few casualties. General Guy Carleton, commanding the British forces at Montreal, realized that the situation at Fort St. Jean was becoming desperate. He personally led a relief force at the end of October, but American forces successfully prevented it from crossing the Saint Lawrence River south of Montreal.Shelton p. 113 On 1 November, the new batteries erected north of the fort were complete. The Americans began to fire at the fort and continued to do so throughout the rest of the day. The British guns fired back, but were less effective. The American guns caused few casualties, but inflicted heavy structural damage inside of the fort. Morale in the besieged garrison fell as the bombardment (and declining rations) took their toll. At sundown, Montgomery ordered the firing to stop and sent a prisoner captured at Chambly inside with a letter asking for the garrison's surrender. A messenger sent from Carleton to Preston was captured during the night, in which Carleton ordered that Preston continue to hold out. On 2 November, the British agreed to surrender with full military honors. They marched out of the fort on 3 November, and were sent into the colonies, where they were interned.Shelton p. 115 The British had suffered 20 killed and 23 wounded, while the Americans had only five killed and six wounded throughout the siege.


Montreal to Quebec

Montgomery then turned the army toward Montreal.Shelton p. 117 The march was difficult as there was snow, water, and ice on the ground and a winter storm struck several days after their departure. In an attempt to stop an escape of British troops from Montreal to Quebec, Montgomery sent a detachment to Sorel where the force briefly clashed with British troops. The British troops quickly withdrew to their vessels in the St. Lawrence River.Shelton p. 118 When Montgomery and the main army reached the outskirts of the city, Montgomery sent a messenger in demanding the surrender of the city or they would suffer bombardment. While negotiations for the city's surrender took place, Carleton fled down the St. Lawrence River in a small flotilla of ships. The city surrendered on 13 November, and Montgomery and his army marched into the city without a shot being fired.Shelton p. 119 On 19 November, the British flotilla was captured, but Carleton narrowly escaped and made his way to Quebec City. Montgomery's kind treatment toward the captured British prisoners caused several officers to express their concern. Montgomery saw this as a challenge to his authority and this, along with the lack of discipline in the army, caused Montgomery to threaten resignation. Letters from Washington in which Washington also expressed his troubles with the discipline of troops convinced Montgomery to continue his command. On 28 November, Montgomery and 300 men went aboard some of the captured ships and began to sail to Quebec City. On 2 December, Montgomery joined
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (#Brandt, Brandt (1994), p. 4June 14, 1801) was an American military officer who served during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army and rose to the r ...

Benedict Arnold
's force at Pointe aux Trembles, 18 miles upriver from Quebec. On his arrival, Arnold turned over command of his forces to Montgomery. On 3 December, Montgomery gave Arnold's men, who had marched through the Maine wilderness to Quebec City and suffered much hardship along the way, much-needed supplies, including clothing and other winter supplies taken from the captured British ships. The next day, the army moved toward the city; when they arrived, Montgomery ordered the city to be surrounded. On 7 December, Montgomery sent an ultimatum to Carleton, demanding the surrender of the city. Carleton burned the letter. Several days later, Montgomery sent a letter into the city appealing the merchants telling them that they had come to liberate the civilians of Quebec. However, Carleton discovered the plan and quickly had the messenger arrested. Montgomery, wanting his message to reach the inhabitants of the city, then sent the proclamation over the wall with bows and arrows.Shelton p. 131


Attack and death

Unknown to Montgomery, he was promoted to major general on 9 December for his victories at St. Johns and Montreal. After Montgomery was unable to convince Carleton to surrender, he placed several mortars a few hundred yards outside the walls of the city. The shelling of the city began on 9 December, but after several days it had failed to make a serious impact on the walls, the garrison, or the civilian population. With the shelling having little effect, Montgomery ordered the emplacement of another battery closer towards the city walls, on the , despite the fact it offered little natural cover from returning fire. On 15 December, the new batteries were ready and Montgomery sent a party of men under the flag of truce to ask for the city's surrender. However, they were turned away. Montgomery then resumed firing on the city, but the effect was little better.Shelton p. 135 When the new batteries were hit by more effective fire from the British, Montgomery ordered their evacuation. As the bombardment of the city proved to be unsuccessful, Montgomery then began to plan for an assault.Shelton p. 138 Montgomery was to assault the Lower Town district (Saint-Roch, Quebec City">Saint-Roch), the part of the city near the river shore, while Arnold was to attack and take the Cap Diamant">Cape Diamond Bastion, a strong part of the city walls on the highest point of the rocky promontory. Montgomery believed that they should attack during a stormy night, therefore the British would not be able to see them. On 27 December, the weather became stormy, and Montgomery ordered that the men prepare to attack. However, the storm soon subsided and Montgomery called off the attack. As Montgomery waited for a storm, he was forced to revise his plans, because a deserter communicated the original plan to the defenders. In the new plan, Montgomery would attack the Lower Town from the south and Arnold would attack the Lower Town from the north.Shelton p. 140 After breaking through the walls, Montgomery and Arnold would meet up in the city and then attack and take the Upper Town, causing resistance to collapse. To increase their chance of surprise, Montgomery planned two feints. One detachment of troops (the 1st Canadian Regiment under James Livingston) would set fire to one of the gates while another (under the command of Jacob Brown) would engage the guard at Cape Diamond Bastion and fire rockets to signal the start of the attack. While the feints were conducted, artillery would fire into the city. Although Montgomery was reluctant to attack, enlistments for Arnold's men were expiring on 1 January, and he was concerned about losing their services. On the night of 30 December, a snowstorm struck. Montgomery issued the order to attack and the Americans began to move towards their designated positions. At 4:00 a.m., Montgomery saw the rocket flares and began to move his men around the city towards the lower town. Although the rockets were to signal the attack, they also alerted the British of the impending attack, and the city's defenders rushed to their posts. Montgomery personally led the march to the Lower Town, as they descended the steep slippery cliffs outside the city walls. At 6:00 a.m., Montgomery's force reached a
palisade A palisade, sometimes called a stakewall or a paling, is typically a fence or defensive wall made from iron or wooden stakes, or tree trunks, and used as a defensive structure or enclosure. Palisades can form a stockade. Etymology ''Palisade'' ...
at the edge of the Lower Town, which they had to saw through. After they sawed through a second palisade, Montgomery led the advance party through the opening. Seeing a two-story
blockhouse A blockhouse is a small fortification, usually consisting of one or more rooms with Loophole (firearm), loopholes, allowing its defenders to fire in various directions. It is usually an isolated fort in the form of a single building, serving ...
down the street, Montgomery led the troops toward it, encouraging the men by drawing his sword and shouting, "Come on, my good soldiers, your General calls upon you to come on."Shelton p. 149 When the Americans were about away, the British forces in the blockhouse (30 Canadian militia and some seamen), opened fire with cannon, musket, and grapeshot. Montgomery was killed with grapeshot through the head and both thighs. Also killed in the burst of gunfire were Captains John Macpherson and Jacob Cheesman. With the death of Montgomery, his attack fell apart. Colonel Donald Campbell, the surviving officer, ordered a somewhat panicked retreat. One of Montgomery's staff officers,
Aaron Burr Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the third vice president of the United States from 1801 to 1805. Burr's legacy is defined by his famous personal conflict with Alexan ...
, briefly attempted to drag his commander's body to friendly lines, but was foiled by the snow as well as Montgomery's dead weight. Without Montgomery's assistance, Arnold's attack, after initial success, fell apart. Arnold was wounded in the leg, and a large number of his troops were captured, including
Daniel Morgan Daniel Morgan (1735–1736July 6, 1802) was an American pioneer, soldier, and politician from Virginia. One of the most respected battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War of 1775–1783, he later commanded troops during the sup ...
.


Funeral

On 1 January 1776, the British started collecting bodies of the deceased and soon found the body of a high-ranking officer of the American colonial army. After being brought to General Carleton, an American prisoner confirmed that the body was that of Richard Montgomery.Shelton p. 153 Once Montgomery's death was announced, Benedict Arnold assumed command of the American colonial forces. As Montgomery was a well-respected man on both sides of the battlefield, Carleton ordered that he be buried with dignity, but not with too much fanfare. At sunset on 4 January 1776, Montgomery's remains were put to rest. During his burial, American prisoners acknowledged Montgomery as a "beloved general" with "heroic bravery" and "suavity of manners" who held the "confidence of the whole army."Shelton p. 154


Mourning

Schuyler and Washington were devastated upon hearing of Montgomery's death.Shelton p. 158 Schuyler believed that without Montgomery, victory in Canada was not possible. He wrote to Congress and Washington that "My amiable friend, the gallant Montgomery, is no more; the brave Arnold is wounded; and we have met a severe check, in an unsuccessful attempt on Quebec, May Heaven be graciously pleased that the misfortune may terminate here." Washington wrote to Schuyler, "In the death of this gentleman, America has sustained a heavy loss, as he had approved himself a steady friend to her rights and of ability to render her the most essential services." Congress reacted to Montgomery's death by trying to keep the loss as quiet as possible.Shelton p. 159 They feared the news would lower the morale of the troops and civilians. On 25 January 1776, Congress approved the establishment of a monument in memory of Montgomery. A state memorial service was also scheduled and carried out on 19 February 1776. Throughout the thirteen colonies, Montgomery was viewed as a hero, and Patriots tried to use his death to promote their cause in the war. Montgomery's name was used very often in literature; among the authors who used his name was
Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain; – In the contemporary record as noted by Conway, Paine's birth date is given as January 29, 1736–37. Common practice was to use a dash or a slash to separate the old-style year from the new-style year. In th ...
.Shelton p. 167 The poet Ann Eliza Bleecker wrote an " Elegy on the death of Gen. Montgomery" in his memory. Montgomery was also mourned in Britain. Whigs attempted to use his death to show the failure of the British policies on the American Colonies. Prime Minister
Lord North Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (13 April 17325 August 1792), better known by his Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom, courtesy title Lord North, which he used from 1752 to 1790, was 12th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Min ...
acknowledged Montgomery's military ability but said "I cannot join in lamenting the death of Montgomery as a public loss. Curse on his virtues! They've undone his country. He was brave, he was able, he was humane, he was generous, but still, he was only a brave, able, humane, and generous rebel." Newspapers in London paid tribute to Montgomery, with the ''Evening Post'' bordering its 12 March edition in black as a sign of mourning.


Aftermath

Janet would outlive Montgomery by 53 years.Shelton p. 175 Janet always referred to him as "my general" or "my soldier" and guarded his reputation. After his death, Janet moved to the house near Rhinebeck on which Montgomery had begun work before the war.Shelton p. 176 Janet remained interested in politics for the rest of the war and was always a harsh critic of
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental ...
. After the war, former
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
general
Horatio Gates Horatio Lloyd Gates (July 26, 1727April 10, 1806) was a British-born American army officer who served as a general in the Continental Army during the early years of the Revolutionary War. He took credit for the American victory in the Battl ...
proposed marriage to her, but she declined.Shelton p. 178 In 1789, Janet stopped in New York City on her way to visit some of Montgomery's relatives in Ireland. She attended Washington's inaugural ball that followed his swearing as president, and also visited Washington and his family several times more. She sailed for Ireland soon after, and returned to America in 1790 after she had a falling out with her sister-in-law over British-American politics. In 1818, Stephen van Rensselaer, Governor of New York, obtained permission for Montgomery's remains to be moved from Quebec to New York. In June 1818, Montgomery's remains set off for New York City. On 4 July they arrived in Albany and took a boat down the Hudson to New York City.Shelton p. 180 Janet stood out on her porch and watched the boat bring Montgomery's remains down the river, fainting at the sight. When his remains arrived in New York City, 5,000 people attended the procession. His remains were interred on 8 July, next to his monument at St. Paul's Chapel in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City, is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five Boroughs of New York City, boroughs of New York City. The borough is also coextensive with New York County, one of the List of co ...
, which had been completed in 1776. Janet was pleased with the ceremony and wrote, "What more could I wish than the high honor that has been conferred on the ashes of my poor soldier." Years later, when
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, planter, general, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...
was corresponding with
Edward Livingston Edward Livingston (May 28, 1764May 23, 1836) was an American jurist and statesman. He was an influential figure in the drafting of the Louisiana Civil Code The ''Louisiana Civil Code'' (LCC) constitutes the core of private law in the State of ...
he wrote "Present me in the most respectful terms to your aged sister
anet Anet () is a Communes of France, commune in the Eure-et-Loir Departments of France, department in the Centre-Val de Loire Regions of France, region of north-central France. It lies 14 km north-northeast of Dreux between the rivers Eure (riv ...
Says to her, if I ever should be within one hundred miles of her dwelling I will visit and have the high honor of shaking by the hand the revered relict of the patriotic Genrl. Montgomery, who will ever live in the hearts of his countrymen." Three months after this letter, Janet died, on 6 November 1824.


Memorials

Montgomery's home in Rhinebeck, New York, is now the General Montgomery House, a historic house museum moved from Montgomery Street to 77 Livingston Street. The oldest structure in the Village of Rhinebeck, the building is also used for monthly meetings of the Chancellor Livingston Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The
United States Navy The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most powerful navy in the world, with the es ...
has named a number of ships over the years, including a frigate that was begun in 1776, and burned before completion to prevent its capture by the British. The Liberty cargo ship SS ''Richard Montgomery'', built in 1943, was sunk in 1944 in the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea, in the south-east of Great Britain. Limits An estuary can be defined according to different criteria (e.g. tidal, geographical, navigational or in terms of salini ...
, and remains there, with its masts showing. Its cargo of 3,173 tons of munitions continues to pose a threat to the local area. In
Philadelphia Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the List of municipalities in Pennsylvania#Municipalities, largest city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the List of United States cities by population, sixth-largest city i ...
, there is a statue of Montgomery in
Fairmount Park Fairmount Park is the largest municipal park in Philadelphia Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the List of municipalities in Pennsylvania#Municipalities, largest city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the ...
, near the
Philadelphia Museum of Art The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMoA) is an List of art museums#North America, art museum originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The main museum building was completed in 1928 on Fairmount, a hill located at t ...
.


Places

Fort Montgomery, a massive masonry fortification mounting 125 guns on
Lake Champlain Lake Champlain ( ; french: Lac Champlain) is a natural freshwater lake in North America. It mostly lies between the US states of New York (state), New York and Vermont, but also extends north into the Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. The New ...
was named for the General. Its construction begun in 1844, it was designed to guard the strategically important frontier between Canada and the United States; only ruins remain today. Montgomery has several places named after him. Counties named for him are to be found in
North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 28th largest and List of states and territories of the United ...
,
Missouri Missouri is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Ranking List of U.S. states and territories by area, 21st in land area, it is bordered by eight states (tied for the most with Tennessee ...
,
Arkansas Arkansas ( ) is a landlocked U.S. state, state in the South Central United States. It is bordered by Missouri to the north, Tennessee and Mississippi to the east, Louisiana to the south, and Texas and Oklahoma to the west. Its name is from ...
,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas inc ...
,Allan H. Keith
''Historical Stories: About Greenville and Bond County, IL''
Consulted on 15 August 2007.
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 17th-most populous o ...
,
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka, Kansas, Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebras ...
,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It shares borders with Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; ...
,
Ohio Ohio () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty U.S. states, it is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 34th-l ...
,
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania (; (Pennsylvania Dutch language, Pennsylvania Dutch: )), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state, state spanning the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern United States, Northeastern, Appa ...
, New York, Georgia,
Virginia Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States, between the East Coast of the United Stat ...
, and
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States and one of the states of the Upper South. It borders Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to ...
. Cities and towns named for him most notably include
Montgomery, Alabama Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County, Alabama, Montgomery County. Named for the Irish soldier Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the Gulf Coastal Plain, coas ...
, that state's capital and second largest city, as well as Montgomery, Minnesota and
Montgomery, Vermont Montgomery is a New England town, town in Franklin County, Vermont, Franklin County, Vermont, United States. The population as of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census was 1,184. In 1963, part of Avery's Gore in Franklin County became part of ...
. There is a township in New Jersey, a
town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings group ...
and village in New York, and a town in Massachusetts as well. Richard Montgomery High School in
Rockville, Maryland Rockville is a city that serves as the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County, Maryland, and is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. The 2020 United States Census, 2020 census tabulated Rockville's populatio ...
, bears his name, itself located in the county named after him, Montgomery County. Montgomery Place, a mansion in
Barrytown, New York Barrytown is a Hamlet (New York), hamlet (and census-designated place) within the town of Red Hook, New York, Red Hook in Dutchess County, New York, Dutchess County, New York (state), New York, United States. It is within the Hudson River Histori ...
, was constructed in 1803 and named in his honor by his widow. General Montgomery had planned it before his departure from Grassmere in 1775, and construction was originally planned to start in 1776.
Montgomery Street Montgomery Street is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, in the United States. It runs about 16 blocks from the Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, Telegraph Hill neighborhood south through downtown San Francisco, downtown, ter ...
in
Savannah, Georgia Savannah ( ) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County, Georgia, Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the Kingdom of Great Br ...
, is named for him.


Legacy

Montgomery is mentioned in a Fort Saint-Jean plaque erected in 1926 by Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada at the
Royal Military College Saint-Jean The Royal Military College Saint-Jean (french: link=no, Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean), commonly referred to as RMC Saint-Jean and CMR, is a Canadian Military academy, military college and university. It is located on the historical site ...
. "Constructed in 1743 by M. de Léry under orders from Governor la Galissonnière. This post was for all the military expeditions towards
Lake Champlain Lake Champlain ( ; french: Lac Champlain) is a natural freshwater lake in North America. It mostly lies between the US states of New York (state), New York and Vermont, but also extends north into the Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. The New ...
. On August 31, 1760, Commandant de Roquemaure had it blown up in accordance with orders from the Governor de Vaudreuil in order to prevent its falling into the hands of the English. Rebuilt by Governor Carleton, in 1773. During the same year, under the command of Major Charles Preston of the 26th Regiment, it withstood a 45 day siege by the American troops commanded by General Montgomery."


In popular culture

Montgomery is briefly mentioned in the 2015
Broadway musical Broadway theatre,Although ''theater'' is generally the spelling for this common noun in the United States (see American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, American and British English spelling differences), 130 of the List of ...
''Hamilton'' in the song "Right Hand Man" in which
Aaron Burr Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the third vice president of the United States from 1801 to 1805. Burr's legacy is defined by his famous personal conflict with Alexan ...
states he "was a captain under General Montgomery until he caught a bullet in the neck in Quebec" which refers to his death in the Battle of Quebec. He also features significantly in Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's historical novel "Fort Amity" (1904), as the cousin of the hero, John a Cleeve.


References


Sources

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External links


The General Richard and Janet Livingston Montgomery House belonging to the Chancellor Livingston Chapter, NSDAR, Rhinebeck, NY
* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Montgomery, Richard 1738 births 1775 deaths 18th-century Irish people Irish soldiers Irish slave owners American slave owners United States military personnel killed in the American Revolutionary War Royal Leicestershire Regiment officers British Army personnel of the French and Indian War Continental Army generals Continental Army officers from New York (state) Members of the New York Provincial Congress People from Swords, Dublin Burials at St. Paul's Chapel American people of Irish descent American people of Scotch-Irish descent American people of Scottish descent Kingdom of Ireland emigrants to the Thirteen Colonies Clan Montgomery