Siege of Fort St. Jean
   HOME

TheInfoList




The siege of Fort St. Jean (September 17 – November 3, 1775, also called St. John, St. Johns, or St. John's, french: Siège du Fort Saint-Jean) was conducted by American Brigadier General
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 ...
on the town and
fort A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...
of Saint-Jean in 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
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 , ...
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
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...

siege
lasted from September 17 to November 3, 1775. After several false starts in early September, the
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 ...
established a siege around Fort St. Jean. Beset by illness, bad weather, and logistical problems, they established mortar batteries that were able to penetrate into the interior of the fort, but the defenders, who were well-supplied with munitions, but not food and other supplies, persisted in their defence, believing the siege would be broken by forces from
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
under General Guy Carleton. On October 18, the nearby
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 ...

Fort Chambly
fell, and on October 30, an attempt at relief by Carleton was thwarted. When word of this made its way to St. Jean's defenders, combined with a new battery opening fire on the fort, the fort's defenders capitulated, surrendering on November 3. The fall of Fort St. Jean opened the way for the American army to march on Montreal, which fell without battle on November 13. General Carleton escaped from Montreal, and made his way 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
to prepare its defences against an anticipated attack.


Background

Fort Saint-Jean guarded the entry to the
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 , ...
on the
Richelieu River The Richelieu River () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its cou ...
at the northern end of
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous ...

Lake Champlain
. When
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 Ethan Allen ( – February 12, 1789) was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, lay theologian, American Revolutionary War Patriot (American Revolution), patriot, and politician. He is best known as one of the founde ...
captured Fort Ticonderoga and raided Fort St. Jean in May 1775, Quebec was garrisoned by about 600 regular troops, some of which were widely distributed throughout Quebec's large territory.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 29


Continental Army preparations

The invasion of Quebec began when about 1500 men, then under the command of 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
, arrived at the undefended Île-aux-Noix in the Richelieu River on September 4, 1775. On September 6, the Americans began making forays toward Fort St. Jean, only away.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, pp. 37–39
The army was initially composed of militia forces from
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
and
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
, with most of its operation directed by Brigadier General
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 ...
, who took over complete command from Schuyler on September 16, when Schuyler became too ill to continue leading the invasion.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, p. 56
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 41


British defensive preparations

Fort St. Jean had been under preparations for an attack from the south ever since Arnold's raid on Fort St. Jean on May 18, in which he captured its small garrison and
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous ...

Lake Champlain
's only large military ship. When news of that raid reached Montreal, 140 men under the command of Major Charles Preston were immediately dispatched to hold the fort. Another 50 Canadian militia were raised in Montreal on May 19, and were also sent to the fort. Lanctot, p. 44 When
Moses Hazen Moses Hazen (June 1, 1733 – February 5, 1803) was a Brigadier general (United States), brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Born in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, he saw action in the Fren ...
, the messenger bearing news of Arnold's raid, reached
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 notified British Governor and General Guy Carleton of the raid, Carleton immediately dispatched additional troops from there and
Trois-Rivières Trois-Rivières (, ) is a city in the Mauricie administrative region of Quebec, Canada, at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice River, Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence River, Saint Lawrence rivers, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River ac ...

Trois-Rivières
to St. Jean. Carleton himself went to Montreal on May 26 to oversee arrangements for the defense of the province, which he decided to concentrate on St. Jean, as it was the most likely invasion route. Lanctot, pp. 50,53
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, p. 342
By the time the Americans arrived at Île-aux-Noix, Fort St. Jean was defended by about 750 men under the command of Major Charles Preston. The majority of these were regular troops from the
7th 7 (seven) is the natural number following 6 and preceding 8. It is the only prime number preceding a cube (algebra), cube, and is often considered lucky in Western culture, and is often seen as Symbolism of the Number 7, highly symbolic. It is ...
and 26th Regiments of Foot and the Royal Artillery. There were 90 locally raised militia, and 20 members of Colonel Allen Maclean's Royal Highland Emigrants, men who were veterans of the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
. A detachment of Indians (probably Caughnawaga from a nearby village) patrolled outside the fort under the direction of Claude de Lorimier and Gilbert Tice. The Richelieu River was patrolled by an armed schooner, , under the command of Lieutenant William Hunter, with other boats under construction.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, pp. 35–36
The fort itself, sited on the west bank of the Richelieu River, consisted of two earthen redoubts about apart, surrounded by a ditch wide and deep that was lined with
chevaux de frise The ''cheval de frise'' (plural: ''chevaux de frise'' , "Frisian horses") is a defensive obstacle, which existed in a number of forms and were employed in various applications. These included underwater constructions used to prevent the passa ...

chevaux de frise
. The southern redoubt was roughly 250 by 200 feet (80 by 65 metres), and it contained 6 buildings, including a bake house, the fort's magazine, and storage houses. The northern redoubt was slightly larger, enclosing a two-storey stone house that was used as a barracks. The defenders had cleared brush for several hundred yards around the fort to ensure a clear field of fire. They had put up a wooden palisade to the west of the redoubts, and dug a trench connecting the two redoubts, for ease of communications. The eastern side of the fort faced the river, where there was a shipyard and anchorage for ''Royal Savage''.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 106


First approach


Skirmish with Indians

On September 6, Generals Schuyler and Montgomery led a force of men in
bateaux A bateau or batteau is a shallow-draft Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sail), degree of curvature in a sail * Air draft, distance from ...

bateaux
to a landing point about upriver from Fort St. Jean. Schuyler remained with the boats while Montgomery led some men into the swampy lands above the fort. There they were surprised by about 100 Indians led by Tice and Lorimier. In the ensuing skirmish, the Americans suffered 8 dead and 9 wounded, while the Indians suffered 4 dead and 5 wounded, with Tice among the wounded.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 39
The American troops, which were relatively untried militia forces, retreated to the boats, where they erected a breastwork for protection. The fort's defenders, seeing this, fired their cannon at the breastwork, prompting the Americans to retreat about upriver, where they set up a second breastwork and camped for the night. The Indians, resentful that neither the British forces in the fort nor the
habitant Habitants () were French settlers and the inhabitants of French origin who farmed the land along the two shores of the St. Lawrence River The Saint Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrenc ...
s had come to their support in the engagement, returned to their homes.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 98
At this camp, Schuyler was visited by a local man, believed by some historians to be Moses Hazen.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
,
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
,
Morrissey Steven Patrick Morrissey (; born 22 May 1959), known professionally as Morrissey, is an English singer, songwriter, and author. He came to prominence as the frontman of Rock music, rock band the Smiths, who were active from 1982 to 1987. Si ...
, and
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
all make this claim. Stanley cites Smith, p. 612, as providing a reliable conclusion that the man was Hazen.
Hazen, a Massachusetts-born retired officer who lived near the fort, painted a bleak portrait of the American situation. He said that the fort was defended by the entire 26th regiment and 100 Indians, that it was well-stocked and ready for a siege. He also said that the
habitant Habitants () were French settlers and the inhabitants of French origin who farmed the land along the two shores of the St. Lawrence River The Saint Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrenc ...
s, while friendly to the American cause, were unlikely to help the Americans unless the prospects for victory looked good. Schuyler held a war council on September 7, in which the command decided to retreat back to Île-aux-Noix.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 99
However, on September 8, reinforcements arrived: another 800 men including Connecticut militia under
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 ...
and New Yorkers with artillery, joined them.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, p. 89
Heartened by this arrival, they decided instead to proceed with a nighttime attempt on the fort. Schuyler, whose illness was getting more severe (he was so ill "as not to be able to hold the pen"), turned command of the army over to Montgomery.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 100
Reports of this first contact between opposing forces outside St. Jean were often wildly exaggerated, with many local reports claiming it as some kind of victory. The ''Quebec Gazette'', for example, reported that 60 Indians had driven off 1,500 Americans, killing 30 and wounding 40.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, p. 330
Following this news, General Carleton issued orders for all of the nearby parishes to call up ten percent of their militia. Officers of the militia reported to Montreal, but many militia men stayed home. By September 7, a troop of about 120 men was raised, which was sent to Fort St. Jean. Lanctot, p. 64


Propaganda and recruiting

On September 8, Schuyler sent
Ethan Allen Ethan Allen ( – February 12, 1789) was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, lay theologian, American Revolutionary War Patriot (American Revolution), patriot, and politician. He is best known as one of the founde ...
(acting as a volunteer since he had been deposed as head of the
Green Mountain Boys The Green Mountain Boys were a militia organization first established in 1770 in the territory between the British provinces of New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, locat ...
by
Seth Warner Seth Warner (17 May 1743 – 26 December 1784) was a American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War officer from Vermont who rose to rank of Continental colonel and was often given the duties of a brigade commander. He is best known for his leader ...
) and John Brown to circulate a proclamation announcing the Americans' arrival, and their desire to free the Canadians from the bondage of British rule. Allen and Brown traveled through the parishes between St. Jean and Montreal, where they were well-received, and even provided with local guards. James Livingston, a local grain merchant (and a relative of Montgomery's wife), began raising a local militia near Chambly, eventually gathering nearly 300 men. Lanctot, p. 65 Allen also visited the village of the Caughnawaga, from whom he received assurances of their neutrality. The Caughnawaga had been the subject of a propaganda war, with
Guy Johnson Guy Johnson ( 1740 – 5 March 1788) was an Irish military officer and diplomat. He served on the side of the Kingdom of Great Britain, British during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War, having migrated to the Province of New Y ...
, the British Indian agent, trying to convince them (as well as other tribes of the
Iroquois Confederacy The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous pe ...
) to take up arms against the Americans. However, Schuyler had successfully negotiated an agreement in August with most of the Iroquois to remain neutral. Word of this agreement reached the Caughnawaga on September 10; when Carleton and Johnson learned of it, Johnson sent
Daniel Claus Christian Daniel Claus (1727–1787) was a Deputy Agent in the British Indian Department The Indian Department was established in 1755 to oversee relations between the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The U ...
and
Joseph Brant Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant (March 1743 – November 24, 1807) was a MohawkMohawk may refer to: Related to Native Americans *Mohawk people, an indigenous people of North America (Canada and New York) *Mohawk language, the language spo ...

Joseph Brant
in an attempt to change the minds of the Caughnawaga; their entreaties were refused.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, pp. 357–359


Second approach

On the night of September 10, Montgomery led 1000 men out again, returning to the first landing site by boat. In the confusion of the darkness and the swamp, some of the troops were separated from the rest. When they encountered one another again, there was panic, as the each mistook the other for the enemy. After just 30 minutes in the swamp, they returned to the landing.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, pp. 100–101
Montgomery, who had stayed with the boats, sent the troops out again. This time, the vanguard encountered a few Indians and habitants, and again panicked. Two of the "enemy" were killed, but the troops again made a disorderly retreat to the landing, which their commander, Colonel
Rudolphus Ritzema Colonel Rudolphus Ritzema (1739–1803) was an American officer in the New York Line during the American Revolutionary War, and later changed sides, serving as a lieutenant colonel in a British regiment. He was born to the Reverend Johannes Rit ...
, was apparently unable to stop.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 101
While the command staff met to discuss the next move, word came in that the British warship ''Royal Savage'' was approaching. This started a disorganized retreat up the river back to Île-aux-Noix, in which the command staff was nearly left behind. A third attempt was planned for September 13; bad weather delayed attempts until September 16. However, General Schuyler was by this time so ill that he thought it necessary to withdraw to Ticonderoga. He left that day, turning full command of the invasion over to Montgomery. Schuyler was not the only one falling ill; the bad weather, and the swampy, malaria-infested terrain of Île-aux-Noix was also taking a toll on the troops, as more of them became ill as well.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, p. 335
The bad news was tempered by good; an additional 250 troops, in the form of a company of Green Mountain Boys under Seth Warner, and another company of
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the nor ...
men under Colonel
Timothy Bedel Timothy Bedel (1737 – February 24, 1787) was a soldier and local leader prominent in the early history of New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts ...
, arrived at Île-aux-Noix.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, p. 93


Siege begins

On September 17, Montgomery's army disembarked from their makeshift fleet just south of St. Jean, and sent out John Brown with a detachment to block the road going north from the fort to
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
. A small flotilla of armed boats guarded the river against the possibility of ''Royal Savage'' attacking the army as it landed. Brown and his men made their first interdiction that day, capturing a wagon-train of supplies destined for the fort. Preston, seeing that this had happened, sent out a
sortie A sortie (from the French word meaning ''exit'' or from Latin root ''surgere'' meaning to "rise up") is a deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining supp ...

sortie
to recover the goods. Brown's men, who had had time to hide the supplies in the woods, retreated until the sounds of the conflict reached the main body of the army. Montgomery, along with Bedel and his company, rushed to Brown's aid, and succeeded in driving the British back into the fort without recovering the supplies.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, pp. 94–95
During this encounter, Moses Hazen was first captured and questioned by Brown, and then arrested again by the British, and brought into the fort. That night, Hazen and Lorimier, the Indian agent, sneaked out of the fort and went to Montreal, to report the situation to Carleton. Montgomery began entrenching his troops around the fort on September 18, and constructing a mortar battery south of the fort.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, p. 96
He ordered Brown to establish a position at La Prairie, one of the sites where there was a crossing of the
Saint Lawrence River The St. Lawrence River is a large river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its c ...
to Montreal. Ethan Allen went with a small company of Americans to collect
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 that Livingston had been recruiting, and take them to monitor
Longueuil Longueuil () is a city in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is the seat of the Montérégie, Montérégie administrative region and the central city of the urban agglomeration of Longueuil. It sits on the South Shore (Montreal), south shore of t ...
, the other major crossing point. Livingston had established a base at Point-Olivier, below
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 ...

Fort Chambly
, another aging fort at the base of some rapids in the Richelieu River, and was urging his compatriots to join him there. Some
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 ...
s attempted to dissuade others from joining with Livingston; Livingston's supporters sometimes violently opposed attempts by Loyalists to organize, and Carleton did nothing at the time to assist the Loyalists outside the city.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 42
Allen, who was already renowned for his bravado in the action at Fort Ticonderoga, decided, when he reached Longueuil on September 24, to attempt the capture of Montreal. In the
Battle of Longue-Pointe The Battle of Longue-Pointe was an attempt by Ethan Allen and a small force of Thirteen Colonies, American and Quebec militia to capture Montreal from British forces on September 25, 1775, early in the American Revolutionary War. Allen, who had b ...
, this effort failed on the next day, with Allen and a number of men captured by the British. Lanctot, pp. 77–78 The alarm raised by Allen's proximity to Montreal resulted in the mustering of about 1,200 men from rural districts outside Montreal. Carleton failed to capitalize on this upwelling of Loyalist support by using them for a relief expedition against the besieging Americans. After several weeks of inaction by Carleton, the rural men drifted away, called by the demands of home and harvest. (Carleton did take advantage of the moment to order the arrest of Thomas Walker, a Montreal merchant who was openly pro-American and had been reporting to the Americans.)
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, pp. 48–49
The conditions for the Americans constructing the siege works were difficult. The ground was swampy, and the trenches quickly became filled knee-deep in water. Montgomery described his army as "half-drowned rats crawling through a swamp".
Wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...
, p. 39
To make matters even worse, food and ammunition supplies were running out, and the British showed no sign of giving in despite the American bombardment. Disease also worked to reduce the effectiveness of the Americans; by mid-October, more than 900 men had been sent back to Ticonderoga due to illness.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 112
In the early days of the siege, the fort's defenders took advantage of the land they had cleared around the fort to make life as difficult as possible for the besiegers erecting batteries. Major Preston wrote in his journal on September 23 that "a deserter ells us wherethe enemy are erecting their battery and we distress them as much as we can with shells."
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 51
Until large guns arrived from Ticonderoga, the fort's defenders enjoyed a significant advantage in firepower.


Large cannon arrive

On October 6, a cannon that was dubbed the "Old Sow" arrived from Ticonderoga. Put in position the next day, it started lobbing shells at the fort. Montgomery then began planning the placement of a second battery. While he first wanted to place one to the northwest of the fort, his staff convinced him instead to place on the eastern shore of the Richelieu, where it would command the shipyard and ''Royal Savage''.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, pp. 118–119
This battery, whose construction was complicated by an armed row galley sent from the fort to oppose the works, was completed on October 13, and opened fire the next day. One day after that, ''Royal Savage'' lay in ruins before the fort. Its commander had, in anticipation of her destruction, ordered her to be anchored where her supplies and armaments might be recovered.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, pp. 120–121


Fort Chambly taken

James Livingston had advanced to Montgomery the idea of taking Fort Chambly, near where his militia was encamped. One of Livingston's captains, Jeremy Duggan, had, on September 13, floated two nine-pound guns past St. Jean, and these guns were put to use to that end. Chambly, which was garrisoned by only 82 men, mostly from the
7th Foot The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in continuous existence for 283 years. It was known as the 7th Regiment of Foot until the Childers Reforms of 1881. The regiment served in many wars ...
, was surrendered on October 18 by its commander, Major Joseph Stopford, after two days of bombardment. Most seriously, Stopford failed to destroy supplies that were vitally useful to the Americans, primarily gunpowder, but also winter provisions.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 55
Six tons of powder, 6,500 musket cartridges, 125 muskets, 80 barrels of flour and 272 barrels of foodstuff were captured. Timothy Bedel negotiated a cease-fire with Major Preston so that the prisoners captured at Chambly could be floated up the river past St. Jean.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 121
The loss of Chambly had a dispiriting effect at St. Jean; some of the militia wanted to surrender, but Preston would not allow it.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, pp. 56–57
Following Chambly's capitulation, Montgomery renewed his intention to construct a battery northwest of St. Jean. This time, his staff raised no objections, and by the end of October guns that were emplaced there opened fire on the fort.
Gabriel In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Ab ...
, p. 123


Carleton tries to help

In Montreal, Carleton was finally prodded to move. Under constant criticism for failure to act sooner, and mistrustful of his militia forces, he developed a plan of attack. He sent word to Colonel Allan Maclean at Quebec to bring more of his Royal Highland Emigrants and some militia forces to Sorel, from where they would move up the Richelieu toward St. Jean, while Carleton would lead a force across the Saint Lawrence at Longueuil.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 58
Maclean raised a force of about 180 Emigrants, and a number of militia. By the time he reached Sorel on October 14, he had raised, in addition to the Emigrants, about 400 militia men, sometimes using threatening tactics to gain recruits.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, pp. 450–451
His and Carleton's hopes were dashed on October 30, when Carleton's attempted landing at Longueuil of a force numbering about 1,000 (mostly militia, with some Emigrants and Indian support) was repulsed by the Americans. A few of his boats were landed, but most were driven off by Seth Warner's use of field artillery that had been captured at Chambly.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, pp. 58–59
Maclean attempted to press forward, but his militia forces began to desert him, and the forces under Brown and Livingston were growing in number. He retreated back to Sorel, and made his way back to Quebec.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 60


Surrender

In late October, the American troop strength surged again with the arrival of 500 men from New York and Connecticut, including Brigadier 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 ...
. This news, combined with the new battery trained on the fort, news of the failed relief expedition, and dwindling supplies, made the situation in the fort quite grim. On November 1, Montgomery sent a truce flag, carried by a prisoner captured during Carleton's aborted relief attempt, into the fort. The man delivered a letter, in which Montgomery, pointing out that relief was unlikely to come, offered to negotiate a surrender.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, p. 459
Preston, not entirely trusting the man's report, sent out one of his captains to confer with Montgomery. The counteroffer, which Montgomery rejected, owing to the lateness of the season, was to hold a truce for four days, after which the garrison would surrender if no relief came. Montgomery let the captain examine another prisoner from Carleton's expedition, who confirmed what the first one had reported. Montgomery then repeated his demand for an immediate surrender, terms for which were drawn up the next day.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, p. 460
Preston's troops marched out of the fort and surrendered their weapons on November 3, with the regulars in full dress uniform.
Smith Smith may refer to: * Metalsmith, or simply smith, a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals People * Smith (surname), a family name originating in England, Scotland and Ireland. ** List of people with surname Smith * Sm ...
, pp. 460–465
He surrendered 536 officers and soldiers, 79
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 ...
, and eight English volunteers. Lanctot, p. 91 The Americans were able to raise ''Royal Savage'' and return her to service.


Aftermath

Following the news of St. Jean's surrender, Carleton immediately began preparing to leave Montreal. He left Montreal on November 11, two days before American troops entered the city without opposition. Narrowly escaping capture when his fleet was forced to surrender after being threatened by batteries at Sorel, he made his way to Quebec to prepare that city's defenses.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, pp. 142–144
Casualties on both sides during the siege were relatively light, but the Continental Army suffered a significant reduction in force due to illness throughout the siege. Furthermore, the long siege meant that the Continental Army had to move on Quebec City with winter setting in, and with many
enlistment Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job (volunteer military, volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription). Some nations (e.g., Mexico) require a specific ...
s nearing expiration at year's end.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 65
Richard Montgomery was promoted to Major General on December 9, 1775, as a result of his successful capture of Saint Jean and Montreal. He never found out; the news did not reach the American camp outside Quebec before he died in the December 31 Battle of Quebec.
Bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
, p. 220
In 1776, the British reoccupied the fort following the Continental Army's abandonment of it during its retreat to Fort Ticonderoga.
Stanley Stanley may refer to: People * Stanley (name) Stanley is a toponymic surname dating from the 11/12th century contraction of ''Stan'' (a form of "Stone") and ''wikt:leigh, Leigh'' (meadow), later also being used as a masculine given name. Pe ...
, p. 132


Legacy

The British (and then Canadian) military occupied the Fort Saint-Jean site until 1995, using it since 1952 as the campus of the Royal Military College, which still occupies part of the site. The site now includes a museum devoted to the 350-year military history of Fort Saint-Jean. Musée Fort St-Jean Siege of Fort St. Jean 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. "Constructed in 1743 by M. de Léry under orders from Governor la Galissonnière. This post was for all the military expeditions towards
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous ...

Lake Champlain
. In 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 succumbed to a 45 day siege by the American troops commanded by
General Montgomery Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air ...
."


Sources


References

* * * * * * * * * *


External links


Musée Fort St-Jean virtual exhibition
(most Flash, and in French)
Town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

Parks Canada – Fort Chambly National Historic Site



RMC History of Fort Saint Jean
{{good article Fort St. Jean History of Montérégie 1775 in the Province of Quebec (1763–1791) Conflicts in 1775 Sieges of the American Revolutionary War, Fort St. Jean Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Battles involving the Iroquois, Fort St. Jean Battles of the Canadian campaign, Fort St. Jean Battles of the American Revolutionary War in Canada, Fort St. Jean