Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1775.

situation of St. John's, and of the vessel preparing to enter lake Champlain, determined them to return to the Isle Aux Noix, there to wait for their remaining troops and artillery; and, in the mean time, to secure the entrance of the lakes.

The Isle Aux Noix lies at the junction of the Sorel with lake Champlain; and to prevent the armed vessels at St. John's from entering the latter, a boom was drawn across the channel, which is narrow at that place.

General Schuyler, who had been for some time much indisposed, became now so excessively ill, as to be unable to leave his bed, and the command devolved on Montgomery.

Mr. Livingston, a gentleman residing on the river Chamblie, who was very strongly attached to the American cause, and bad rendered it great service, pressed so earnestly for a detachment from the army to cut off the communication between St. John's and La Prairie, that a party was ordered out for that service. But it was seized with one of those panics to which raw troops are peculiarly liable, and without having seen any real danger, they fled precipitately back to camp.

Livingston, in the mean time, counting on the aid for which he had applied, had assembled about three hundred Canadian volunteers, and grew extremely apprehensive of being left exposed to the whole force of the enemy.

Montgomery flattered himself, that his troops, ashamed of Şege of St.

John's. their late misconduct, were determined to retrieve their repu

tation;

1775.

CHAP. V. tation; and, as the artillery and expected reinforcements had

now arrived, he again embarked his army, consisting of not quite two thousand men, on the Sorel, and proceeded to invest fort St. John's.

This place was garrisoned by five or six hundred regulars, with about two hundred Canadian militia, and was well provided with artillery and military stores. The army of Canada, as well as the other armies of the United Colonies, was almost entirely without powder, and of consequence the siege made slow

progress. Their necessities in this respect were fortunately reCapture of fort lieved by the capture of fort Chamblie, which, being supposed

to be covered by fort St. John's, was not in a defensible condition. This port was suddenly attacked, and carried by a detachment, consisting of about fifty united colonists, under Major Brown, and three hundred Canadians, under Major Livingston. The garrison became prisoners of war, and some pieces of artillery were taken; but the most valuable acquisition made at this place was about one hundred and twenty barrels of gunpowder, which enabled the American General to proceed with vigor against St. John's. Though the only person in his camp possessing any military experience, he was over-ruled in his plans by his field officers; and with extreme mortification declared in one of his letters to General Schuyler, that the place could not be taken till it should surrender for want of provisions; and that if he did not fear the public service might suffer, he would not stay one hour longer at the head of troops whose operations he could not direct. The garrison defended themselves with resolution, and indulged for some time the hope of being relieved

Colonel

CHAP. V.

1775

Colonel M'Lean, a veteran officer, had exerted himself to raise a Scotch regiment, under the title of Royal Highland Emigrants, to be composed of the natives of that country, who had lately arrived in America, and who, in consequence of the troubles had not obtained settlements. With these and a few hundred Canadians the Colonel was posted near the junction of the Sorel with the St. Lawrence. General Carleton was at Montreal, where, with great difficulty, he had collected about a thousand men, chiefly Canadians. Among them were some regulars and volunteers, and several British officers. At the head of these troops he hoped to effect a junction with M‘Lean, after which he designed to march with his whole force against Montgomery, and endeavour to raise the siege; but on attempting to cross over from Montreal, he was encountered, and en- Defeat of Genetirely defeated at Longuid by a detachment of American troops Longuid. under Colonel Warner. Another party advanced on M‘Lean, who, being entirely abandoned by his Canadians, so soon as they were informed of the defeat of the Governor, and having also received information that Arnold was approaching Point Levy precipitately retreated to Quebec. The Americans occupied the post he had abandoned, and immediately erected batteries on a point of land at the junction of the Sorel with the St. Lawrence, where they also constructed several armed rafts and floating batteries to prevent Carleton with the vessels at Montreal from escaping down the river.

ral Carleton at

tula es.

Montgomery, who, notwithstanding the difficulties he expe- St. John's capirienced from his troops, was pressing the siege of St. John's with great vigour, advanced his works very near the fort, when the account of the success at Longuid reached him. On receipt

of

1775.

CHAP. v; of this intelligence he permitted one of the prisoners to go into

the fort, with whom he sent in a flag of truce, and a letter to Major Preston, the commanding officer, requiring him to surrender, and thereby prevent the further effusion of blood, which much necessarily be occasioned by a fruitless and obstinate resistance. All hopes of relief having now vanished, and having endeavoured in vain to obtain some delay, the garrison capitulated, on being allowed, in consideration of their brave defence of the place, the honours of war.

Scarcely was this first success obtained, when the fatal consequences of short enlistments began to discover themselves. The time of service for which the troops had engaged being now near expiring, great difficulty was experienced in prevailing on them to proceed farther; and the General was under the necessity of stipulating explicitly, that all who wished it should be discharged at Montreal, before he could induce them even to march against that place. Having effected this compromise he proceeded against Montreal, while his floating batteries, under Colonel Easton, advanced up the St. Lawrence, and not only effectually prevented the armed vessels of the enemy from making the escape they had projected to Quebec, but drove them from their anchors still higher up the river.

Montreal sursenders,

Montreal was not in a condition to be defended. Montgomery, after engaging to allow the Canadians their own laws, the free exercise of their religion, and the privilege of governing themselves, took peaceable possession of the town, and Governor Carleton retired to his flotilla. While preparations were making to attack the vessels with the floating batteries under

Colonel

[ocr errors]

CHAP. V.

1775

Colonel Easton, aided by some boats from Montreal, carrying a few field pieces, and their destruction was considered as certain, the Governor was conveyed in a boat with muffled oars down the river in a dark night, and made his escape to Quebec. The fleet soon afterwards surrendered, and the General prepared with the utmost expedition to proceed with the few troops who were willing to follow him to the capital of Canada.

At Montreal he found, to his extreme mortification, that his promise to discharge them was claimed by many of his soldiers. He offered a suit of the clothes taken with that town to those who would engage to serve only till the 15th day of April, but they could not be, generally, prevailed on to re-enlist. These untoward circumstances only stimulated their gallant leader to more vigorous exertions. In a letter to General Schuyler, of the 17th November, he says, “ I have had great difficulties about the troops. I am afraid

many

of them will go home; however, depending on my good fortune, I hope to keep enough to give the final blow to ministerial politics in this province; and I hope effectual measures will be taken to prevent their laying hold of it again.”

It was necessary to leave a sufficient number of his small corps at Montreal, St. John's, and Chamblie, to garrison those places, keep open the communication between Quebec and the United Colonies, preserve the dependence of the Canadians, overawe the Indians, and hold in check the garrisons above him at Detroit and Niagara. When these essential objects were provided for with the utmost possible economy of men, they yet formed such deductions from his force, as to leave but little more than three hundred men to follow thcir General in the enterprize against Quebec.

General

VOL. II.

SS

« ZurückWeiter »