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quantity of shot and small shells, about 800 stand of small-arms, and some naval stores ; but the powder and provisions were nearly exhausted.
During the siege of Fort St. John, Fort Chamblée had been taken, which furnished General Montgomery with a plentiful supply of provisions, of which he stood greatly in need. General Carleton, who was on his way from Montreal to relieve the garrison, had been defeated, and Colonel Allen, who had made an attack on Montreal, was overcome and taken prisoner.
On the fall of Fort St. John, General Montgomery advanced against Montreal, which was in no condition to resist him. Governor Carleton, sensible of his inability to defend the town, quitted it, and next day General Montgomery entered the place. A body of provincials, under Colonel Eaton, took post at the mouth of the Sorel, and by means of an armed vessel and floating batteries, commanded the navigation of the St. Lawrence. The British force, which had retreated down the river from Montreal, consisting only of about 120 soldiers, with several officers, under General Prescott, and accompanied by Governor Carleton, in eleven vessels, seeing it impracticable to force the passage, surrendered by capitulation. The vessels contained a considerable quantity of provisions, arms, and ammunition, which furnished a seasonable supply to the Americans. About midnight of the day before the capitulation, Governor Carleton escaped down the river in a boat with muffled oars, and safely reached Quebec.
It was now the 19th of November, and the severe weather which had set in was very unfavorable to military operations. General Montgomery, a young man of superior talents and high spirit, found himself in extremely unpleasant circumstances. He was at the head of a body of armed men, many of whom were not deficient in personal courage, but all of them were strangers to military subordination. The term of service for which numbers of them were engaged was near an end; and already weary of the hardships of war, they clamorously demanded a discharge. Nothing but devotion to his country could have made him continue in the irksome command. Hitherto his career had been successful, and he was ambitious of closing the campaign by some brilliant achievement which might at once elevate the spirits of the Americans and humble the pride of the British ministry. With these views, even at that rigorous season of the year, he hastened toward Quebec, although he found it necessary to weaken his little army, which had never exceeded 2,000 men, by discharging such of his followers as had become weary of the service.
About the middle of September a detachment of 1,100 men, under Colonel Arnold, was sent from the camp in the vicinity of Boston, with orders to proceed across the country against Quebec, by a route which had not been explored, and was little known. The party embarked at Newbury, steered for the Kennebec, and ascended that river. But their progress was impeded by rapids, by an almost impassable wilderness, by bad weather, and by want of provisions. They separated into several divisions. After encountering many difficulties, the last division, under Colonel Enos, was unable to proceed; and returned to the camp in the vicinity of Boston. But the other divisions, under Arnold, pressed forward amid incredible hardships and privations, and triumphed over obstacles nearly insuperable. For a month they toiled through a rough, barren, and uninhabited wilderness, without seeing a human habitation, or the face of an individual, except those of their own party, and with very scanty provisions. At length, on the 9th of November, Arnold, with his force much diminished, arrived at Point Levi opposite Quebec.
His appearance was not unexpected; for the lieutenant governor had beer, for some time apprized of his march. In the early part of his progress, Arnold had met an Indian, to whom, although a stranger, he had imprudently entrusted
a letter to General Schuyler, under cover to a friend in Quebec. The Indian, instead of faithfully delivering the letter according to the directions which he had received, carried it to the lieutenant governor, who, in order to prevent the Americans from passing the river, immediately removed all the canoes from Point Levi, and began to put the city in a posture of defence, which before might easily have been surprised. On discovering the arrival of Arnold at Point Levi, the British commander stationed two vessels of war in the river to guard the passage; and, at that interesting crisis, Colonel M‘Lean, who had retreated before Montgomery, arrived from the Sorel, with about 170 newly-raised troops, to assist in the defence of the place.
FIG. 67.- Arnold crossing the River. Notwithstanding all the vigilance of the British, on the night of the 14th of November Arnold crossed the river with 500 men, in thirty-five canoes, and landed unperceived near the place where the brave and enterprising Wolfe had landed about sixteen years before, thence named Wolfe's Cove. He had provi ded scaling ladders, but was unable to carry them over the river with his troops, and consequently was not in a condition to make an immediate attempt on the town. Instead, however, of concealing himself till he could bring forward his scaling ladders, and then make a sudden and unexpected attack by night, he marched part of his troops in military parade in sight of the garrison, and so put the British fully on their guard. He wished to summon them to surrender, but they fired on his flag of truce, and refused to hold any intercourse with him. He, therefore, on the 19th of the month, turned his back on Quebec, and marched to Point aux Trembles, about twenty miles above the city, where General Montgomery, with the force under his command, joined him on the first of December.
Soon after Arnold's retreat, Governor Carleton arrived in Quebec, and made every exertion to put the place in a state of defence. Having brought the scaling ladders across the river, General Montgomery, with the whole of the Amer
ican force, appeared before Quebec on the 5th of December. The garrison was then more numerous than the army which came to take the place. So greatly was the American force reduced, that it scarcely amounted to 1,000 men ; while General Carleton had about 1,500 soldiers, militia, seamen, and volunteers, under his command.
General Montgomery sent a flag of truce to summon the garrison to surrender; but, contrary to usage among civilized nations, it was fired upon, as that of Ar
FIG. 69.-- British Soldiers firing at the Flag of Truce. nold had been. He therefore, in the depth of a Canadian winter, and in the most intense cold, erected batteries ; but his artillery was too light to make any impression on the fortifications. He therefore determined to storm the town ; and the assault was made on the morning of the 31st of December.
About four o'clock in the morning, in the midst of a violent storm of snow, two feints and two real attacks were simultaneously made. The real attacks were conducted by Montgomery and Arnold. Montgomery, advancing at the head of about 200 men, fell by the first discharge of grape-shot from the works. Sev. eral of his best officers being killed, his division retreated. Arnold, at the head of about 300 men, in a different quarter, maintained a fierce and obstinate con flict for some time; but was at last wounded and repulsed. The death of Montgomery was the subject of much regret, as he had been universally loved and esteemed. On assembling after the assault, the provincials could not muster many more than 400 effective men, who chose Arnold their commander ; and, in the hope of receiving reinforcements, resolved to remain in the vicinity of Quebec.
Thus perished this gallant Irishman, a martyr to his love for liberty, fighting bravely in defence of his adopted country.
In front of the church of St. Paul's, in Broadway, at the corner of Fulton street, New York, may be seen a very plain monument with the following inscription :
- This monument is erected by order of congress, 25th January, 1776, 10 transmit to posterity a grateful remembrance of the patriotism, conduct, enterprise, and perseverance of Major-General RICHARD MONTGOMERY, who, after a series of successes, amid the most discouraging difficulties, fell in the attack on Quebec, 31st December, 1775, aged 37 years.
«The STATE OF NEw York caused the remains of Major-General Richard Montgomery to be conveyed from Quebec and deposited beneath this monument, the 8th day of July, 1818."
Sir Guy Carleton acquired much honor by the humanity with which he treat