Richard Montgomery


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Richard MontgomeryMontgomery, RICHARD, military officer; born in Swords County, Dublin, Ireland, December 2, 1736; was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and entered the army at the age of eighteen. Fighting under Wolfe at the siege of Louisburg (1756), he won the approval of that commander. After its surrender his regiment formed a part of Amherst's force, sent to reduce the French forts on Lake Champlain, in 1759. Montgomery became adjutant of his regiment in 1760, and was under Colonel Haviland in his march upon Montreal when that city was surrendered. In 1762, Montgomery was promoted to captain, and served in the campaign against Havana in the same year. After that he resided in this country awhile, but revisited England. In 1772 he sold his commission and came to America, and the following year he bought an estate at Rhinebeck, on the Hudson, and married a daughter of R. R. Livingston. He was chosen representative in the Colonial Assembly, and was a member of the Provincial Convention in 1775. In June following he was appointed by the Continental Congress one of the eight brigadier - generals for the Continental army. Appointed second in command, under Schuyler, in the Northern Department, he became acting commander-in-chief because of his superior's protracted illness. He entered Canada early in September, with a considerable army, captured St. John, on the Sorel or Richelieu River, November 3, took Montreal on the 13th, and pushed on towards Quebec, and stood before its walls with some troops under Benedict Arnold, December 4. On the 9th the Continental Congress made him a major-general. He invested Quebec and continued the siege until December 31, when he attempted to take the city by storm. In that effort he was slain by Richard Montgomery Monumentgrape-shot from a masked battery, December 31, 1775. His death was regarded as a great public calamity, and on the floor of the British Parliament he was eulogized by Burke, Chatham, and Barre. Even Lord North spoke of him as "brave, humane, and generous;" but added, "still he was only a brave, humane, and generous rebel; curse on his virtues, they've undone his country." To this remark Fox retorted: " The term 'rebel' is no certain mark of disgrace. All the great assertors of liberty, the saviors of their country, the benefactors of mankind in all ages, have been called 'rebels.' We owe the constitution which enables us to sit in this House to a rebellion." Montgomery was buried at Quebec. In 1818 his remains were removed to the city of New York, at the expense of the State, and they were deposited near the monument which the United States government had erected to his memory in the front of St. Paul's Church, New York.



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