The New International Encyclopædia/Montgomery, Richard

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MONTGOMERY, Richard (1736-75). An American soldier, prominent in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. He was born near Feltrim, Ireland, and was educated at Saint Andrew's College and Trinity College, Dublin. In 1754 he obtained a commission as ensign in the British Army, came to America with his regiment in 1757, during the French and Indian War, and displayed personal courage and military sagacity at the siege of Louisburg and in various actions. In 1760 he was made adjutant of his regiment, and in 1762 was promoted to be captain. After the conquest of Canada he took part in the expedition against Havana and Martinique, and in 1765, after being stationed in New York for two years, returned to England, where he remained until 1772, when, selling his commission, he emigrated to New York. In 1775 he represented Dutchess County in the first Provincial Convention, and in June was appointed by Congress brigadier-general in the Continental Army. He was second in command of the expedition sent under General Philip Schuyler against Canada, but owing to the illness of Schuyler, became the actual leader in October. He at once pressed forward, and before the end of November captured successively Chambly, Saint Johns, and Montreal. In the next month he joined Benedict Arnold before Quebec. On December 9th Montgomery was promoted to be major-general. On December 31st, shortly after midnight, the assault upon the town was attempted. Montgomery scaled the Cape Diamond bastion and, pressing forward at the head of his troops, was instantly killed by the first and only volley. The undisciplined colonial troops were then overwhelmed and a precipitate retreat ensued. Montgomery's conduct and character were eulogized in Parliament by Burke, Chatham, and even Lord North; Congress recognized his services by resolutions of respect, and by its order a monument was erected in his honor in front of Saint Paul's Church, New York City, where in 1818 his remains were interred with impressive ceremonies. Consult Armstrong, Life of Richard Montgomery (Boston, 1834), in Sparks's “American Biography.”