Americans Take Montreal

The first American incursion into the Province of Quebec took place in the morning of 17 May 1775, when about 50 men under the command of Colonel Benedict Arnold captured a 15-men British garrison near the town of Saint-jean-sur-Richelieu.

However, the Americans were unprepared for the conquest of the province, so the retreated. In late August, the American Army launched a large-scale invasion and after nine weeks of siege, on 3 November 1775, the American forces moved up Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River, and seized Fort Saint-Jean, near Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, gateway to Montreal and to the whole province of Quebec.

Meanwhile, governor Carleton of Quebec had a very small force in Montreal, which consisted only of 35 regulars. His fears that the colony’s second largest city at the moment would come under attack proved justified when on the evening of 24 September 1775 his regulars fought off the very first assault by about 100 American revolutionaries. After this brief battle, the militia was mobilized in number of 2000 men.

But most of the assembled militiamen were soon on their way home to attend to the autumn harvest. So when after Fort Saint-Jean, and a small stronghold of Fort Chambly had fallen, the Americans were free to advance.

On 13 November 1775, Carleton ordered that Montreal be evacuated. Intent on protecting the capital of Quebec, he moved his small force to Quebec City. Within hours, two thousand Americans, led by General Montgomery entered through the Recollet Gate.

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