Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. I., Chapter IX.







American Army at Point Levi. – Alarm of the Canadians. – Storm on the St. Lawrence. – Passage of the Army. – Arnold’s Troops on the Plains of Abraham. – Expected Aid from within. – Arnold’s formal Summons to surrender. – Junction of Montgomery and Arnold. – Ineffectual Efforts against the Town. – Mutiny in the Camp. – Plan of Assault. – Montgomery’s Approach to Cape Diamond. – Opposing Battery. – His Charge upon the Battery. – His Death. – Arnold’s Operations. – Wounded. – Assailants led by Morgan. – Severe Fight. – Capture of Dearborn. – Loss of the Americans at Quebec. – Recovery and Burial of Montgomery’s Body. – His Life and Services. – Courtesy of Carleton. – Eminent Officers at Quebec. – Promotion of Arnold. – Blockade of Quebec. – Honor to the Memory of Montgomery. – Small-pox in the Army. – Preparations to storm Quebec. – Arrival and Death of General Thomas. – Temperance Cross. – French Canadian Children. – Falls of Montmorenci. – Island of Orleans. – Point Levi. – Quebec in the Distance. – Religious Edifices in Quebec. – The Citadel and the Walls. – View from Dalhousie Bastion. – Plains of Abraham. – Historical Localities at Quebec. – An alarmed Englishman. – Wolfe and Montcalm’s Monument. – Departure for Montreal. – A Fop’s Lesson. – Arrival at La Chine. – The Cascades. – Dangerous Voyage. – Moore’s Boat Song. – Junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence. – Cedars Rapids. – Garrison there in 1776. – Conduct of Bedell and Butterfield. – Massacre of Sherburne’s Corps. – Attempt of Arnold to release the Prisoners. – Menaces of the Indians. – Letter from Sherburne. – Dishonorable Conduct of a British Commander. – Washington’s Opinion. – Final Adjustment. – Cairn on the St. Lawrence. – St. Regis and its ancient Church. – Passage of Rapids. – Wind-mill Point and Ogdensburgh. – Loyalty of a British Veteran. – The "Patriots" of 1837. – Preparations for a Battle. – Fort Wellington. – Battle at Wind-mill Point. – Defeat of the "Patriots." – The Oswegatchie. – Old French Fort at Ogdensburgh. – Putnam’s Feats. – Testimony of History. – Capture of Fort Oswegatchie by the English. – Attacks upon Ogdensburgh by the British in 1812-13.


"Oh, few and weak their numbers were,

A handful of brave men;
But to their God they gave their prayer,
And rush’d to battle then.
They left the plowshare in the mold,
Their flocks and herds without a fold,
The sickle in the unshorn grain,
The corn half garner’d on the plain,
And muster’d in their simple dress
For wrongs to seek a stern redress –
To right those wrongs, come weal, come wo,
To perish or o’ercome their foe."


Such were the men who followed the bold Arnold, through terrible difficulties and privations, from their quiet homes in New England, and, in the midst of light falling snow, appeared like a specter army on the heights of Point Levi, to the wondering people of Quebec. Through the treachery of the Indian Eneas (who pretended to have been taken prisoner), Cramahé and his council knew that a small American force was in the wilderness, but they would not believe that it would ever reach Quebec; therefore the fact was not made known to the military or the people. They had taken the precaution, however, to keep all boats on the Quebec side of the river. It was about eight o’clock in the morning when Arnold and his followers emerged from the forest and displayed upon the banks of the St. Lawrence. Quebec was at once in a tumult. The drums beat to arms, and the Canadians were terribly alarmed. Some near Point Levi had fled across to the city, and their fears caused them to greatly magnify the number and character of the Americans. By a mistake of a single word the fears of the people were greatly increased, for the news spread that the mysterious army that descended from the wilderness was clad in sheet iron. 1

Arnold resolved to cross the river immediately, and found means to communicate his intentions to his friends in Quebec. 2 But for several days and nights a tempest of wind and sleet raged upon the St. Lawrence, and he was obliged to wait its pleasure at Point Levi. In the mean while the garrison of the city was strengthened by troops from Sorel, under M‘Lean, and the prospect of success for the patriots was proportionably lessened. At length the wind ceased. Between thirty and forty birch canoes were procured, and about nine o’clock in the evening of the 13th [November, 1775.] the first division crossed; before daylight five hundred Americans landed safely, and rendezvoused at Wolfe’s Cove. The enemy had placed a frigate (the Lizzard) and a sloop in the river, to intercept them, but the vigilance of these they eluded until just as the last party passed a guard-boat. One hundred and fifty men were at Point Levi, but it was too late to return for them. No time was to be lost, for the garrison would soon be alarmed. Arnold, placing himself at the head of his little band of heroes, scaled the heights where Wolfe had ascended sixteen years before, and at dawn they stood upon the lofty Plains of Abraham. That goal where glory was to be won and freedom vindicated, which had lured them from the camp at Cambridge, and haunted them in their disturbed dreams amid the perils of the wilderness, was now before the zealous patriots; but their hearts sank, and the whisperings of hope were like the breathings of despair, when they saw the dark castle and the massy walls that inclosed the garrison of the enemy. They numbered only seven hundred and fifty men. They had no artillery, and nearly half their muskets were rendered useless during their march through the wilderness. They learned, too, that troops from Sorel and Newfoundland had been added to the garrison, making an attack upon the town a hopeless waste of effort. 3 But Arnold relied upon the friendly disposition of the Canadian militia and the people of the city, and, to ascertain their feelings, he drew up his men within eight hundred yards of the walls and gave three cheers, hoping that the regulars would sally out to attack them, and that then, the gates being unclosed, he might rush in, and, by the aid of friends within, secure the city. The parapets of the walls were lined by hundreds of the people, and many of them huzzaed in return. Several guns were fired by the Americans, but without effect. The British at length brought a thirty-two pounder to bear upon the patriots, but not a shot injured them. Lieutenant-governor Cramahé and M‘Lean were too wary to be lured into such a snare as making a sortie, for they knew well the disloyalty of the French citizens and most of the leading men of Quebec. The English citizens were much dissatisfied with the French laws that had governed them since the passage of the "Quebec Bill," the previous year [1774.]. The French, on the other hand, though petted, so as to be won, could not forget their ancient national animosities, and were willing to see the English discomfited. The unruly conduct of the soldiery had also disgusted the people, and some were loud in their complaints against Carleton and his deputy, for exposing Quebec, by withdrawing its garrison when Montreal was threatened. The Royal Irish, under M‘Lean, were all that could be certainly relied upon. These elements of disaffection combined, made the force in the city, securely sheltered, quite inactive, for M‘Lean well knew that Arnold’s little army was too weak to attempt an assault, and he felt sure that the fierce winter winds and driving snow would soon force them from their bleak encampment.

Finding his attempts vain, by frequent hostile displays upon the heights, to draw out the garrison, Arnold, in accordance with military usage, sent a flag to M‘Lean, with a formal summons to surrender, threatening him with terrible disasters if he refused. The movement was exceedingly ridiculous, and was not only treated with utter contempt by the British commander, but the bearer was fired upon. 4 About this time Arnold learned that Carleton, who had fled from Montreal, was approaching Quebec. He also inspected his ammunition and stores, and to his surprise found that nearly all the cartridges were spoiled, hardly five rounds to a man being left fit for use. Learning, also, from his friends in the city, that a sortie was about to be made, he broke up his camp and retreated to Point aux Trembles, twenty miles above Quebec, to await the approaching troops of Montgomery. On his arrival at Aux Trembles, Arnold was informed that Carleton had gone from that place but a few hours before, and shortly afterward was heard the cannonading at Quebec that welcomed his return to the city. Montgomery landed at Point aux Trembles on the 1st of December [1775.], his troops, by sickness and desertion, reduced to a mere handful. There he took command of the combined troops, amounting to only about nine hundred effective men. He brought clothing from Montreal for Arnold’s half-naked troops. The next day [December 2.], in the face of a driving snow-storm, they started for Quebec, and arrived in sight of the city on the 5th. Their march was slow and excessively fatiguing, for the snow was deep, and drifted high in the roads. Montgomery established his headquarters at Holland House, and Arnold occupied a house near Scott’s Bridge. The Americans were chiefly encamped near the Intendant’s Palace, by the St. Charles, in the suburb St. Roche.

The American forces were considerably inferior in numbers to those of the garrison, but this was unknown within the city. Montgomery endeavored to send a summons to surrender, but Carleton would not allow a flag to approach the walls. At length a letter was conveyed by a citizen to Governor Carleton, in which Montgomery demanded an immediate surrender, at the same time magnifying the number of his followers, and threatening all the calamities of an assault. Although Carleton thought Montgomery’s army larger than it really was, he was not easily frightened. Montgomery, like Arnold, counted upon friends within the city, but they were paralyzed by the presence of troops, and dared do nothing favorable to the besiegers. With no other ordnance than some light cannon and a few mortars, a feeble, ill-clad, and ill-fed army, exposed to the severest frost in the open fields, and snow falling almost constantly, the American commander nearly despaired of success; yet the love of his adopted country, and thoughts of the depression of spirit throughout the colonies which a failure would produce, moved him to extraordinary efforts. He resolved to annoy the people into submission by harassing attacks upon the city, and accordingly attempted to throw bombs over the walls. These efforts were unavailing, and he then erected a six-gun battery upon some heaps of snow and ice within seven hundred yards of the walls, but his guns were too light for any efficiency. Nearly three weeks were thus consumed in unavailing attempts to make an entrance. Mutinous murmurs were audible in the camp, the term of service of many of the troops had nearly expired, the small-pox appeared among the soldiers, and the general looked for a speedy dissolution of his whole army.

Perils were gathering a fearful web around the brave Montgomery. He called a council of war, and it was resolved, as a last resort, to make a regular assault upon the town at different points. The troops were accordingly ordered to parade in three divisions at two o’clock on the morning of the 31st of December [1775.]. All obeyed with alacrity, except three companies of Arnold’s detachment, whose term of service was about expiring. They threatened to leave the army at once unless transferred to another command, but the firmness and wisdom of Montgomery restored order, and they took their places in the ranks. 5 The New York regiments and a part of Easton’s militia paraded at Holland House, under the immediate command of Montgomery; the Cambridge detachment and Colonel Lamb’s company of artillerists, with one field piece, at Morgan’s quarters; and the two small corps of Livingston and Brown at their respective parade-grounds. The plan was, for the first and second divisions to assault the lower town on opposite sides, and the third, under Livingston and Brown, to make feigned attacks, from the Plains of Abraham, upon the upper town, in the neighborhood of St. John’s and St. Louis Gates and Cape Diamond Bastion.


Montgomery, at the head of the first division, descended from the Plains of Abraham to Wolfe’s Cove, south of the city, and commenced his march toward the lower town by a road (now Champlain Street) that ran along the margin of the river, under Cape Diamond. Arnold, at the head of the second division, advanced from the general hospital, around the north side of the town, on the St. Charles. Both parties were to meet at Mountain Street, and force Prescott Gate. The snow was falling fast, and furious winds were piling it in frightful drifts. Cautiously Montgomery led his men in the dark toward the narrowest point under Cape Diamond, called Pres de Ville, where the enemy had planted a battery of three pounders. 6 This post was in charge of a captain of Canadian militia, with thirty-eight men, and nine British seamen, under Captain Barnsfare, master of a transport, to work the guns. On the river side was a precipice, and on the left the rough crags of dark slate towered far above him. When within fifty yards of the battery, the Americans halted to reconnoiter. The guard at the battery and the artillerymen with lighted matches were perfectly silent, and Montgomery concluded that they were not on the alert. But Barnsfare, through the dim light of early dawn and the drifting snow, saw faintly their movements. Montgomery, in the van of his troops, cried out, "Men of New York, you will not fear to follow where your general leads. March on!" and rushed boldly over heaps of ice and snow to charge the battery. At that moment, when the Americans were within forty paces, Captain Barnsfare gave the word, the match was applied, and a discharge of grape-shot swept the American column with terrible effect. Montgomery and both his aids (Captains Cheeseman and M‘Pherson) were killed, together with several privates near. The rest, appalled at the dreadful havoc and the death of their general, fled in confusion back to Wolfe’s Cove, where Colonel Campbell took the command, but made no further attempts to force a junction with Arnold. Ten minutes the battery belched its iron storm in the dim space, but, after the first discharge, there was no enemy there to slaughter.



While this dreadful scene was in progress at Cape Diamond, Arnold, at the head of the second division, was pressing onward along the St. Charles, where the snow was worse drifted than on the St. Lawrence. He led his men in files until he reached the narrow street called Sault au Matelot, where, under a high, jutting rock, the enemy had a two-gun picketed battery, well manned. Like Montgomery, he headed his men, and, while leading Lamb’s artillery to the attack upon the barrier, was completely disabled by a musket-wound in the knee, and was carried back to the general hospital, where he heard of the death of Montgomery. The command of his division now devolved upon Morgan, and for more than an hour the Americans withstood the storm of grape-shot and musket-balls at the first barrier, and finally carried it, for the deadly aim of the riflemen caused great consternation in the ranks of the enemy. Passing the first barrier, the patriots rushed on to the second, which commanded both Sault au Matelot and St. Peter’s Streets. The defenses here extended from the cliff to the river; and the present custom-house, then a private dwelling, had cannons projecting from the windows of the gable. Here a fierce contest of three hours ensued, and many were killed on both sides. At length the Americans took shelter from the fire of the battery, in the houses on both sides of the street, and in the narrow pass that leads up to Hope Gate. The English and Canadians already occupied houses near, and the patriots were terribly galled on all sides, and from the walls of the city above them. Captain Lamb was severely wounded by a grape-shot, which carried away a part of his cheek-bone, and other officers were more or less injured. The Americans finally captured the barrier, and were preparing to rush into the town, when Carleton sent a large detachment from the garrison, through Palace Gate, to attack them in the rear. The news of the death of Montgomery and the retreat of his detachment gave the people and the troops within the walls fresh courage. Captain Dearborne, with some provincials, was stationed near Palace Gate, and was completely surprised when its leaves were thrown open and the troops rushed out. It was a movement entirely unlooked for; and so suddenly and in such overwhelming force did the enemy pour upon them, that they were obliged to surrender.


While Morgan was pressing on vigorously into the town, he heard of the death of Montgomery, the capture of Dearborne and his company, and the advance of the enemy in his rear. Surrounded by foes on all sides, and every support cut off, the patriots yielded, and surrendered themselves prisoners of war. 10 The remainder of the division in the rear retreated to their camp, leaving behind them one field piece and some mortars in a battery at St. Roche. The whole loss of the Americans at Cape Diamond and Sault au Matelot, in killed and wounded, was about one hundred and sixty. The British loss was only about twenty killed and wounded.

As soon as hostilities ceased, search was made for the bodies of those who fell with Montgomery. Thirteen were found nearly buried in the snow, and with them was Montgomery’s orderly sergeant, dreadfully wounded, but alive. The sergeant would not acknowledge that his general was killed, and persisted in his silence until he died, an hour afterward. For several hours Carleton was uncertain whether the general was slain; but a field officer among the captured troops of Arnold’s division recognized the body of the young hero among those in the guard-house, and, it is said, he there pronounced a most touching eulogium on the bravery and worth of the deceased, while tears of grief coursed down his cheeks. 11 Cramahé, the lieutenant governor, who had known Montgomery years before, took charge of the body, and it was buried within a wall that surrounded a powder magazine, near the ramparts bounding on St. Louis Street, where it remained forty-two years. 12 It has been well observed that it would be difficult to select, from so small a body of men as that engaged in besieging Quebec, so large a number who afterward distinguished themselves for patriotism and courage, as that little band presented. Morgan and his rifle corps became world renowned. Dearborn was distinguished as a skillful officer at Saratoga and other fields of the Revolution, and commanded the troops that captured York, in Upper Canada, in the spring of 1813 [April 27.]. Meigs boldly attacked and destroyed shipping and stores at Sag Harbor, and his regiment, and that of Febiger, were of the forlorn hope at Stony Point. Greene’s prowess and skill were well attested at Red Bank, on the Delaware. Thayer behaved nobly in defense of Fort Mifflin, opposite Red Bank. Lamb was distinguished at Compo, Fort Montgomery, and Yorktown. Oswald was at Compo, and fought bravely at Monmouth; and Poterfield was killed at Camden, in South Carolina, when Gates was so terribly defeated there. M‘Pherson and Cheeseman, 13 Montgomery’s aids, were brave and accomplished, and gave assurance of future renown; but they fell with their leader, and share with him the grateful reverence of posterity.

Colonel Arnold took command of the remnant of the patriot army after the death of Montgomery, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He could muster only about eight hundred men; and, feeling unsafe in his camp under the walls of the city, he retired about three miles from the town, intrenched himself as well as circumstances would allow, and assumed the attitude of a blockade, hoping, by cutting off supplies for the city from the country, to bring the enemy to terms. Carleton, feeling secure within the walls, and expecting re-enforcements from England as soon as the ice should move out of the St. Lawrence, remained quiet; and in this relative position the belligerents continued until the 1st of April, when General Wooster, who had remained inactive all winter in Montreal, came down, and, being superior in rank to Arnold, took the chief command. The force which he brought with him, and the small addition made by troops that reached the encampment from New England during the winter, and Canadian recruits, swelled the army to nearly three thousand, eight hundred of whom were sick with the small-pox, which raged terribly in the American camp.

Preparations were made to beleaguer the city at once. A battery was erected upon the Plains of Abraham, and another at Point Levi, and a cannonade was opened upon the town, but without effect. At that moment the falling of Arnold’s horse upon his wounded leg so disabled him, that he was unfit for active service, and he asked and obtained leave from General Wooster (with whom he was upon unfriendly terms) to retire to Montreal. General Thomas, who was appointed to succeed Montgomery, arrived early in May [1776.], but Carleton having received re-enforcements under Burgoyne, the Americans were obliged to make a hasty retreat, leaving their stores and sick behind. The latter were kindly treated, and finally sent home. At the mouth of the Sorel the Americans were re-enforced, but they could not brave the power of the enemy. General Thomas died there of small-pox, and Sullivan succeeded to the command. 14 But Burgoyne, with a considerable force, was pressing forward, and ultimately, as we have noted in a preceding chapter, the patriots were driven out of Canada.

We have taken a long historic ramble; let us vary our pleasure by a ride to Montmorenci, and a visit to other celebrities about Quebec.


The morning was excessively hot when we left the city for the falls of the Montmorenci. Our egress was from the Palace Gate, and with us was quite a train of vehicles destined for the same point. We passed through the suburb of St. Roche, in the lower town, and crossed over Dorchester Bridge, a noble structure which spans the St. Charles, a short distance below the site of the old bridge fortified by Montcalm. The distance from Quebec to the Montmorenci is between seven and eight miles. The road (McAdamized) is very good, and passes through a rich and thoroughly cultivated region. Like the road from St. John’s to Chambly and Longueuil, it is so thickly strewn with farmhouses that we seemed to be in a suburban street the whole distance. The village of Beauport, an old town, where Montcalm’s headquarters were, is about midway between the St. Charles and the Montmorenci, and, like other Lower Canadian villages, has an antiquated appearance. Between Quebec and Beauport we passed a large gilt cross reared upon the top of a beautiful Corinthian column, painted white, green, and vermilion. It was erected, as we were told, by some priests in Quebec, and consecrated to the cause of temperance. A strong iron railing incloses it, except in front, where two or three steps lead to a platform at the foot of the column, whereon devout passers-by may kneel in prayer.


After passing Beauport, we were beset by troops of urchins, who stood in groups making polite bows to win attention and coin, or ran beside the carriage with the speed of trotting horses, lustily crying out, with extended hand, "un sou! un sou!" They were miniature Falstaffs in figure, some not more than four or five years old, with dark skins and lustrous black eyes. It was amusing to see their vigorous but good-natured scrambles for a sou when cast among them, and the persevering race of the unsuccessful for the next expected piece of copper. Many a dollar is thus scattered and picked up by the road side to Montmorenci, during "the season," for the amusement of the passengers and the comfort of the habitans.


We left our barouche on the south side of the Montmorenci, and crossing, upon a bridge, the turbulent stream that rushes, leaping and foaming among broken rocks, toward the cascade just below, we paid a sou each to a pretty French girl who guarded a gate opening to a winding pathway through the fields to the margin of the bank a little below the falls. The path is down a gentle slope for several rods, and at almost every step the picturesque scenery of the cascade assumes a new aspect. These falls, though much higher than those of Niagara, have none of the grandeur of that great wonder. Our first thought here is, How beautiful! but when the eye and the ear are first impressed with the avalanche of waters at Niagara, the solemn thought is, How sublime and wonderful! When we visited the Montmorenci, a long drought had greatly diminished the volume of its waters, yet it exhibited a scene strikingly picturesque and pleasing. For two or three hundred yards the river is confined in a narrow limestone bed, 16 whence it rushes with great velocity to the brink of the precipice, and leaps into a crescent-shaped bay of the St. Lawrence, more than two hundred feet below. There, at low tide, the bare rocks receive the flood, and send up clouds of spray a hundred feet or more, on which the rays of the evening sun often depict the beautiful bow. In front, cleaving the broad bosom of the St. Lawrence, is the Island of Orleans, a paradise of beauty in summer, and a place of much resort by the citizens of Quebec, particularly the English residents, who see in it much that resembles their "sweet Devonshire coast." Its length is nineteen miles, and its average breadth about five. A population of five thousand inhabit it, and its rich soil is thoroughly cultivated for the production of vegetables for the Quebec market. Beyond, on the right, is Point Levi, and up the St. Lawrence, glittering in the sun, lies Quebec. Grouping the beauties of the natural scenery, the historical associations, and the delights of a summer ride, a trip to Montmorenci is an event to be long remembered with pleasure. The sun was at meridian, and the mercury indicated ninety-three degrees in the shade. The points of view were sparsely shadowed by trees, and we tarried only long enough to glance at the beauties of the fall and steal its features with a pencil, and then returned to Quebec, where, before dinner, we visited several churches, the chapel of the Ursuline Convent, 17 the Seminary of Quebec, 18 the chapel of the Hotel Dieu, 19 and the citadel.

The citadel crowning Cape Diamond is a combination of powerful works. It is three hundred and fifty feet above the river, and is terminated on the east by a round tower, over which floats the national standard of England, the flag

"That’s braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze."

The approach to the citadel is by a winding road through the acclivity of the glacis from St. Louis Gate. It is foreign to my plan to notice in detail modern fortifications upon Revolutionary ground, and we will stop to consider only a few points of interest in this most perfect military work. The main entrance is through Dalhousie Gate, where we presented our permit, and were joined by a young Highland soldier to guide and guard us. On the top of Dalhousie Bastion is a covered way with a broad gravel walk, from which is obtained the finest view of the city, harbor, and surrounding country. The St. Charles is seen winding through a beautiful undulating plain, and the spires of Beauport, Charlesbourg, and Lorette, with the white cottages around them, form a pleasing feature in the landscape. The citadel and its ravelins cover about forty acres; and the fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains of solid masonry, and ramparts twenty-five to thirty feet in height, mounted with cannon, are continued entirely around the upper town. Upon the cliff called Sault au Matelot is the grand battery, of eighteen thirty-two pounders, commanding the basin and harbor below. At the different gates of the city sentinels are posted day and night, and in front of the jail and other public buildings the solemn march of military guards is seen. The garrison at Quebec numbered about three thousand soldiers. Among them was the 79th regiment of Scotch Highlanders, lately from Gibraltar. They were six hundred strong, and, dressed in their picturesque costume, made a fine appearance. To a stranger the military forms a principal feature of Quebec, and the mind is constantly carried back to the era of Froissart, when "Everie fayre towne had strong high walls, and bowmen and spearmen were more numerous than all others."

We left the citadel, emerged from St. Louis Gate, and, after visiting the monument where "Wolfe died victorious," rode over the battle-ground upon the Plains of Abraham, and, crossing to the St. Foix Road, went into the country as far as Holland House (the headquarters of Montgomery), and then returned, pleased and wearied, to the Albion. We strolled at evening through the governor’s garden, rested upon Durham Terrace (see view on page 185), which was crowded with promenaders, and, losing our way in trying to ferret out the Albion, found ourselves at Hope Gate, where a kind priest, in long black cassock and broad beaver, conducted us back to Palace Street.

I devoted the following day to business. Before breakfast I went to Durham Terrace, and sketched Point Levi and the adjacent scenery beyond the St. Lawrence; and after receiving explicit directions respecting the various historical localities about the city from an old and intelligent resident, I procured a caleche and started in search of them, the result of which is given in the several sketches and the descriptions on preceding pages. As the day advanced, the heat became almost intolerable, until we reached the cool retreats of Wolfe’s Cove, where, in the shade of a maple that overhangs a bubbling spring, I loitered an hour, dreading my intended ramble over the Plains of Abraham above. We slowly ascended the steep and winding road up Wolfe’s Ravine (in pity for the poor horse, walking half the way), and at the top I dismissed the vehicle, and went over the plains on foot. Hardly a shrub breaks the smooth surface. The ground slopes from the city, and only a few chimney-tops and a roof or two indicated the presence of a populous town.


While sketching the broken monument on the spot where Wolfe fell, a young Englishman, full of zeal for the perpetuity of British colonial rule, was a spectator, and was very inquisitive respecting my intentions. With a pointer’s keen perception, he determined my whereabout when at home, and of course looked upon me as a meddling foreigner. He saw me using the pencil on Durham Terrace in the morning, and also happened to pass while I was delineating Palace Gate. The idea of "horrible rebellion" and "Yankee sympathy" seemed to haunt his mind, and I fed his suspicions so bountifully with sinless fibs, that before I finished my sketch he started off for the city, fully impressed with the notion that he had discovered an emissary from the War Department at Washington, collecting military data preparatory to an invasion of her majesty’s dominions! I soon followed him, glad to escape from the burning heat upon the plains, and took shelter under the lofty trees in the governor’s garden, near the citadel, a delightful public promenade on the west side of Des Carrieres Street. In the garden, near the street, is a fine monument, consisting of an obelisk and pedestal of granite, erected to the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm. At the suggestion of Earl Dalhousie, who was Governor of Canada in 1827, a subscription was opened for the purpose, and when it reached seven hundred pounds, the earl made up the deficiency and superintended the erection of the monument. It bears the names of WOLFE and MONTCALM, and a Latin explanatory inscription. 20

We left Quebec toward evening [August 11, 1848.] for Montreal, on our way up the St. Lawrence to Ontario. A gentle shower crossed our track two miles distant, leaving a cool breeze upon the waters, and dispelling the haziness of the atmosphere. Like a thin veil, it hung athwart the eastern sky, not thick enough to cover the face of the moon that gleamed dimly through it, yet sufficiently dense to refract and reflect the solar rays, and exhibit the radiant bow. While admiring the beautiful phenomenon, I had occasion to administer a quiet rebuke to a young fop, whose attempts at wit, loud tone, and swaggering manner had attracted our attention at the dinner-table at Quebec. He was accompanied by an elderly lady and two young maidens, and on the boat I observed him contributing largely to the amusement of the latter by asking silly questions of unsuspecting passengers, and receiving grave and polite answers, over which they made merry. At length it was my turn to be his "subject." "Can you tell me," he said, "what causes that rainbow?" "Do you ask for information?" I inquired, in return. "Well, yes," he said, a little confused. "Do you understand the Newtonian theory of light? the laws of refraction and reflection? and are you familiar with the science of optics?" I asked, with a serious manner. "No, not much," he mumbled, with an effort to assume a careless air. "I perceive, sir, that you are not far enough advanced in knowledge to understand an explanation if I should give it," I mildly replied, and left him to his own reflections. Perhaps I was rude in the presence of that matron and those young girls, but the injunction of high authority, to "answer a fool according to his folly," did not parley with politeness. The maidens, half smiling, bit their lips, while the young man gazed steadfastly from the window of the saloon upon the beautiful shores we were passing by. They were indeed beautiful, dotted with villages, neat white farm-houses, fields of grain, and wide-spreading woods bathed in the light of the evening sun; and I hope the calm beauty of the scene, above and below, soothed the disquieted spirit of the young gazer, and awakened in his bosom aspirations for that wisdom which leads her willing pupils to perceive

"Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

We arrived at Montreal at six in the morning, left it by rail-road at ten for La Chine, nine miles distant, and at the head of La Chine Rapids embarked in the steamer British Queen for Ogdensburgh. We were soon at the foot of the Cascades, or St. Ann’s Rapids, near the southwestern extremity of the Island of Montreal.


The St. Lawrence here falls eighty-seven feet in the distance of seven miles. Steamboats and other vessels go down the rapids, but are obliged to ascend through the Beauharnois Canal, which we entered at about noon. This canal is fifteen miles long, fifty feet wide, and nine feet deep. The navigation of the rapids is very dangerous, and vessels are sometimes wrecked upon the submerged rocks. A sloop, loaded with staves and lumber, was lying in the midst of the foaming rapids, where it had struck the day before while guided by an unskillful pilot. The canal voyage was slow, for we passed nine locks before we reached the waters above Lake St. Louis, an expansion of the river, where the Ottawa or Utawas comes sweeping around each side of Isle Pero, at its mouth, and swells the volume of the St. Lawrence with its turbid flood. 22 We were most of the time in full view of the river, and had a fine opportunity to observe the people, dwellings, and agricultural operations along the line of the canal.


We passed the Cedars Rapids, twenty-four miles from La Chine, at about three o’clock. These rapids vary in intricacy, depth, and rapidity of current, and are nine miles long, running at the rate of nine to twelve miles an hour. In some places the rocks are covered with only a few feet of water, and the descent is at all times rather perilous. Small islands, covered with trees and shrubbery, accelerate the speed of the waters. These rapids derive their name from the village of Cedars, on the north side of the St. Lawrence, in Vaudreuil district. The sketch was made from the steam-boat in the canal, while stopping for wood and water at St. Timothy.

The Cedars occupy quite a conspicuous place in the annals of the Northern campaign of 1775-76. Three hundred and ninety Americans, under Colonel Bedell, of the New Hampshire line, occupied a small fortress there in the spring of 1776. Early in May, Captain Foster, of the British army, with a detachment of forty regulars, one hundred Canadians, and five hundred Indians, under the celebrated Brant, or Thayendanegea, descended from the British station at the mouth of the Oswegatchie (now Ogdensburgh), and approached the fort. Bedell, under pretense of going to Montreal for re-enforcements, left the garrison in command of Major Butterfield, an officer quite as void of courage as his superior. Both have been branded by cotemporary writers as cowards, and their conduct on this occasion confirms the opinion. 23 Butterfield did not even make a fair show of resistance, but quietly surrendered the fort and garrison as soon as Foster arrived [May 16, 1776. {original text has May 15, 1775.}]. Meanwhile, Major Henry Sherburne was sent by Arnold from Montreal, with one hundred and forty men, to re-enforce the garrison, but Bedell, "valuing safety more than fidelity and honor," 24 refused to accompany him. Sherburne arrived upon the shore of Lake St. Louis on the day of the surrender, and, having crossed the day after, left forty men as guards, and, with one hundred, proceeded toward the fort, unconscious of the disgraceful conduct of Butterfield. About five in the evening the whole force of Foster’s Canadians and Indians burst from an ambuscade and fell upon the republicans. They made a brave defense for nearly an hour and a half, when the Indians, in number greatly superior, formed a girdle around them, and at a given signal rushed upon the devoted little band and disarmed them. Infuriated by the obstinate resistance of the Americans, the Indians butchered about twenty of them with knives and tomahawks, and, stripping the remainder almost naked, drove them in triumph to the fort. 25 The loss of the Americans, in the action and by massacre, was fifty-eight; the enemy lost twenty-two, among whom was a brave of the Senecas.

As soon as Arnold heard of the disasters at the Cedars, he marched with about eight hundred men against the enemy, then at Vaudreuil, for the two-fold purpose of chastising them and releasing the American prisoners. He arrived at St. Ann’s on the afternoon of the 20th [May, 1776.], at which time the bateaux of the enemy were distinctly seen taking the American prisoners from an island three miles distant, toward the main land on the south side of the St. Lawrence. About the same time a party of Caughnawaga Indians, 26 whom Arnold had sent to the hostile savages in the morning, demanding a surrender of the prisoners, and threatening them with extermination if any more murders of Americans should be perpetrated, returned with an answer of defiance. The Indians sent back word to Arnold that they were too numerous to fear him, and that if he should attempt to cross the river and land, for the purpose of rescuing the Americans, every prisoner should be immediately put to death. Unmindful of this threat, Arnold filled his boats with men, and proceeded to the island which the enemy had just left. Five Americans, naked and almost famished, were there, and informed him that all the other prisoners, except two (who, being sick, were butchered), had been taken to Quinze Chiens, four miles below. Arnold, with his flotilla, proceeded thither. The enemy opened an ineffectual fire upon them, but as night [May 26, 1776], was closing in, and his men were fatigued, the general returned to St. Ann’s and called a council of war. He there received a flag from the British commander, accompanied by Major Sherburne, giving him the most positive assurances that if he persisted in his design of attacking him, it would be entirely out of his power to restrain his savages from disencumbering themselves of the prisoners, by putting them to death. Major Sherburne confirmed the information that a massacre had already been agreed upon. Foster also demanded of Arnold an agreement, on his part, to a proposed cartel which Sherburne and the other officers had been compelled to sign. This agreement covenanted for the delivery of an equal number of British soldiers in exchange for the Americans, with the condition that the latter should immediately return to their homes, and not again take up arms. Four American captains were to go to Quebec as hostages till the exchange should be effected. Arnold was strongly averse to making such an agreement, but the dictates of humanity and the peculiar circumstances of the case caused him to yield to the terms, except the conditions that the Americans should not again take up arms, and that they should be pledged not to give any information, by words, writings, or signs, prejudicial to his majesty’s service. Foster waived these points, and the convention was signed. 27

The part performed by Foster in coercing the American officers into compliance with his demands, by suspending the bloody hatchet of the Indians over their heads, was thought disgraceful, and Congress refused to ratify the agreement, except upon such terms as the British government would never assent to. Although Washington abhorred the act, he considered the convention binding; and General Howe complained of the bad faith of Congress. The British government, however, indicated its appreciation of the matter by letting the waters of oblivion flow quietly over the whole transaction. The prisoners were finally released by General Carleton, and the hostages at Quebec were sent home on parole.

Arnold, with his detachment, returned to Montreal, where, a few days afterward, a Committee of Congress, consisting of Franklin, Chase, and Carroll, arrived, to inquire into the state of affairs. Their mission was fruitless, for all hope of maintaining a foothold in Canada was abandoned by the military leaders, and, as previously noted, the Americans soon afterward withdrew entirely from the province.


We entered the lake near Grand Island, above Cedars Rapids, and, passing the Rapids of Coteau du Lac, six miles above the latter, landed at a pretty little village of the same name. Here the St. Lawrence expands into one of those broad lakes which mark its course from Ontario to the gulf. It is called Lake St. Francis, and is forty miles long, and in some places twelve or thirteen broad. Beautiful islands, covered with timber and luxuriant shrubbery, are scattered over its bosom. We passed many of those floating islands – extensive rafts of lumber – which indicate a chief feature in the commerce of that noble river.


On one of the small islands on the northern shore, opposite the district of Glengary, is a huge "cairn," sixty feet high, the pinnacle of which is an iron cannon, from whose muzzle a flag-staff is projected. A spiral path-way leads from base to summit, sufficiently wide for a person to pass up and down by it in safety. It is built of loose stones, without mortar or cement. The people of the neighboring parish of Glengary (who are chiefly Scotch), under the direction of Colonel Carmichael, reared it, in general testimony of their loyalty during the Canadian rebellion so called, of 1837-8, and in especial honor of Sir John Colborne (now Lord Seaton), who was the commander-in-chief of the British forces in Canada at that time. In imitation of the manner in which tradition asserts that the ancient cairns were built, each person in the district, man, woman, and child, capable of lifting a stone, went to the island and added one to the pile. We passed St. Regis, 29 the first village upon the St. Lawrence within the territory of the United States, about sunset, and before the twilight had entirely faded we were again out of the river and in the Cornwall Canal, on the north side of the St. Lawrence, to avoid the swift rapids, called the Long Sault, nearly two miles in extent. We passed the Du Platte Rapids in the night, and at dawn entered the Gallopes or Galoose Rapids, nine miles below Ogdensburgh. These are a mile and a half long, and present a formidable obstacle to the upward passage of vessels. The channel is exceedingly narrow, and very near the southern shore. With three men at the tiller-wheel, and a full head of steam, our goodly "Queen" came up to the most rapid and intricate part, where, for nearly ten minutes, it was difficult to determine whether an inch of progress was made, and we were more than half an hour in making the mile and a half. The usual time occupied in going down from Ogdensburgh to Montreal by steam-boat is nine hours. On account of rapids and currents, and the canal navigation, the voyage up occupies about seventeen hours.

We caught the first rays of the morning sun reflected from the spires at Prescott and Ogdensburgh, flourishing villages, which flank the St. Lawrence at the head of all its numerous rapids. Wind-mill Point, on the Canada side, is close by, and as we passed the famous cape we were edified with a running commentary on the beneficence of monarchy and the horrors of republicanism, from an old officer of a British corps of marine engineers, who, with his daughter, was a passenger from Montreal. He had amused me for an hour the evening previous, after passing St. Regis, by a relation of his personal adventures in that vicinity during our last war with Great Britain. He then commanded a gun-boat with eighty men; and he boasted, with much warmth and satisfaction, of the terrible manner in which he galled the Yankees with "grape and cannister" at the time of the engagements at Chrysler’s Farm, Williamsburgh, and near St. Regis. He was bubbling over with loyalty, and became rabid at the mere mention of annexation. His head was white with the bleaching of threescore and ten years. Great experience and extensive practical knowledge, with frankness and volubility in conversation, made him a most agreeable companion, and we much regretted parting with him and his amiable daughter at Kingston.

I called Wind-mill Point a "famous cape." Its notoriety is very youthful, yet its history is one of those epitomes of progress worth noticing, which make up the movements of the nations. It was here that the Canada patriots (so called) in 1837 took post with a view of attacking Fort Wellington, a small fortification between the point and Prescott. There were several stone buildings and a strong stone wind-mill on the point. These were taken possession of by the insurgents toward noon on the 12th of November, 1838. They numbered about two hundred, many of them being from our frontier towns. They came in two schooners, which were towed down the St. Lawrence by the steamer United States, the captain (Van Cleve) supposing them to be, as represented by a passenger, laden with merchandise. As soon as he discovered the character of the vessels, he resolved to go no further, and stopped at Morristown, ten miles above Ogdensburgh. The schooners’ lines were cast, and the next morning, filled with armed men, they were at anchor between Ogdensburgh and Prescott. The insurgents landed at Wind-mill Point, and commenced fortifying their position. Recruits from our shores swelled their ranks for the first twelve hours after their landing. Ogdensburgh and Prescott were in great commotion, and before night not a living being was to be seen in the latter place, for there would evidently be the battle-field.


Preparations were immediately made at Fort Wellington to dislodge the patriots, and a British armed steam-boat, lying at Prescott, prepared to co-operate with the garrison. During the evening the steam-boat Telegraph arrived, having on board Colonel Worth, of the United States army, and two companies of troops, with a marshal, to maintain neutrality. Early next morning two armed British steamers arrived with troops, and an assault was commenced upon the patriots by throwing bombs upon the houses and the mill. The field pieces of their battery on shore returned the fire, and, after a fight of an hour, the British were driven back into the fort, with the loss of about one hundred men killed, and many wounded. Many of the patriots had fled in the morning, and when the action commenced there were only a hundred and twenty-eight left on the point, while the government troops amounted to more than six hundred. The insurgents lost five men killed and thirteen wounded. The next day they sent out a flag, but the bearer was shot. On the 15th the British received a re-enforcement of four hundred regulars, with cannon and gun-boats. The patriots were also re-enforced, and numbered more than two hundred. The government troops, with volunteers from Kingston, in all about two thousand men, surrounded the patriots by land and water, and kept up a continual cannonading until the evening of the 16th, when the latter surrendered. A white flag was displayed from the mill, and three or four others were sent out by the patriots, but the bearers were shot down. 31 Indeed, there seemed to be but little disposition on the part of the conquerors to give quarter. The dwellings in the vicinity of the wind-mill were burned, and it is asserted that a number of the patriots were consumed in one of them, which stood upon the beach. Other buildings have been burned since, and their blackened ruins, with the wind-mill, battered by cannon-balls, stand there now, gloomy mementoes of an abortive attempt to sever the chains of colonial vassalage.

According to Theller, thirty-six patriots were killed, two escaped, and ninety were made prisoners. The British lost a hundred and fifty men and twenty officers killed, among whom was Captain Drummond. The commander of the insurgents was a young Pole, only thirty-one years of age, named Von Schoultz, who, with ten others, was hung, and a large portion of the remainder of the prisoners was banished to Van Diemen’s Land.

At Ogdensburgh we left the British Queen, and went on board the Lady of the Lake, bound for Oswego. Having an hour to pass before her departure, we employed it in a pleasant ramble through the town and along the banks of the dark Oswegatchie. It was Sabbath morning, and all was quiet in that pleasant village. We traversed the high banks of the stream, along its majestic course from the bridge to the dam, about half a mile. The declivity of the bank is studded with oaks, sycamores, and pines, and lofty trees shade the pleasant pathway the whole distance, making it a delightful promenade either at hot noon or in the evening twilight. The water is of an amber color when not turbid, and from this one of its chief tributaries, the Black Lake, derives its name.

Ogdensburgh is near the site of the old French fort generally known as Fort Oswegatchie, but on their maps, as early as 1740, it is called Fort Presentation, and sometimes La Gallette. This fort was garrisoned by the French during a part of the Seven Years’ War, but was taken by the English in 1760, while they were descending the St. Lawrence to attack Montreal. It is related that Putnam, then a lieutenant colonel, performed one of his daring and original feats here, in the attack upon the fort and upon the two armed vessels that lay at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River. Humphreys says that he undertook, with one thousand men in fifty bateaux, to capture the vessels by boarding. With beetle and wedges, he proceeded to secure the rudders, to disable the vessels and prevent them from bringing their broadsides to bear, and then to make a furious attack upon and board them. As they approached, the crew of one of the vessels, panic-struck, forced the commander to surrender, and the other vessel was run ashore. The fort was the next object of solicitude. With the permission of Amherst, Putnam caused a number of boats to be prepared with musket-proof fascines 32 along the sides, so as to form a shelter from the fire of the enemy. The fort was defended by an abatis overhanging the water; and, to overcome such a formidable obstacle, he caused a broad plank, twenty feet in length, to be attached to the bow of each boat, so that it might be raised and lowered at pleasure. This was to form a bridge over the projecting abatis, on which the besiegers might pass to the attack on the fort. As soon as the boats, thus strangely equipped, began to move toward the fort, the alarmed garrison, unused to such martial enginery, surrendered without firing a shot.

These tales, like many others of which Putnam is the reputed hero, partake somewhat of the marvelous, and in this instance rather conflict with cotemporary history as well as probability. Colonel Mante, who was intimate with Rogers and Putnam, says that one of the vessels was grounded before the attack, and that an action of four hours occurred with the other. He also says that "the general ordered the vessels [of the English] to fall down the stream, post themselves as close to the fort as possible, and man their tops well, in order to fire upon the enemy, and prevent their making use of their guns, while the grenadiers rowed in with their broadswords and tomahawks, fascines and scaling-ladders, under cover of the light infantry, who were to fire into the embrasures." 33 He says nothing about Putnam’s project or the "planks." Dr. Trumbull says, "The general, receiving intelligence that one of the enemy’s vessels was aground and disabled, and that another lay off La Gallette, determined, with the utmost dispatch, to go down the river and attack Oswegatchie and Isle Royal. On the 17th of August [1760.] the row-galleys fell in with the French sloop commanded by M. de la Broquirie, who, after a smart engagement, surrendered to the English galleys. . . . . . . By the 23d two batteries were opened against the fort, and it was cannonaded by them in concert with the row-galleys in the river. M. Ponchaut, the commander, beat a parley, and surrendered the fort on terms of capitulation." 34 From personal observation of the ground, I am inclined to think that a plank twenty feet long could hardly have reached the abatis from the water, even in a perpendicular position, unless the altitude of the shores was less then than now. Very possibly the ingenious idea of wedging up the rudders of the vessels and of scaling the outworks of the fort was conceived by the fertile mind of Putnam, but it is not one of the strong points upon which the reputation of the general for skill and bravery rests, for it must have been a failure if attempted. One thing is certain – Fort Oswegatchie fell into the hands of the English at that time, after a pretty warm engagement. Lieutenant-colonel Massey, with the grenadiers, took possession of the fort, the garrison were sent to New York, and the post was named by Amherst Fort William Augustus.

Ogdensburgh was a place of considerable importance, in a military point of view, during our war with England, begun in 1812. Lying directly opposite a Canadian village (Prescott) and a military post, it was among the earliest of the points of attack from Canada. As early as the 2d of October, 1812, it was assaulted by the enemy. General Jacob Brown, with four hundred Americans, commanded there in person. On Sunday, the 4th, the British, one thousand in number, in forty boats, approached to storm the town, but, after a sharp engagement, they were repulsed. Another attack was planned, and in February following [1813.] it was carried into effect. On the 21st of that month, the British, twelve hundred strong, attacked it in two columns, and, after an hour of hard fighting, drove Captain Forsyth and his troops out of the place as far as Black Lake, and took possession of the village. The Americans lost twenty men in killed and wounded, the British about sixty.

We can not stay longer upon the beautiful banks of the Oswegatchie, for the signal-bell for departure is ringing merrily upon the Lady of the Lake.



1 Morgan’s riflemen wore linen frocks, their common uniform. The Canadians, who first saw these emerge from the woods, said they were vêtu en toile – clothed in linen cloth. The word toile was changed to tole, iron plate.

2 In earlier life Arnold was engaged in trafficking in horses, and shipped many for the West Indies. He visited Quebec several times to procure stock, and thus became well acquainted with the place and many people there. His knowledge of the city and vicinity was doubtless one cause that led to his appointment to the command of the expedition.

3 The garrison, including the regulars and militia within the town, and the marines in the ships, was about eighteen hundred strong. Surprise has been expressed that these did not march out and destroy the feeble force of the Americans. The obvious reason was, that the majority of the garrison troops were militia, and supposed to be ready to join the Americans in the event of a battle.

4 "It must be confessed," says Judge Henry, "that this ridiculous affair gave me a contemptible opinion of Arnold. Morgan, Febiger, and other officers did not hesitate to speak of it in that point of view. However, Arnold had a vain desire to gratify. He was well known at Quebec. Formerly, he had traded from this port to the West Indies, most particularly in the article of horses; hence he was despised by the principal people. The epithet of horse-jockey was freely and universally bestowed upon him by the British. Having now obtained power, he became anxious to display it in the faces of those who had formerly despised and contemned him."

5 The cause of this outbreak is not known. Montgomery, in a letter to Schuyler (the last he ever wrote), spoke of the occurrence, and intimated that Major Brown was at the bottom of it. He promised a full explanation in his next, but, alas! "the next" was never written. It appears that Arnold had quarreled with Hanchet, one of his captains, before reaching Point Levi, and two others took sides with the captain. Brown and Arnold had quarreled at Ticonderoga, and it is supposed that the former took this opportunity to gall Arnold, by widening the breach between him and his captains, and endeavoring to get them detached from Arnold’s command and joined to his own.

6 Judge Henry, who was one of the American prisoners at Quebec, was allowed, with some others, to go out and see the place where Montgomery was slain. He thus describes the British fortification there: It was a sort of block-house forty or fifty feet square. The logs, neatly hewn, were tightly bound together by dove-tail work. The lower story contained loop-holes for musketry, so narrow that those within could not be harmed by those without. The upper story had four or more port-holes for cannon of a large caliber. These guns were charged with grape and canister shot, and were pointed with exactness toward the avenue at Cape Diamond. The block-house seemed to take up the space between the foot of the hill and the river, leaving only a cart-way on each side. The bulwarks of the city came only to the edge of the hill, above that place; hence down the side of the precipice, slantingly to the brink of the river, there was a stockade of strong posts fifteen or twenty feet high, knit together by a stout railing at bottom and top with pins. It was asserted that Montgomery sawed four of these posts himself, so as to admit four men abreast to attack the block-house.

7 This is a view of the spot where Montgomery was killed. The cliff is Cape Diamond, crowned with the citadel. The street at the foot of it is called Champlain, and is inhabited chiefly by a mixed population of French, Canadians, and Irish. It extends from Mountain Street south almost to Wolfe’s Cove. This view is from Champlain Street, a few rods south of Pres de Ville, looking north. High upon the rocks Alfred Hawkins, Esq., of Quebec, has placed a board with this inscription: "HERE MAJOR-GENERAL MONTGOMERY FELL, DECEMBER 31ST, 1775."

8 This view is in a narrow alley near the north end of Sault au Matelot Street, in the rear of St. Paul’s Street. At the time in question St. Paul’s Street did not exist, and the water, at high tide, came nearly up to the precipice. The first barrier and battery extended from the jutting rock seen in the picture, to the water. The present alley was then the beach. The circular wall on the top of the rock is a part of the grand battery, one of the most formidable and commanding defenses in the world.

9 This is one of the most beautiful gates of the city, and opens toward the St. Charles, on the northern side of the town. A strong guard-house is seen at the left, pierced for muskets to defend the entrance. Immediately adjoining this gate are the artillery barracks. The gate is at the northern extremity of Palace Street, one of the broadest in the city, and "so named," says Hawkins, "from the circumstance that it led out to the Intendant’s house, or palace, which stood on the beach of the St. Charles, where the queen’s wood-yard now is."

10 The force that surrendered consisted of 1 lieutenant colonel, 2 majors, 8 captains, 15 lieutenants, 1 adjutant, 1 quartermaster, 4 volunteers, 350 rank and file, and 44 officers and soldiers, who were wounded, making a total of 426. The prisoners were treated humanely. The officers were confined in the seminary, the oldest literary institution in Quebec. Major Meigs was sent out for the clothing and baggage of the prisoners, and all testified to the humanity of Carleton.

11 Montgomery had a watch in his pocket which Mrs. M. was very desirous of obtaining. She made her wishes known to Arnold, who sent word to Carleton that any sum would be paid for it. Carleton immediately sent the watch to Arnold, and refused to receive any thing in return.

12 Richard Montgomery was born in the north of Ireland in 1737. He entered the army at the age of twenty, and was with Wolfe at the storming of Quebec in 1759. He was in the campaign against the Spanish West Indies, and afterward resided some time in this country. He quitted his regiment on his return to England in 1772. While here he imbibed an attachment for the country, and returned to make it his home. He purchased an estate upon the Hudson, in Rhinebeck, Dutchess county, and married the daughter of Robert R. Livingston. When the Revolution broke out, he espoused the cause of the colonists, and in the autumn of 1775 was second in command, under Schuyler, in the expedition against Canada, with the rank of brigadier. The illness of Schuyler caused the chief command to devolve upon Montgomery, and in the capture of St. John’s, Chambly, and Montreal, and his attack on Quebec, he exhibited great judgment and military skill. He was commissioned a major general before he reached Quebec. In that campaign he had every difficulty to contend with – undisciplined and mutinous troops, scarcity of provisions and ammunition, want of heavy artillery, lack of clothing, the rigor of winter, and desertions of whole companies. Yet he pressed onward, and, in all probability, had his life been spared, would have entered Quebec in triumph. His death was a great public calamity, and throughout the land public honors were paid to his memory. The eloquence of Chatham, Burke, and Barré sounded his praises upon the floor of the British Parliament, and the prime minister (Lord North), while acknowledging his worth, and reprobating the cause in which he fell, concluded by saying, "Curse on his virtues, they have undone his country." As soon as the news of his death reached Congress, resolutions of condolence with his family for their bereavement, and expressive of their "grateful remembrance, profound respect, and high veneration," were adopted. It was voted to erect a monument to his memory, which was accordingly done, in the front of St. Paul’s Church in New York city, on which is the following inscription:


monument is erected by order of Congress,
25th of January, 1776,
to transmit to posterity a grateful remem-
brance of the patriotic conduct, enterprise, and perseverance
of Major-general RICHARD MONTGOMERY,
who, after a series of success amid the most discour-
aging difficulties, Fell in the attack on
QUEBEC, 31st December, 1775, aged 37 years.


In 1818 a request in behalf of the widow of General Montgomery was made to the Governor-in-chief of Canada, Sir John Sherbrooke, to allow his remains to be disinterred and conveyed to New York. The request was readily acceded to, and Mr. James Thompson, of Quebec, who was one of the engineers at the time of the storming of the city, and assisted in burying the general, also assisted in the disinterment, making an affidavit to the identity of the body. He said, in his affidavit, that the body was taken to the house of Mr. Gobert, and placed in a coffin lined with flannel and covered with black cloth; that Rev. Mr. de Montmolin, chaplain to the garrison, performed the funeral service; that Montgomery’s aids (M‘Pherson and Cheeseman) were buried in their clothes, without coffins; and that he (Thompson) afterward wore Montgomery’s sword, but the American prisoners were so affected by the sight of it, that he laid it aside. He identified the coffin taken up on the 16th of June, 1818, as the one. The remains were placed in another coffin and deposited beneath the monument. The following is the inscription upon a silver plate on the coffin: "The state of New York, in honor of General Richard Montgomery, who fell gloriously fighting for the independence and liberty of the United States before the walls of Quebec, the 31st of December, 1775, caused these remains of the distinguished hero to be conveyed from Quebec, and deposited, on the 8th day of July (1818), in St. Paul’s Church, in the city of New York, near the monument erected to his memory by the United States."


General Montgomery left no children whom "the state, in gratitude toward their father, distinguished with every mark of kindness and protection," as Botta asserts. His widow survived him more than half a century. When at the house of his brother-in-law, the late Peter R. Livingston, at Rhinebeck, a few years ago, I saw an interesting memento of the lamented general. A day or two before he left home to join the army under Schuyler, he was walking on the lawn in the rear of his brother-in-law’s mansion with the owner, and as they came near the house. Montgomery stuck a willow twig in the ground, and said, "Peter, let that grow to remember me by." It did grow, and is now a willow with a trunk at least ten feet in circumference.

13 This officer had a presentiment that he should not survive the battle. When preparing to go forth on that stormy December morning, he dressed himself with more care than usual, and putting a considerable sum of money, in gold, in his pocket, remarked, with a smile, "This will insure me a decent burial." He was of the New York line. A sergeant and eleven men fell with him. He was not instantly killed, but arose to press forward to charge the battery. It was a feeble effort, and he fell back a corpse, in a winding-sheet of snow.

14 John Thomas was descended from a respectable family of Plymouth, Massachusetts. He served, with reputation, in the French and Indian war. At the head of a regiment raised by himself in Kingston, Massachusetts, he marched to Roxbury in 1775, and joined the Continental army. Congress appointed him one of the first eight brigadier generals, and he commanded a division at the siege of Boston. In March, 1776, he was appointed a major general, and on the 1st of May following joined the army before Quebec. He died of small-pox, at Chambly, on the 30th of the same month. General Thomas was greatly beloved by his soldiers, and his judgment, prudence, and firmness commended him to Washington as one promising to do much for the cause of the colonists.

15 This sketch is a view from within Palace Street, looking out upon the open country beyond the St. Charles. The river, with a few masts, is seen just over the top of the gate. Adjoining the gate, on the right, is seen a portion of the guard-house.

16 The river, in this channel, is not more than twelve feet wide, and here the Natural Steps occur. They rise on one side of the stream like irregular stairs. They have been formed by the action of the water on the softer layers of limestone, and present a curiosity for the visitor.

17 The Ursuline Convent is situated on Parloir Street, near the English Cathedral. Influenced by an appeal from the French Jesuits of Canada, a young widow of Alençon, named Madame de la Peltrie, resolved to devote her life and fortune to the work of establishing a convent in Quebec. She founded the Ursuline Convent in 1641. An excellent school for the education of females is attached to it. In the chapel, as already noticed, is an inscribed marble slab, in memory of Montcalm, whose body lies within the grounds of the institution.

18 This literary institution was founded in 1633, by De Laval de Montmorency, the first bishop of Canada. The professors, and all attached to it, receive no money compensation; they are simply guarantied "food and raiment, in sickness and in health." The chapel contains several fine paintings. The library has nearly 10,000 volumes.

19 The Hotel Dieu, a nunnery, stands between Palace and Hope Gates. It was founded in 1636, by the Duchess d’Aquillon, a niece of the famous Cardinal Richelieu. The cardinal was a liberal benefactor of the establishment during his life. The chapel is plain, and has but a few paintings.

20 The following is the inscription: Mortem virtus, communem famam historia monumentum posteritas dedit. Hanc columnam in virorum illustrium memoriam. WOLFE et MONTCALM P. C. Georgius Comes De Dalhousie in Septentrionalis Americæ partibus ad Britannos pertimentibus summano rerum administrans; opus per multos annos prætermissum, quid duci egregio convenientius? Auctoritate promorens, exemplo stimulans, munificentia fovens A. S., MDCCCXXVII., Georgio IV., Britanniarum Rege.

21 These rapids are so called from the circumstance that a village of the same name is near. This was considered by the Canadian voyageurs the place of departure when going from Montreal on fur-trading excursions, as here was the last church upon the island. This fact suggested to Moore the thoughts expressed in the first verse of his Canadian Boat Song:

"Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time;
Soon as the woods on shore look dim,
We’ll sing at St. Ann’s our evening hymn.
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The rapids are near, and the daylight’s past."

Moore says, in reference to this song, "I wrote these words to an air which our boatmen sung to us frequently while descending the St. Lawrence from Kingston to Montreal. Our voyageurs had good voices, and sung perfectly in tune together. I remember when we had entered, at sunset, upon one of those beautiful lakes into which the St. Lawrence so grandly and unexpectedly opens, I have heard this simple air with a pleasure which the finest compositions of the first masters have never given me."

22 For several miles below the confluence of the two rivers the muddy water of the Ottawa and the clear stream of the St. Lawrence are seen contending for the mastery. The line of demarkation may be traced by the color even below the St. Ann’s Rapids.

23 Washington, writing to General Schuyler under date of June 10th, 1776, said, "If the accounts of Colonel Bedell and Major Butterfield’s conduct be true, they have certainly acted a part deserving the most exemplary notice. I hope you will take proper measures, and have good courts appointed to bring them, and every other officer that has been or shall be guilty of misconduct, to trial, that they may be punished according to their offenses. Our misfortunes at the Cedars were occasioned, as it is said, entirely by their base and cowardly behavior, and can not be ascribed to any other cause." A late writer for one of our weekly papers, in giving a "true account of the Northern campaign," is particularly laudatory of the bravery of Colonel Bedell at St. John’s and Chambly. He seems to regard all the official and other records of the events there as quite erroneous, and "sets the matter right" by quoting a letter written by Bedell to the Committee of Safety of New Hampshire. He calls the style of the letter "Cæsarean," and in the free use of the pronoun I there is certainly a similarity to Cæsar’s Veni, Vidi, Vici. Taking the colonel’s letter as verity, we must suppose that, in the capture of Forts Chambly and St. John’s, Montgomery and all other officers were mere puppets in his hands. In a postscript he says, "This moment I have got possession of St. John’s; and, the post being obliged to set off, have not time to copy the articles of capitulation; and to-morrow shall march for Montreal, leaving a detachment to keep the fort." Other portions of his letter plainly indicate that he wished to impress those who sent him to the field with the idea that he was the master-spirit there. I should not have noticed this matter so minutely but for the disposition of a class of writers at present to make prominent the exploits of subalterns, upon ex-parte evidence, by hiding the brilliant deeds of those to whom compatriots and cotemporary historians have awarded the highest meed of praise. It is an easy, and the only, way to make a sapling conspicuous, to fell the noble trees that surround and overshadow it.

24 Gordon, ii., 65.

25 Stone, in his Life of Brant, asserts that that chief used his best endeavors to restrain the fury of the Indians after the surrender of Sherburne. Captain M‘Kinstry (late Colonel M‘Kinstry, of Livingston’s Manor, Columbia county) commanded the company, on that occasion, which fought most obstinately with the Indians. On that account the savages had determined to put him to death by the torture, and had made preparations for the horrid rite. Brant interposed, and, in connection with some humane English officers, made up a purse and purchased an ox, which the Indians roasted for their carousal instead of the prisoner. Brant and M‘Kinstry became personal friends, and the chief often visited the latter at the manor after the war. – Life of Brant, i., 155.

26 The Caughnawagas called themselves the Seven Nations of Canada. Many of them were with the Mohawks and others of the Six Nations of New York in the battle of the Cedars, but those upon the Island of Montreal were friendly to the republicans. A remnant of the tribe now inhabit a village called Caughnawaga, about twelve miles from Montreal, and profess Christianity. They have a handsome church, are industrious, temperate, and orderly, and, unlike others of the Indian tribes, increase rather than diminish in population. I saw several of them in Montreal selling their ingenious birch bark and bead work. They are quite light, having doubtless a liberal tincture of French blood. Their language is a mixture of Iroquois and French.

27 Marshall, Gordon, Allen, Sparks.

28 This is probably the only structure of the kind on the American continent. Cairn is a word of Celtic origin, used to denote the conical piles of stones frequently found upon the hills of Britain. These piles are supposed by some to have been erected as memorials of some local event, while others assign to them a sepulchral character. Some are supposed to be sacrificial, like the carnedd of the Welsh. They all have a similar appearance wherever found, being composed of loose stones piled in a conical form.

29 St. Regis is an old Indian village, and contains a small Roman Catholic Church, built about the year 1700. When completed, the priest informed the Indians that a bell was highly important to their worship, and they were ordered to collect furs sufficient to purchase one. They obeyed, and the money was sent to France for the purpose. The French and English were then at war. The bell was shipped, but the vessel that conveyed it fell into the hands of the English, and was taken into Salem, in the fall of 1703. The bell was purchased for a small church at Deerfield, on the Connecticut River, the pastor of which was the Rev. Mr. Williams. The priest of St. Regis heard of the destination of his bell, and, as the Governor of Canada was about to send an expedition, under Major Ronville, against the colonies of New England, he exhorted the Indians to accompany him and get possession of it. Ronville, with 200 French and 142 Indians, arrived near Deerfield in the evening of the 29th of February, 1704. During the night they attacked the unsuspecting villagers, killed 47, and made 112 prisoners. The latter, among whom were the pastor and a part of his family, were taken to Canada. The only house left standing was that of Captain Sheldon, which the assailants themselves occupied in securing their prisoners.


It is still standing, near the center of the village, and is represented in the annexed cut. The bell was conveyed in triumph through the forest to Lake Champlain, to the spot where Burlington now stands, and there they buried it with the benedictions of Father Nicolas, the priest of St. Regis, who accompanied them. Thus far they had carried it, by means of timber, upon their shoulders. They hastened home, and returned in early spring with oxen and sled to convey the sacred bell, now doubly hallowed in their minds, to its destination. The Indians of the village had never heard the sound of a bell, and powerful was the impression upon their minds when its deep tones, louder and louder, broke the silence of the forest as it approached their village at evening, suspended upon a cross piece of timber, and rung continually by the delighted carriers. It was hung in the steeple with solemn ceremony, and there it remains. The polished tin that covers the steeple of the old church was glittering in the last rays of the evening sun as we passed far away on the northern shore.

30 This view was sketched from the steam-boat, when a little below the wind-mill, looking west-northwest. The mill is a strong stone structure, and answered a very good purpose for a fort or block-house. Its narrow windows were used by the patriots as loop-holes for their muskets during the action.

31 See "Theller’s Canada in 1837-8."

32 Fascines, from the Latin fascina, fagot, is a term used in fortifications to denote bundles of fagots, twigs, or branches of trees, which, being mixed with earth, are used for filling up ditches, forming parapets, &c.

33 History of the Late War in North America, &c., by Thomas Mante, major of a brigade in the campaign of 1764; London, 1772.

34 History of Connecticut from 1630 to 1764, by Benjamin Trumbull, D. D.



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