Morton: Montgomery among first American martyrs
On this day (Dec. 31) in 1775, American Gen. Richard Montgomery, in an ill-advised assault on the British stronghold of Quebec City, was killed (age 37), thus becoming one of the first (along with Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed in the June 17, 1775, Battle of Bunker Hill) American heroes or martyrs of the Revolutionary War.
Convinced that the largely French-speaking population of Canada was just waiting to be “liberated” from British rule, the Continental Congress ordered Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler of New York (1733-1804) to lead an invasion of Canada. However, when forced to retire from active service because of serious ill health, Schuyler relinquished command of the invasion force to Brigadier General Montgomery, who, interestingly, was unaware that he had been promoted to major general just 22 days before his untimely death.
Born Dec. 2, 1738, in Convoy House, Donegal, Ireland, to former British army officer and member of the Irish Parliament Thomas Montgomery, young Richard was well educated, attending St. Andrews (1752-1754) and Trinity College, Dublin (1754-1756).
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