previous next

Montreal, massacre at

On July 12, 1689, about 1,200 of the Five Nations (see Iroquois Confederacy) invaded the island of Montreal, burned all the plantations, and murdered men, women, and children. This event threw the whole French colony into consternation. It was reported that 1,000 of the French were slain during the invasion, besides twenty-six carried into captivity and burned alive. It was this massacre that the French sought to avenge the next year, when Frontenac sent into the Mohawk country the mongrel party that destroyed Schenectady, and two others which attacked Salmon Falls and Casco, in Maine. Sir William Phipps having been successful in an expedition against Port Royal, Acadia, in 1690, a plan for the conquest of Canada was speedily arranged. A fleet under Phipps proceeded against Quebec, and colonial land forces were placed under the supreme command of Fitz-John Winthrop, son of Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut. Milborne, son-in-law of Leisler, undertook, as commissary, to provide and forward subsistence for the march. Colonel Schuyler with a party of Mohawks, the van of the expedition, pushed forward towards the St. Lawrence, but was repulsed by Frontenac (August). The remainder of the troops did not proceed farther than Lake George, where they were stopped by a deficiency of provisions and the prevalence of the smallpox. Mutual recriminations followed, and Leisler actually caused Winthrop's arrest. The latter charged the failure to Milborne, who, it was alleged, had failed to furnish needed provisions and transportation. In 1711, within a fortnight after Colonel Nicholson had given notice [253] of an intended expedition against Canada, New York and the New England colonies were busy in preparations for the movement. Massachusetts issued bills of credit amounting to about $200,000 to guarantee bills drawn on the imperial treasury; New York issued bills to the amount of $50,000 to defray the expenses of her share of the enterprise; and Pennsylvania, under the name of a present

View of Montreal and its walls in 1760 (from an old French print).

to the Queen, contributed $10,000 towards the expedition. About 1,800 troops—the quotas of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey—assembled at Albany with the intention of attacking Montreal simultaneously with the appearance of the fleet from Boston before Quebec. Nicholson was in general command; and at Albany he was joined by 500 warriors of the Five Nations and 1,000 palatines, chiefly from the Mohawk Valley, making the whole force about 4,000 strong. Nicholson was assisted by Colonels Schuyler, Whiting, and Ingoldsby, and on Aug. 28 they began their march for Canada. At Lake George, Nicholson heard of the miscarriage of the naval expedition, and returned to Albany, abandoning the enterprise.

In 1775, when the republicans invaded Canada, General Carleton was in command of a few troops at Montreal. With about 800 men he marched to the relief of the garrison at St. John, after he heard of the capture of Chambly. He crossed the St. Lawrence in small boats, and when about to land at Longueil was attacked by Col. Seth Warner and about 300 Green Mountain Boys, and driven back in great confusion. The news of this repulse caused the speedy surrender of St. John, when Montgomery pressed on towards Montreal. Carleton, knowing the weakness of the fort, at once retreated on board a vessel of a small fleet lying in the river, and attempted to flee to Quebec with the garrison. Montgomery entered Montreal without opposition, and sent a force under Colonel Easton to intercept the intending fugitives. He hastened to the mouth of the Sorel with troops, cannon, and armed gondolas. The British fleet could not pass, and Prescott, several other officers, members of the Canadian Council, and 120 private soldiers, with all the vessels, were surrendered. Carleton escaped. Then Montgomery wrote to the Congress, “Until Quebec is taken Canada is unconquered.” Leaving Wooster in command at Montreal, Montgomery then pushed on towards Quebec. See Montgomery, Richard; Quebec.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1775 AD (1)
1760 AD (1)
1711 AD (1)
1690 AD (1)
July 12th, 1689 AD (1)
August 28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: