The Battle of Quebec 1775
War: American Revolution
Date: 31st December 1775
Place: Quebec , Canada.
Combatants: American troops attacked a force comprised of
British recruits and Canadian volunteers.
Death of General Montgomery during the attack on Quebec
Generals: The Governor of Canada, Guy Carleton and Colonel
Allen Maclean commanded the British forces and Major General Benedict
Arnold and Brigadier Richard Montgomery commanded the American troops.
Montgomery was a half pay British officer.
Size of the armies: Around 1,200 on each side.
Uniforms, arms and equipment: Each side wore whatever clothing was
available to them, other than the small party of British recruits who
may have been in uniform. Weapons were muskets and a few bayonets. The
British had the benefit of the heavy guns on the city’s
Winner: The British and Canadian garrison drove off the
American attack and ended the threat to the British control of Canada.
British Regiments: It is unknown which regiments were
represented in the garrison.
While General Washington with the Continental Army
was blockading Boston, Montgomery led an attack up the Lake Champlain
route into Canada while Arnold took his force across country through
Maine. The purpose of the invasion of Canada was in part to bring the
Canadian population into the war on the American side.
Fort St John and Montreal were captured by the Americans. In late
October 1775 Arnold arrived on Point Levis across the St Lawrence from
Quebec , having lost a substantial part of his force on the punishing
journey from New England. Maclean, hearing of Arnold’s arrival, force
marched his recruits from Sorel to Quebec , being joined later by
On 13th November 1775 Arnold took his force across the St Lawrence,
climbed onto the Plains of Abraham and summoned the garrison to
surrender or come out and fight. The garrison did neither. Arnold
launched a night attack that was beaten back.
On 31st December 1775, with the addition of Montgomery’s troops,
Arnold launched night attacks at either end of the city in a
snowstorm. The garrison alerted by premature feint attacks on other
parts of the city perimeter. Montgomery’s assault was repelled with
heavy grapeshot and Montgomery was killed. Arnold’s attack penetrated
the city wall but he was wounded. Maclean arrived from dealing with
Montgomery’s assault and led the counter attack. The American troops
who had penetrated the walls were captured and the assault was driven
Casualties: British and Canadian losses were 20. The
American losses were around 500.
Follow-up: Following the battle the Americans withdrew from
Canada and no further serious attempt to bring the Canadian population
into the war on the American side was made.
The Battle for Quebec
- History of the British Army by Sir John Fortescue
- The War of the Revolution by Christopher Ward