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CHAP. V. the armed vessels at St. Johns from entering 1775. the latter, a boom was drawn across the chan
nel which is narrow at that place.
General Schuyler, who had been for some time much indisposed, became now so excessively ill, as to be unable to leave his bed; and the command devolved on Montgomery.
Mr. Livingston, a gentleman residing on the river Chambleé, who was very strongly attached to the American cause, and had rendered it great service, pressed so earnestly for a detach. ment from the army, to cut off the communi. cation between St. Johns and La Prairie, that a party was ordered out for that service. But it was seized with one of those panics to which raw troops are peculiarly liable, and without having seen any real danger, they fled precipitately back to camp.
Livingston, in the mean time, counting on the aid for which he had applied, had assembled about three hundred Canadian volunteers, and grew extremely apprehensive of being left exposed to the whole force of the enemy.
Montgomery flattered himself that his troops, ashamed of their late misconduct, were determined to retrieve their reputation; and as the artillery and expected re-enforcements had now
arrived, he again embarked his army consistSept. 25. ing of not quite two thousand men, on the Siege of Sorel, and proceeded to invest fort St. Johns.
This place was garrisoned by five or six hun
dred regulars, with about two hundred Canadian CHAP. V. militia, and was well provided with artillery 1775. and military stores. The army of Canada, as well as the other armies of the United Colonies, was almost entirely without powder; and of consequence, the siege progressed slowly. Their necessities in this respect were fortu. October. nately relieved by the capture of fort Chambleé, Capture of which being supposed to be covered by fort St. Johns, was not in a defensible condition. This post was suddenly attacked, and carried by a detachment consisting of about fifty United Colonists under major Brown, and three hundred Canadians under major Livingston. The garrison became prisoners of war, and some pieces of artillery were taken; but the most valuable acquisition made at this place, was about one hundred and twenty barrels of gun powder, which enabled the American general to proceed with vigour againsť St. Johns. Though the only person in his camp possessing any military experience, he was overruled in his plans by his field officers; and with extreme mortification declared in one of his letters to general Schuyler, that the place could not be taken until it should surrender for want of provisions; and that, if he did not fear the public service might suffer, he would not stay October 13. one hour longer at the head of troops whose operations he could not direct. The garrison defended themselves with resolution, and in
CHAP.V. dulged for some time the hope of being 1775. relieved.
Colonel M-Clean, a veteran officer, had exerted himself to raise a Scotch regiment, under the title of royal highland emigrants, to be composed of the natives of that country, who had lately arrived in America, and who, in consequence of the troubles, had not obtained settlements. With these and a few hundred Canadians, the colonel was posted near the junction of the Sorel with the St. Lawrence; general Carleton was at Montreal, where with great difficulty he had collected about a thou. sand men, chiefly Canadians. Among them were some regulars and volunteers, and several British officers. At the head of these troops he hoped to effect a junction with M-Clean after which he designed to march with his whole force against Montgomery, and endeavour to raise the siege; but on attempting to cross over from Montreal, he was encountered and entirely defeated at Longueisle by a detachment of the American troops under colonel Warner. Another party advanced on M-Clean who, being entirely abandoned by his Canadians, so soon as they were informed of the defeat of the governor, and having also received information that Arnold was approaching point Levy, precipitately retreated to Quebec. The
Carleton defeated at Longueisle.
P Annual Register.
Americans occupied the post he had abandoned CHAP. V. and immediately erected batteries on a point 1775. of land at the junction of the Sorel with the St. Lawrence, where they also constructed several armed rafts and floating batteries, to prevent Carleton with the vessels at Montreal from escaping down the river.
Montgomery, who, notwithstanding the difficulties he experienced from his troops, was pressing the siege of St. Johns with great vigour, had advanced his works very near the fort, when the account of the success at Longueisle reached him. On receipt of this intelligence, he permitted one of the prisoners to go into the fort, with whom he sent in a flag, and a letter to major Preston, the commanding officer, requiring him to surrender, and thereby prevent the further effusion of blood, which must necessarily be occasioned by a fruitless and obstinate resistance. All hopes of relief having now vanished, and having endeavoured St. Johns in vain to obtain some delay, the garrison – capitulated, on being allowed, in consideration of their brave defence of the place, the honours of war.
Scarcely was this first success obtained when the fatal consequences of short inlistments began to discover themselves. The time of service for which the troops had engaged being now near expiring, great difficulty was experienced in prevailing on them to proceed further,
CHAP. y. and the general was under the necessity of 1775. stipulating explicitly, that all who wished it,
should be discharged at Montreal, before he could induce them even to march against that place. Having effected this compromise with them, he proceeded against Montreal, while his floating batteries, under colonel Easton, advanced up the St. Lawrence, and not only effectually prevented the armed vessels of the enemy from making the escape they had projected to Quebec, but drove them from their
anchors still higher up the river. Montreal Montreal was not in a condition to be
defended. Montgomery, after engaging to allow the Canadians their own laws, the free
exercise of their religion, and the privilege of November13. governing themselves, took peaceable posses
sion of the town; and governor Carleton retired to his flotilla. While preparations were making to attack the vessels with the floating batteries under colonel Easton, aided by some boats from Montreal carrying a few field pieces, and their destruction was considered as certain, the governor was conveyed in a boat with muffled oars down the river, in a dark night, and made his escape to Quebec. The fleet soon afterwards surrendered, and the general prepared, with the utmost expedition, to proceed with the few troops who were willing to follow him, to the capital of Canada.