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Article: The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775 (Painting)

The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775 (Painting)

The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775 (Painting)

Artwork available to Buy as a Digital Print

Artist John Trumbull's 1786 painting depicts American General Richard Montgomery at the Battle of Quebec during the invasion of Quebec in the American Revolutionary War.

According to Wikipedia: General Richard Montgomery is shown in full military uniform, illuminated in the middle of the painting, having been fatally wounded by grapeshot and supported by Matthias Ogden. In front of them are two of Montgomery's aides-de-camp, Captains Jacob Cheeseman, and John MacPherson, both dead, lying in the snow, near a broken cannon. Behind Montgomery and Ogden are Lieutenant Samuel Cooper and Lieutenant Colonel Donald Campbell.

To the left are Lieutenant John Humphries and Oneida chief Joseph Louis Cook (also known as "Colonel Joseph Louis"), shown with raised tomahawk. Major Return Jonathan Meigs with Captains Samuel Ward and William Hendricks are in the left foreground shown in shock at Montgomery's death. On the far right is Colonel William Thompson of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.

Art historian Paul Staiti notes that Ogden was with Benedict Arnold attacking a different part of the city during the battle and that Aaron Burr, Montgomery's aide-de-camp, should have been depicted instead. Historian Nancy Isenberg notes evidence that Burr had attempted to retrieve the general's body, but also notes doubts about its accuracy.

Trumbull described the scene in the catalogue for his exhibited works at Yale University in 1835: Grief and surprise mark the countenances of the various characters. The earth covered with snow - trees stripped of their foliage - the desolation of winter, and the gloom of night, heighten the melancholy character of the scene. 

The painting is now on view at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Download the Keys to John Trumbull's American Revolution Paintings (to view the name and location of each person depicted in the composition).

Artist: John Trumbull
Date: 1786
Location: Quebec
Original medium: Oil on canvas
Orientation: Horizontal/Landscape
Image restored & enhanced by Rebel Seed Studio