Invasion of Canada (1775)

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American Attack on Quebec. Routes of the Arnold Expedition and the march of Montgomery.

The Invasion of Canada in 1775-1776 was the first, and perhaps the only major initiative by the Americans during the Revolutionary War. After some early success by revolutionary forces, British and Canadian forces totally defeated the invasion. The United States made several other attempts to invade Canada during the War of 1812 which also failed.


The conflict phase of the American Revolution began with the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775. After that the British Army was bottled up in the Siege of Boston, royal governors were being forced to leave the other British colonies, and the American Congress had created the Continental Army. Congress sought a way to seize the initiative.

Several times during the French and Indian Wars the British colonies had either fought in Canada or been subjected to northern and western pressure from Indians supplied and provoked by the French. Congress authorized General Philip Schuyler, commander of the Northern Department to mount an invasion to drive British forces from Canada. He sent General Richard Montgomery north with an invasion force. General Washington also sent Benedict Arnold towards Quebec with a supporting force.

The Invasion

American forces took the north end of Lake Champlain and Montreal. By the end of 1775, they controlled the St. Lawrence River above Quebec, and had laid siege to the city and Canada's governor Guy Carleton. But this was the high water mark of the attack.

In a last desperate effort to take Quebec, they launched the Battle of Quebec (1775) and were soundly defeated. Montgomery was killed, Arnold was injured, Daniel Morgan and Ethan Allen were captured. When General John Thomas arrived to take command and replace Montgomery, he found the army severely weakened by the march north of the Arnold Expedition, smallpox, and the harsh Canadian winter. He immediately began a withdrawal.

In 1776, British forces in Canada were strengthened by troops under General John Burgoyne and Hessian mercenaries. The new American commander General Thomas died of smallpox. With the additional troops, Carleton drove the Americans all the way back to Fort Ticonderoga in New York state.

This article is an outline of the invasion that needs expansion, with links to more places, battles, and people. You can help Wikipedia to complete it by clicking on Edit this von Kanada (1775)


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