Colonel Edward Antill
Colonel Edward Antill signature


1775 1776 1777 1778 1779 1780 1781 1782 1783...

Following General Montgomery's death at the siege of Quebec City, Edward Antill is dispatched back to General Schuyler to explain what happened, since he was with the General when he fell. General Schuyler sends him on to brief Congress. Initially fighting with Montgomery as an engineer, Edward Antill is made a Lieutenant Colonel in Hazen's regiment.

While Edward was traveling with the army, his wife Charlotte was in Montreal, probably with her family. Their baby Edward, born in May of 1775, died in Montreal in 1776.

One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 was Lewis Morris, Edward Antill's first cousin. Another Signer was Thomas McKean, later Governor of Pennsylvania, and the brother of Edward's brother-in-law, Reverend Robert McKean, who died at Edward's father's home in 1767, a year and a half after his marriage to Isabel Graham Antill.

Edward Antill to Aaron Burr 5 Jan 1776
General Wooster to General Schuyler 5 Jan 1776
Richard Smith's Diary 18 Jan 1776
John Hancock to Philip Schuyler 20 Jan 1776
Richard Smith's Diary 24 Jan 1776
Richard Smith's Diary 25 Jan 1776

Memoirs of Aaron Burr - Volume 1

La Chine, 5th January, 1776

Dear Burr,

I have desired Mr. Price to deliver you my pistols, which you will keep until I see you. They are relics from my father's family, and therefore I cannot give them to you. The general (Wooster) has thought proper to send me to the Congress, where I shall have an opportunity of speaking of you as you deserve. Yours,
Edward Antill

General Wooster to General Schuyler

Montreal, January 5, 1776


The enclosed letters from Colonel Arnold and Colonel Campbell will inform you of the unhappy fate of our brave and most amiable friend, General Montgomery, who, with his Aid-de-camp, Macpherson, Captain Cheeseman, and several other brave officers and men, gloriously fell in an unfortunate attack on Quebeck?unfortunate, indeed, for in addition to the loss we sustain in the death of the General, one of the bravest men of the age, the flower of the Army at Quebeck were either cut off or taken prisoners. I little expect, with the troops who remain, to be able to continue the siege; in short, our situation in this country is at present, and will be till we have relief from the Colonies, very critical and dangerous. We really have but very few men in the country, and many of those few not to be depended on, as we have too dearly proved.

Mr. Antill, a gentleman from Quebeck, whom General Montgomery appointed as Engineer, I beg leave to recommend to you. He was with the General when he fell, and can give you particulars. He is well acquainted with the country, for which reason I have detailed him to proceed on to you, and so to the Congress, knowing that he will be much better able to inform you and them than I am concerning the state of this country, and what will be necessary to be done; unless we have a number of men thrown into this country as soon as they can possibly get over the lakes on the ice, which I apprehend might be done with sleds, and at the same time forward some powder, as we have but four tons in the country at the several posts. We have but one Artillery company, it will therefore be necessary to supply us with another very soon, or we may possibly not only lose the footing we have here, but perhaps all be sacrificed in the country. There is but little confidence to be placed in the Canadians; they are but a small remove from the savages, and are fond of being of the strongest party.

Give me leave, also, to remind you of what, I dare say, General Montgomery has done, that we are in the greatest need of cash; hard money we shall soon be in the greatest distress for want of, and doubtless the more so, since the check to our arms. Mr. Price has hitherto supplied us; indeed, I know not how we could have subsisted as an army without him; he has already advanced for us about twenty thousand pounds, and assisted us in every way possible. General Montgomery, in his last letter to me, begged that Price might be mentioned in the strongest terms to the Congress.

The necessity of immediate relief, I am sure, will strike your mind very forcibly, when I tell you that our enemies in the country are numerous; the clergy almost universally refuse absolution to those who are our friends, and preach to the people that it is not now too late to take arms against us; that the Bostonians are but a handful of men, which, you know, is too true.

Suppose, Sir, that General Washington should detach a thousand men from his Army, if there are no other troops already raised that can be better spared. Something must be done, and that speedily, or I greatly fear that we are ruined. We have but five or six hundred men for the garrisons of this place, Chambly and St. John's. Many of the troops insist on going home, their times of enlistment being out; some, indeed, have run away, without a pass or dismission, expressly against orders. I have been just informed that a Captain Pratt, of the Second Battalion of Yonkers, has led off his company from St. John's. I have given orders to suffer no men to go out of the country, whether they will enlist or not; the necessity of the case, I believe will justify my conduct. [I shall not be able to spare any men to reinforce Colonel Arnold. This place must be secured for a retreat, if necessary.] I called a council of my officers in this place, who were, to a man, agreed that I ought to remain here. I have, therefore, sent Colonel Clinton with Mr. Price, who, I think, will be of great service to him. God only knows what the event will be. This affair puts a very different face upon our interests in this country; however, we must make the best of it.

I have ordered General Montgomery's papers to be sent to me; when I receive them I shall conform myself to his instructions. I expected you were at Congress, and had prepared to send this melancholy news to General Washington, as well as to you; but the post arriving last night, I find that you were at Albany; therefore, shall take it to you. I most heartily condole with you, with General Montgomery's friends, and with the country, for so great a public loss.

I have the honour to be, your most obedient and very humble servant, David Wooster.

To General Schuyler.

Letters of Delegates to Congress:
Volume: 3 January 1, 1776 - May 15, 1776
Richard Smith's Diary

Thursday 18 Jany. [1776]

The Proceedings read as usual.

A Report was made on Dr. Church. It was opposed and voted out and a Resolve passed that He shall be confined in a more convenient Room and have Liberty to ride out under a Guard.(1) Dr. Smith an Associate to Connolley was brought in Prisoner from Maryland, some of Connolleys Letters written since his Confinement were found on Smith & read & the Prisoner consigned to the Comee. of Safety here. Myself & several of the New Members signed the Engagement, heretofore entered into while I was absent, not to divulge any Thing while under Consideration or any Thing the Congress agrees to keep secret, on Pain of Expulsion.(2)

The Letters recd. Yesterday concerng. the Storm of Quebec were again read(3) and Mr. Antill, Son of the late Hon. Mr. Antill of N Jersey, who brought the Packet, was called in & examined for 2 Hours, he gave a very clear Account of every Circumstance, he was with Gen. Montgy. when he fell. Before this Gentn. came in, Hooper moved in a florid Speech that the Delegates may wear Mourning (a Crape round the left Arm) for One- Month for Montgomery & that Mr. Duche be desired to preach a Sermon, to which Lynch added that a Public Monument be erected to his Memory, the Motions were objected to by Govr. Ward and others on the Ground that no Mourning is ever worn by any Courts on

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JANUARY 19, 1776

such Accounts & that the General is already embalmed in the Heart of every good American and that such Proceeding may cause too much alarm at such a critical Juncture. These reasons had their intended Weight. A Comee. of 5 was chosen to report their Opinion what is best to be done in Respect to the Affairs of Canada.(4) Mr. Burr Son of the late President of Princeton Colledge behaved well, as they say, in the Affair at Quebec, Our Troops have made a Stand about 3 Miles from that City, Antill recommends Capt. Hazen to command a Regiment of Canadians & says these are between Hawk and Buzzard but will generally join our Side if we send a strong Force there immediately.

MS (DC).
1 See Smith's Diary, January 17, 1776, note 1.
2 Congress had adopted a secrecy resolution on November 9, 1775. JCC, 3:342-43.
3 See Smith's Diary, January 17, 1776, note 3.
4 This committee brought in a report on January 19, which was the basis of an extensive series of resolves adopted by Congress on that and the following day. JCC, 4:70-76.

Letters of Delegates to Congress:
Volume: 3 January 1, 1776 - May 15, 1776
John Hancock to Philip Schuyler

Sir,         Philadelphia. Jany. 20t. 1776

On Wednesday Evening Mr. Antill arrived with your Dispatches of the 13t Inst. which were immediately communicated.(1) The Congress sincerely condole with you on the Loss of your amiable Friend, their gallant and much esteemed General. Having conferred with Mr. Antill and duely deliberated on the Situation of our Affairs in that Quarter, they have come to sundry Resolutions, which I have the Honour to inclose, and which you will please to communicate with the utmost Dispatch to General Wooster as far as they relate to the Defence of Canada or are necessary for his Direction.(2) The Congress rely with Confidence that he will exert his best Endeavors to keep up the Spirit of his Troops especially when you assure him that every Means will be used with all possible Expedition to succour and support him.

The Batallions from Pennsylvania and New Jersey which were under marching Orders will set forward the Beginning of next Week, and Dispatches are sent to General Washington and to the Colonies of Connecticut and New Hampshire to hasten up Troops from thence. Enclosed are a Number of Commissions for the Batallions to be raised in Canada, which you will cause to be filled up with the Names

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JANUARY 20, 1776

of such as you shall deem most suitable. As General Montgomery to whom it was left to recommend proper persons is now no more, you will endeavor to find out the most accomplished and suitable Men for the Canadian Regiments, and such as have an Influence in that Country and are best attached to our Cause. Jany 21st. The Companies of the Pennsylvania Batallions will begin their March to Morrow to you.
I am with the utmost Respect Sir, Your obedient humble Servant,
John Hancock president

Tr (NN).
1 See JCC, 4:64. Schuyler's letter is in PCC, item 153, 1 :396-98; and Am. Archives 4th ser. 4:666-67.
2 See JCC, 4:70-71, 73-76.

Letters of Delegates to Congress:
Volume: 3 January 1, 1776 - May 15, 1776
Richard Smith's Diary

Wednesday 24 January [1776]

I was in Congress. A State of the late Action at Quebec was laid before the House and ordered to be published.(1) 1000 Dollars advanced to Carpenter Wharton the Commissary who goes with the Troops to Albany. A Motion was made by Edwd. Rutledge to appoint a War Office and its Business defined, which was argued and a Comee. of 7 chosen to consider the Plan.(2) Most of the Day was spent on a proposal to address the People of America our Constituents deducing the Controversy ab Initio and informing them of our Transactions and of the present State of Affairs, much was said about Independency and the Mode and Propriety of stating our Dependance on the King, a Comee. was appointed to draw the Address.(3)

W[illiam] Livingston reported an Address to the Canadians which was agreed to with Some Alteration and ordered to be translated into French and printed.

Edwd. Antill (made Lt. Col. to Hazens Regiment) was desired to take 1000 in hard Money with Him to the Gen. in Canada. It was agreed to advance to Mr. Hazen 200 to be deducted from the Amount of his Losses, & to allow something to Him and Antill for their Expences in coming down & going back.

Brig. Prescott being expected in Town to night an Order passed to keep Him under Guard till Tomorrow. Col. De Haas who supplies the Place of Bull in the first Pennsa. Battalion made Return of what Arms are wanting for his Men whereupon it was recommended to the City Comee. to procure all the Arms they can for the Soldiers about to march to Canada. Govr. Ward shewed me a Recommendatory Letter from a Canadian Seigneur, a Captive here, in Favor of the Govrs. Son now a Prisoner in Quebec.

MS (DC).
1 For the text of this statement, see JCC, 4:82-84.
2 This committee submitted its report to Congress on April 18, and Congress approved it on June 12, 1776, leading to the creation of the Board of War. JCC, 4:85, 215, 293, 5:434-35.
3 On this point, see also Smith's Diary, January 9, 1776, note 3

Letters of Delegates to Congress:
Volume: 3 January 1, 1776 - May 15, 1776
Richard Smith's Diary

Thursday 25 Jany. [1776]

The Votes of Yesterday read. 4000 Dollars ordered to be sent by the Return of Prescott's Guard, to the Comee. of Safety of our Colony for purchasing Arms for Maxwells Men. Letters were recd. from Lancaster, Gen. Washington and others, some of them committed to a Comee.(1) A Petition was read from Matthias Aspden for Permission to loan a French Vessel with Produce, it was referred to a Comee.(2) A Comee. was elected for and reported a Conference with Gen. Prescott & Capt. Chase relative to Prescotts Cruelty to Col. Ethan Allen & others, he pleads the Commands of Carlton his Superior Officer.

The same Comee. enquired of Col. Antill who charges Prescott with great Malevolence & bad Behavior to our People, the Matter is to be further sifted.(3) A Comee. was appointed for and reported a Conversation with Col. Hazen about his Parole of not serving agt. the King, this from the Circumstances of it, was thot. void and Hazen reappointed Col. & Edwd. Antill Lt. Col. Of the 2d Battalion of Canadians.

James Mease was chosen a Commissary to the Troops raised and to be raised in Pennsa. for the Continental Service. Gen. Washn. inclosed some late English Newspapers in his Letter and informs of the British Troops meeting a Storm and putting back to Milford Haven. His own Army is much in Want of Money and Powder and other Military Stores. 10,000 Dollars voted on Account, to the Troops in North Carolina. 2 or 3 Ships of War are fitting out there for our Service accordg to Report.(4) The Comee. of Safety in N Jersey are desired to forward the Captive Officers Baggage from Walpack to Lancaster. A Report from a Comee. was agreed to purporting that Dr. Franklin shall procure from France or elsewhere a Monument to the Value of 300, this Cur[renc]y, for Gen. Montgomery and that Dr. Wm. Smith Provost of the College be desired to compose an Oration in Praise of the Gen. to be delivered in Presence of the Congress.

MS (DC).
1 Washington's letter to Hancock of January 14 is in PCC, item 152, 1:415-17 and Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 4:237-39.

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