This collection contains 3 letters and a poem related to Major General Richard Montgomery, a native of Ireland who became a Continental Army officer during the American Revolution. The items, 3 of which are addressed to British Army officer Perkins Magra, concern a venereal infection, Montgomery's life as a country farmer in New York in the mid-1770s, and the beginning of the American Revolution.
Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, July 2013
Scope and Content:
The Montgomery collection consists of 3 letters and 1 poem related to Richard Montgomery and his wife, Janet Livingston. Three of the items are addressed to British Army officer Perkins Magra.
In the first letter, dated from Dublin on November 27, , Montgomery complained about a woman whom he claimed had infected him with a venereal disease. In a letter to Magra dated 1774, Montgomery discussed his decision to live in the countryside, and shared his conviction that he would be killed "by a pistol." Montgomery's final letter concerns events in Boston, the widespread political influence of the Second Continental Congress, and George Washington and Charles Lee (July 2, 1775). The collection also contains a narrative poem that Janet Livingston Montgomery wrote for Magra on May 25, 1775, with a brief prose postscript dated June 1, 1775. Montgomery congratulated Magra on his marriage and commented on the Battle of Bunker Hill, her husband's appointment to the provincial congress, and the possibility of war.
Biographical / Historical:
Richard Montgomery was born in Swords, Ireland, on December 2, 1738, the son of Baronet Thomas Montgomery and Mary Franklin. He briefly studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but left in 1756 to join the 17th Regiment of Foot. He served in Canada and the Caribbean during the Seven Years' War and was promoted to captain. Montgomery, who sympathized with North American colonists, moved to rural New York in 1772. He married Janet Livingston in 1773; they moved to Rhinebeck, New York, where Montgomery purchased a mill and planned to build a house. In May 1775, he became a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and he received an appointment as brigadier general in the Continental Army that June. Montgomery became the sole commander of the invasion of Canada, where he oversaw the capture of St. Johns, Chambly, and Montréal. Major General Richard Montgomery was killed during the Battle of Québec on December 31, 1775.
Perkins Magra was a career officer in the British Army. He served in the 16th Regiment of Foot during the Seven Years' War and was later a lieutenant, captain, and brevet major for the 17th Regiment of Foot. After going on half pay in the 88th Regiment of Foot, he served as a household officer for the Duke of Sussex. In 1797, Magra was British consul at Tunis.
1969. M-1474 .
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Rules or Conventions:
Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Additional Descriptive Data:
Items Related to Richard and Janet Livingston Montgomery
The Henry P. Skinner journals mention an honorary salute as Richard Montgomery's remains were transported from Québec to New York.
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University has a collection of Perkins Magra papers.
Nelson, Paul David. "Montgomery, Richard." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000. DOI: 01-00615.
The Royal Kalendar: Or, Complete and Correct Annual Register for England, Scotland, Ireland, and America. For the Year 1797... London: Printed for J. Debrett, .
The Royal Military Calendar, or Army Service and Commission Book. Containing the Services and Progress of Promotion of the Generals, Lieutenant-Generals, Major-Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, and Majors of the Army, According to Seniority: with Details of the Principal Military Events of the Last Century. Third Edition. Volume 5. London: Printed by A. J. Valpy, 1820.
Thomas, George. Fifty Years of My Life. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1876.
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