Stories of the Brave
The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, Canada, 1788
Story Truth by Amit Sahoo
Happening Truth by Jaideep Patil
Critique of Painting by Vihas Gowreddy
In this painting, the painter, John Trumbull, uses a variety of techniques to convey and exaggerate the heroic acts by General Montgomery. With dark clouds, the painter conveys the feeling of dread and loss after the battle especially after the death of General Montgomery. While this is seen as a very sad moment, the painting displays the heroic acts of Montgomery with the white light shining down on him through the dark clouds giving the sense of heaven looking down on Montgomery and welcoming him to be one of the select few to reach ultimate salvation.The “light of heaven” is centered on Montgomery making his body the brightest to draw the eyes of the viewers to Montgomery’s body in Aaron Burr’s hands to further draw out from the viewers the feeling that Montgomery is the most heroic on the battlefield and the most worthy to go to heaven. The flags that are held up in the back of the painting are darker and are a more dull color to show that the day that Montgomery died was a day when the American army lost an irreplaceable general and that it was a sad day for America. The factors that led John Trumbull to paint this is the fact that around the time that this painting was made, many revolutions were going on in Europe where John Trumbull made his painting. This painting would invoke emotion by using a martyrdom of the past to show bravery.
Identity of Author by Bryan Lee
John Trumbull was born in 1756 the mid 18th century in Lebanon Connecticut. Both sides of his family were descendants of puritans and wanted John to go into the field or ministry or law. John had other plans and decided to pursue a living in art. After entering Harvard in his junior year at the age of fifteen, John graduated from college and taught in school for a time, continuing his study into painting before the fighting began in the American Revolution.
When the war broke out, Trumbull became a soldier witnessing the some significant battles such as Bunker Hill and was even appointed second personal aide to George Washington himself. Later Trumbull resigned from his post after a dispute about his position and moved to Boston where he began his career as a painter.
In 1779, Trumbull traveled to London where he continued his study of painting under the teachings of Benjamin West. Trumbull was later arrested in 1880 after he was accused of being an American spy. Trumbull was forced to leave London but later returned to complete his studies.
In 1785, visited Paris where he submitted two of his most successful paintings, The Battle of Bunker Hill and The Death of General Montgomery in Quebec. These paintings led to more and more paintings of the Revolutionary War and Trumbull became more well known.
Near the end of his life, Trumbull wrote his autobiography which detailed his early life, studies into art, paintings he made and what he currently was doing, publishing the story in 1841. Trumbull died 2 years later at the age of 87 and was buried on the Yale campus where he still lies today.
General Montgomery led his American brethren towards the stockhouse in Quebec that housed British resistors. Almost immediately after emerging onto the battlefield, Montgomery was spotted and gunned down by grapeshots and musket shots. Many people watched him fall and immediately turned to help him. They attempted to drag his fallen, lifeless body through the snow to give him their own burial and not to abandon his body to the British’s disposal.The valiant Aaron Burr remained behind in the freezing snow and attempted to carry Montgomery’s body to safety. Unfortunately, his attempts were unsuccessful. Montgomery proved to be too burdensome and the British too persisting. Smoke from gunfire muddled the scene, yet soldiers clearly saw the fall and the magnitude of Montgomery’s death.