The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775 Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

Here Trumbull memorializes the death of a hero of the American campaign against the British in Canada. The diagonal composition, contrasts of light and dark, use of blazing colors, and depiction of action close to the picture surface all heighten the drama. Major General Richard Montgomery had tried to enter Quebec during a blizzard, but after part of his army deserted, British and Canadian troops ambushed the Americans. Wounded by a cannon blast, Montgomery dies in the arms of Matthias Ogden. The snow-covered earth, trees stripped bare of their foliage, and gloom of night underscore the American soldiers’ grief and shock.


Oil on canvas


24 5/8 × 37 in. (62.5 × 94 cm)

Credit Line

Trumbull Collection

Accession Number



18th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Trumbull Collection, to 1832; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 15, 87, 89, no. 32, ill
  • James D. Drake, The Nation's Nature: How Continental Presumptions Gave Rise to the United States of America (Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Press, 2011), 193, fig. 28
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 20, 25, 84–85, no. 32, ill
  • Christopher Hibbert, Redcoats and Rebels (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword Military, 2008), ill
  • Wayne E. Lee, "From Gentility to Atrocity: The Continental Army's Ways of War," Army History 62 (Winter 2006), cover, 4, ill
  • Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground (United States of America: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), 13, ill
  • David McCullough, 1776 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), 82-83, ill
  • Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 17–18, fig. 14
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 10,36, 53, pl. 7, fig. 18
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