George Ewing (1754-1824)
Military Experience: American Revolution
On November 11, 1775 at the age of 21, George Ewing enlisted for one year in the 5th Company, 2nd Battilion, 1st Establishment New Jersey Line Continental Troops and served the year on the ill fated expedition of Montgomery against Quebec. The following excerpts about Montgomery’s expedition during the time Ewing served are from “The Fraser Highlanders” by J.R.Harper, published by Museum Restoration Services:
“A two-pronged expedition was planned under Generals Richard Montgomery and Philip Shuyler, to penetrate into Canada via the Richelieu River, capture the forts at St. John, Chambly, and Montreal, and then proceed to Quebec, where they would join up with General Benedict Arnold and his 1100 men. Generals Montgomery and Arnold with 2000 troops arrived in the suburbs of Quebec on 4 December and called upon General Carelton to surrender. He refused and General Carleton had no further discussion with the Americans, who laid siege to the city for the next three weeks.
Eventually Montgomery decided to take the city by storm, as his contract with his men expired at year’s end. On the night of 31 December he moved his men into position off the St. John’s Gate and the northern and southern gates of the Lower Town. Early in the morning of 1 January 1776, Captain Malcolm Fraser, who was field officer of the day, noticed some suspicious signals beyond St. John’s Gate; he turned out the guard and they were fired at by a body of rebels concealed in a snowbank.
General Montgomery led a column of 500 men toward the southern exit of the Lower Town, but the men manning No. 1 Battery were ready. As the Americans rushed forward to attack, the command was given to fire. The head of the column fell under the fatal discharge of grapeshot and muskets. The survivors made a rapid retreat leaving their General and 12 others dead in the snow……
……A large body of troops arrived from England under General Burgoyne and the first division under Brigadier Simon Fraser of Balmain landed at Trois-Rivieres and surprised the retreating Americans, taking 500 prisoners, including their General. The remainder were allowed to escape and retreated to Crowne Point. On 15 June, the British flag was raised again over Montreal, the American invasion of Canada was over. ”
On his discharge in November 1776, he enlisted and served as Sergeant in the 2nd Battilion, Cumberland Co. State Militia, under Captain John Barkar. He participated in the battles of Germantown and Brandywine and spent the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. During this time, he kept a Military Journal, the contents of which have been passed through the generations. In Februrary 1777, he was commissioned as Ensign in the 7th Company, 3rd Battillion, 2nd Establishment, New Jersey Line Continental Troops which was known as Maxwell’s Brigade. This was considered a proud mark of distinction to be placed in the noted corps, the Jersey Blues. He resigned the commission in April 1778 and several weeks later entered Captain Randall’s Company of Artillery — Col. Lamb’s Regiment, the 2nd Regiment of Artillery, Continental Line.