"Great generals are scarce--there are few Morgans around."
- Nathanael Greene
Between the Wars: 1763-1774
In 1763-64, Daniel Morgan served as a lieutenant defending against Pontiac's Conspiracy. By 1774, he owned 255 acres on which he prospered at farming. He also owned ten slaves and had become a captain of militia. In 1774, he went to war, fighting for the British in Lord Dunmore's War against the Shawnee Indians. He served for five months, leading his company deep into the hostile Ohio country.
Revolutionary War: 1775
Following Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the raising of ten rifle companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia in June. Virginia raised two companies. Captain Daniel Morgan was chosen to lead one of the companies on June 22, 1775. He raised ninety-six men in ten days. On July 15, Morgan and his company set out from Winchester, Virginia and arrived in Boston on August 6, 1775.
When Congress decided to invade Canada, it was decided that three rifle companies would accompany Colonel Benedict Arnold on the expedition. Captain Morgan's company won one of the selections by lots. Arnold then named Morgan commander of all three rifle companies for the duration of the expedition. As the expedition set out from Maine, Morgan was chosen to lead the advance party after he and the other rifle companies refused to serve under militia Lt. Colonel Christopher Greene, a distant relative of Nathanael Greene.
The expedition left Fort Western on September 25 and arrived at Point Levis across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City on November 10, 1775. On November 13, Colonel Arnold crossed the river. Captain Morgan sent out a scouting party that reported no British sentries. Morgan favored an immediate attack and Arnold agreed. But a carelessly lit campfire drew a British patrol boat and the Americans were discovered. On November 15, Captain Morgan and Colonel Arnold almost came to blows over daily rations for the men. Morgan felt that a pint of flour per man was not enough. The two men had tempers and the exchange grew heated. Even so, the men respected one another and would later work well together at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Even after Arnold's treason, Morgan continued to speak fondly of him.
With the element of surprise was gone, Colonel Arnold withdrew about twenty miles from Quebec and waited for Maj. General Richard Montgomery to arrive from Montreal. On December 3, Montgomery arrived with only 350 men. On December 5, they attempted a siege that Lt. General Guy Carleton easily rebuffed. Because their enlistments ran out on December 31, Montgomery and Arnold had to act soon. They devised a plan to attack under the cover of a snowstorm. After a near miss on December 27, that snowstorm arrived on the night of December 30. At 2:00 A.M. on December 31, 1775, Montgomery gave the signal to launch the attack on Quebec. While he attacked from the northeastern side of the city, Arnold attacked from the southwestern side. They planned to overwhelm Lower Town, meet and attack Upper Town, which was well fortified and where Carleton's British troops were concentrated.
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