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Subject: Montcalm's early success (and later defeats) in the F&I War rss

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Mark Johnson
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Santa Clarita
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More than one source I've read describe the arrival of Montcalm in New France as transformative to the military fortunes of the French against the English...at least until the Annus Mirabilis of 1759 that marked a turning point. Then Montcalm suffered withdrawals or defeats leading to the surrender of Quebec and his own death in battle.

What was it about his early successes? The taking of Fort Oswego showed leadership & initiative. The surrender of Fort William Henry more of the same, I guess. Then there's the miraculous defense of Fort Carillon against significantly superior English numbers, using a tactic that would later fail him at Quebec. Though perhaps this last owes as much to poor English leadership that it does to French command.

By the end of the war I think it's fair to say that he suffered from far less support from the home country (troops, supplies) than his opponents under Pitt's government enjoyed. In those earlier years, though, what did he bring to the war?
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Bill Eldard
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Burke
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Forts Oswego (1756) and Wiliam Henry (1757) were both sieges in which the British -- still more provincials than regulars -- showed little enthusiasm to relieve the besieged outpost.

As you noted, the French victory at Carillon (1758) was more attributable to the incompetence of Abercrombie than the brilliance of Montcalm, though the Marquis was a better general than Abercrombie.

So I would say that Montcalm probably looks better than he was because of the lesser British commanders he faced.
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Michael
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Fred Anderson's Crucible of War devotes some pages to Montcalm...that might be one source to check.
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Rory McAllister
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Any discussion of Montcalm during his time in New France has to include his long-running feud with Governor-General Vaudreuil. Vaudreuil twice wrote letters to the King demanding Montcalm’s removal and for his troubles, Montcalm was made Commander-in-Charge of all forces (both French and Canadian) for the duration of the war. To a Canadian like Vaudreuil, that was a hard pill to swallow and he undermined Montcalm any chance he could.

There is a reason why there are numerous statues of Montcalm in France and almost none in Canada. It seems Montcalm felt the same way about the Canadians as Wolfe felt about the Americans. They were fodder and not much more.
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