In a battle fought over this cold northern fortress on December 31, 1775, Aaron Burr proved his bravery. Burr, just nineteen and eager to make a name for himself, had recently joined the expeditionary force led by General Richard Montgomery. Their plan was to seize the heavily fortified British stronghold at Quebec and break England's grip on Canada.
Outnumbered and outgunned, the American force of some 1,675 attacked and was utterly defeated. A large number of the Colonial soldiers were captured. Among those killed in the assault was General Montgomery, who was one of the men in the front ranks.
At great risk to his own life, Burr attempted to carry Montgomery's body away from the fort. Burr's conspicuous bravery hastened his elevation to the rank of lieutenant colonel, but due in part to George Washington's animosity toward him, Burr would never rise to the rank he felt he deserved.