Naval Manument Tripoli Fieldguide to U.S. Public Monuments and Memorials Cabrillo
Monument Detail

On the Monument Detail page, the program will automatically place you in the Abbreviated database.
You may switch to another database at any time by clicking on the desired tab in the menu bar below.
Abbreviated Extended Complete Print
Montgomery Monument St. Paul’s
Town, State
New York, NY
ID #
Compilation Date (Initial)
January 25, 2003
Compilation Date (Latest)
November 26, 2011
Site Worked Last
March 30, 2014
The memorial honors General Richard Montgomery, killed in battle at Quebec, Canada, December 31, 1775. Situated in the City of New York, the remembrance by its presence, form, words and symbols displays an aborning nation’s appreciation and respect for a senior field officer’s having made the supreme sacrifice while leading colonial military forces in an early battle of America’s war for independence from Great Britain. In addition, the memorial seeks “to inspire posterity with an emulation of (Montgomery’s) illustrious actions.” The sculpture appears to be the first authorized and executed public monument sponsored by the American colonies’ government-in-formation, its Continental Congress. Montgomery’s life path to commemoration was swift – dying young at only 37, not unlike Joseph Warren (Bunker Hill, IDs #1871, #1874, #1875) and Nathan Hale (New York, ID #1292). Montgomery’s journey was also tangled and convoluted. He was born in Swords, County Dublin, Ireland, December 2, 1738, his father a member of the Irish Parliament and a baronet. After two years at Trinity College, Dublin, Montgomery changed direction and joined the British military. He fought successfully during the French and Indian War with the 17th Regiment of Foot – in America! The Treaty of Paris, signed 1763, concluded this War, during which Montgomery had been promoted from ensign to lieutenant, then to captain. It was during this conflict that by happenstance he made his first acquaintance of Janet Livingston. The Livingston line in New York is long and prominent. Montgomery returned to Great Britain, only later, after being disappointed, first, by the military relative to advancement and, then, by a love interest, relative to advancement as well, he emigrated to New York, about 1773. He took up residence, and then married Janet Livingston; they settled into her residence near Rhinebeck, New York. During early 1775 conditions between colonists and the British continued to deteriorate, particularly in Massachusetts Bay colony, where fighting erupted at Lexington and Concord (April 19) and Bunker Hill (June 17). On June 15 George Washington was appointed by Congress commander-in-chief of a new, Continental army; he in turn appointed eight brigadier generals, Montgomery among them, on June 22; and, within days Montgomery began preparing at Washington’s direction for an invasion of Canada, to fight against his former countrymen. This Quebec siege, by then-Colonel (later Brigadier General) Benedict Arnold against upper Quebec and by Montgomery against the lower Quebec town, would end poorly. On December 31st with Montgomery leading his troops, storming the town, he was hit point-plank and killed, by grape and canister shot. (Here, generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold fought together, side-by-side for the new nation in freezing snow, under bleak and dire circumstances. Yet how Arnold went from American to British life with its outcome in comparison and in contrast to how Montgomery moved from British to American life with its outcome – these are similarities with vast distinctions.) Montgomery died on the field of battle. George Washington and the Continental Congress – on December 9, only weeks before Montgomery’s death and unknown to him – had for stellar performance promoted him to Major, from Brigadier, General. He was known to and respected by his British opponents, of course, and was buried with respect and honor in the city of Quebec, January 4, 1776. Some 42 years later his remains were disinterred, June 16, 1818, and returned to the City of New York via the Hudson River by ship. He was re-interred before many admirers and well-wishers in St. Paul’s Chapel, July 8, near the cenotaph, already in place, that remembers and honors him.

• This monument was designed and created by Paris sculptor Jean-Jacques Caffieri (1725-1792), in 1777; it was installed about a decade later in the City of New York under the direction of engineer and architect Pierre L’Enfant (1754-1825) with construction support, it appears, from City craftsmen and laborers. The monument’s neoclassical design initially took the form of a cenotaph as Montgomery’s body would lay buried in Quebec for 42 years. The sculpture’s 18th century creation, as amended, of marble and limestone includes these integrated program components (after Craven and also Reynolds): two brackets of stone support an altar; a column of highly polished blue, red, cream and pink marble extends upward from the altar, on top of which rests a funerary urn (originally marble, currently limestone); palm branches stand on one side of the variegated column and military prizes on the other; finally, behind these devices stands a pyramid. In an article about the monument’s anticipated 2011 renovation appearing on Trinity Wall Street’s website, the work’s historical context is characterized, in part, as follows: “The baroque and rococo style…depicts the General’s virtues rather than his physical form. Various trophies symbolize liberty, strength, chivalry and martyrdom….” On the monument’s lower front there are two plaques, both engraved stone works; one, the upper, a Federal government initiative was apparently added upon monument installation while the lower plaque New York State must have added once the general’s body was re-interred at the Chapel. The wording of this lower, state plaque seems to be an abbreviated version of language evidently inscribed on a silver plate situated on Montgomery’s coffin, which a viewer cannot see; according to Lossing (Field-Book, Vol. I, p. 201), this reads: “The state of New York, in honor of general Richard Montgomery, who fell gloriously fighting for the independence and liberty of the United States before the walls of Quebec, the 31st of December, 1775, caused these remains of the distinguished hero to be conveyed from Quebec, and deposited, on the 8th day of July (1818), in St. Paul’s Church, in the city of New York, beneath the monument erected to his memory by the United States.” Sculptor Jean-Jacques Caffieri was an Italian whose grandfather, father and older brother were also well known sculptors, all active in France. Jean-Jacques, indeed, was serving as sculptor to King Louis XV when the Montgomery commission was extended to him by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s legislative instructions were that a monument should be acquired from Paris, or any other part of France, and its price should not exceed “three hundred Pounds sterling.” (Obviously, a British sculptor would not do – Joseph Wilton, for example, who already had two in New York with a copy of one in Charleston (see ID #s 1369, 1370, 1371), or Richard Hayward, with one at Williamsburg (see ID # 1372). In addition, the Congress had limited cash and credit.) Such thin direction however implied important, unsettled questions for an artist: is the setting indoors or out; where, indeed, is the setting -- in which colony and city, at a locale or site in what expected area? Be that as it may, according to Craven (p. 50) Caffieri “exhibited his design of the monument at the Paris Salon of 1777.” (At this same Salon, perhaps completing the circle, Caffieri also displayed his portrait bust, modeled from life, of Benjamin Franklin.) Caffieri completed the Montgomery monument by 1778, and subsequently shipped it (packed in nine (NPS says eight) creates) from Paris to North America via La Havre, France. Notably, however, a war was underway at the time: the American Revolution stood in the way of the commemorative process. The crated monument, when finally available and ready for installation in New York, in May, 1787, had come from the sculptor with instructions for assembling its several pieces. (This is new-found information, from Professor Sally Webster, author of a forthcoming book entitled "Nation's First Monument and the Origins of Public Commemoration in America.") Supervising the assembly of the Caffieri sculpture, surely using its enclosed instructions, was engineer/architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant.

L’Enfant’s Continental Army days had ended with an honorable discharge in January, 1784. The tour of duty had placed him in direct and continuing contact with George Washington, and now he was working in New York on projects associated with the city’s soon becoming the nation’s first, if temporary, national capital.(He focused particularly on one called Federal Hall, formerly City Hall (see ID #s 105, 1299, 1302, 1303)). A little later still, and again working with Washington, L’Enfant would design the recently approved Federal capital city, Washington, District of Columbia, the permanent capitol of the U.S. The Montgomery memorial installation presented L’Enfant with a second opportunity to contribute to its erection. The monument’s being installed within the east-facing, or Broadway, exterior window-wall of St. Paul’s Chapel offered opportunities, but from the interior of the chapel, the arrangement enforced upon the sanctuary the unfinished backside of the monument, compromising the sanctuary’s presentation. To address this distraction, L’Enfant created a piece of work, “a wooden sculpture to mask the monument’s back,” states a writing on Trinity Wall Street’s website, that at once fit appropriately into the window and at the same time concealed Caffieri’s pillar. This writing, continuing, describes the L’Enfant work: “…the sculpture outlines Caffieri’s work with ‘an eagle [drawing] back the American flag from the Western Hemisphere, which is illumined by the 13 rays of the rising sun, while below a weeping cupid among the clouds with inverted torch mourns the hero who fought for this new found world of freedom.’ ” This was in 1787. Interestingly, the Oxford American National Biography Online entry for L’Enfant in noting his first American architectural undertaking, in Philadelphia, writes: “Descriptions of its interior focused on its allegorical symbolism, the rising sun and thirteen stars representing America at one end of the room and the sun at its zenith representing France at the opposite end.” This effort was five years earlier, in 1782. (The facade location for the monument at this time, 1787, would have preceded the construction of the Chapel’s portico, about 1796. Thus the memorial when initially attached to the façade, without the portico, must have looked markedly different compared to later, with it added – as the portico essentially frames, if you will, the Montgomery monument.)

Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. (ICR) and Integrated Conservation Contracting, Inc. (together, ICR/ICC, Inc.) designed and completed during 2011 a restoration of the Montgomery monument, starting April 19 and unveiling the finished work August 10. The firm’s principal and founder, Glenn Boornazian, led the refurbishment team. The company, as indicated on its website, constitutes “a multi-disciplinary group offering a broad range of conservation services for historic buildings and monuments.” Its home bases are situated in the greater NY/NJ area. Based on reporting connected to the 2011 restoration initiative, as related on Trinity Wall Street’s website, it appears as if generally the original group of monument installers labored effectively. Since the monument’s original installation in 1787, this restoration represents its first full refurbishment in 224 years; however, this is not to say the monument was not touched during that time, on the contrary. The sculpture underwent several repairs based on records and study by ICR and its consultants. The urn, for instance, originally was of marble. Seems this version did not make it to New York. It is believed a painted wooden urn, designed by L’Enfant, may have been employed until 1810, when the current limestone model was put in place. The nine component pieces of the monument were removed and separated by the restorers, revealing the work’s support structure. Metal rods and iron pins, found to be in effective use, anchored the sculpture to the Chapel. The original installers had taken care to use protective materials of the time, essentially, to surround the monument’s metal rods with a watertight barrier and, as well, by encasing the iron pins with molten lead to extend the protection to the oxidizing pins and stones. Remarkably, in taking apart the monument’s pieces, one stone was hidden by another, thus revealing that stone’s original state: “highly polished and black-and-red.” Each of the stones was cleaned. A number of historical restoration experts were apparently able to observe work processes and examine the work itself. It appears that as a part of a general restoration of St. Paul’s during the 1920s, certain elements of the monument must have been repaired, replaced or touched up. These and several other intriguing findings are mentioned and commented upon in writings appearing on Trinity Wall Street’s website.

• The Continental Congress began its second session May 10, 1775, again in Philadelphia. Following the death of Montgomery on December 31st the assembly instructed a committee “to consider of a proper method of paying a just tribute of gratitude to the memory of General Montgomery.” This committee reported back on January 25, 1776, with a resolution that “to express the veneration of the United Colonies for their late General” a monument should be acquired from Paris, or any other part of France. The full text of the January 25th resolution by Congress can be read below, under Comments and Notes. The Congress agreed with the committee’s resolution, and Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who was soon (in 18th century time) to leave for Paris on assignment, was instructed to arrange for the acquisition. For his part, Franklin turned to sculptor Caffieri, who accepted the commission. (Though, he was apparently less than charmed at the size of the not-to-exceed Congress had attached to the work, which the good Doctor seemingly supplemented with some few funds of his own.) When the sculpture shipped from France, it was sent to the only North American port along the East Coast that the colonists controlled, due to the continuing U.S./Britain conflict: Edenton, North Carolina. The town is situated on the Albemarle Sound, in today’s travel about 70 miles west of Nags Head and some 425 miles southwest of Lower Manhattan. For years, the monument could not be located and/or shipped northward, its journey from Paris studio to New York site taking about a decade. Thus, in a word, the War for Independence caused Montgomery’s death, then lost his monument. At a point during this lost decade, 1784, the work’s intended site location changed, at the behest of the New York delegation, from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to New York City’s St. Paul’s Chapel. In 1787 the City’s legislative branch agreed to attach the monument to the front of St. Paul’s. Started 1764 and completed 1766, this place of worship was known as a “chapel of ease” for those who might live a distance from the “Mother” church, Trinity Wall Street (Anglican, Church of England – just one of life’s ironies or an in-your-face gesture?) Soon thereafter, members and leaders of Trinity agreed to this positioning at St. Paul’s, and by June, 1788, the work was installed. As during the British military occupation of New York, Trinity itself in September, 1776, had burned down – then rebuilt and reopened, 1790 -- St. Paul’s would stand in its stead. Following George Washington’s inauguration on April 30, 1789, as first president of the U.S., the Chapel hosted a thanksgiving service. Washington also attended the Chapel and had his own pew– still has his own pew. The restoration of the Montgomery in 2011 was undertaken by Trinity Church Wall Street. If a record of a Montgomery Monument dedication ceremony exists, it apparently has not yet been uncovered.
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
Battle (victory|defeat)
War Dead or those Serving and Dying
War for Independence
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
Inscription/Text Design
Sculpture w/wo pedestal
Average (life-size)
Inscribed/lettered on tablet
Text available, all
Yes (see below)
Image numbering/location
2700-703.1, 2700-703.2, 2700-703.3, 2700-703.4, 2700-703.5, 2700-703.6, 2700-703.7, 2700-703.8, 2700-703.9, 2700-703.10
Design Preservation
Inscript. Separate from M|M
Designer 1
Artist/Artistic Group: Caffieri, Jean Jacques
Designer 2
Artist/Artistic Group
Fabricator/Builder 1
Pierre Charles L’Enfant  
Fabricator City
New York 
Fabricator State
Fabricator Country
United States 
Fabricator/Builder 2
City of New York, NY
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
Historic structure
Appeal of the Item
6 Very Good
Setting appears appropriate
6 Very Good
Traffic near for access, distanced for appreciation
4 Satisfactory
Visualization and panorama
5 Good
Opportunity to view, to enjoy the item
6 Very Good
Overall Averaged Score
5.4 Good (Given a 1.0 - 7.0 Range)
To calculate comparative appearance estimates, CLICK HERE
January 25, 1776
July 08, 1818
August 10, 2011
Other Monuments on Site
Community Group/Not For Profit
1) Themes
Roads and their Towns
National Historic Landmark Themes
The War for Independence
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
File Number
New York
New York
United States
Latitude (GPS)
Longitude (GPS)
Intersecting Street 1
Intersecting Street 2
Vesey St
Additional Identifier 1
Fulton St
Additional Identifier 2
St. Paul's Chapel ( east portico )
Government, Federal -- Exec / Other
Religious group
First Americans/Colonists 1492-1775
Revolution: War/Governance | 1774-1788
Compilation Date (Initial)
January 25, 2003
Promotional Materials
Compilation Date (Latest)
November 26, 2011
Compilation Technique (Latest)
Site Survey
Government Materials
Source Originator
Comments and Notes
NAME: Major General Richard Montgomery
DEVELOPMENT(1): Start date is taken to be date Congress ordered the work's erection, 1/25/1776.
DEVELOPMENT(2): Chapel’s spire and portico were added 1794-1796, according to the Landmarks of New York plaque attached to the church by The New York Community Trust in 1957.
THEMEWORKS: Roads and their towns -- Broadway
LEAD SPONSOR(1): Government, Federal – Exec/Other: Second Continental Congress, sitting in Philadelphia, PA, 1776.
LEAD SPONSOR(2): Religious group: Trinity Wall Street, through its vestry and wardens, Broadway at Wall Street, New York, NY – 1787; restoration, by its 17th rector, The Rev. Dr. James Cooper, 4/18/2011.
SITE MAINTENANCE: Community Group/Not For Profit – Trinity Wall Street
COMPILATION DATE: (Second entry) -- October 26, 2004; Techniques: Site Survey, Book/Pamphlet/Text, Web site.
SOURCES(1): John V. Butler, Churchyards of Trinity Parish in the City of New York; Wayne Craven, Sculpture in America; Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution, 1859 (Pub., Tuttle/1972); Paul David Nelson, “Montgomery, Richard,” American National Biography Online Feb. 2000, retrieved 4/23/2011; Donald Martin Reynolds, Monuments and Masterpieces; Pamela Scott, "L'Enfant, Pierre Charles,” American National Biography Online Feb. 2000, retrieved 11/23/2011.
SOURCES(2): Integrated Conservation Resources website; National Park Service, “Family Tree of the National Park System, Part III: Reorganization of 1933, National Memorials Line, 1776-1933, entry of ‘Monument to Gen. Richard Montgomery authorized’ ”; Trinity Wall Street website, generally and: “At St. Paul’s America’s First Official Monument Will Be Restored,” April 15, 2011 and “The General and The Monument,” retrieved 11/16/2011; Wikipedia: “Jean-Jacques Caffieri” (and “Caffieri” family entry), retrieved 11/16/2011; “Richard Montgomery,” retrieved 4/23/2011;
COMMENT: Designed by Thomas McBean in the Georgian period, St. Paul’s Chapel has been honored since by national, state and city landmark status; respectively, Registered National Historic Landmark, Landmarks of New York and Designated Landmark New York City.
NOTE: Demographics – Sponsor: A proceeding and resolution of the Continental Congress --
Title: Monument to General Montgomery to be procured from France, Dr. Smith desired to prepare a Funeral Oration in honour of General Montgomery.
Author/Presenter: Continental Congress
Date Presented: 1776-01-25
Before Whom: Continental Congress
Where Presented: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, North America
Recipient: Continental Congress
Citation: American Archives Series 4, Volume 4, Page 1654
Document ID: S4-V4-P01-sp36-D0034
Online Source: Northern Illinois University Libraries
“The Committee appointed to consider of a proper method of paying a just tribute of gratitude to the memory of General Montgomery, brought in their Report, which, being taken into consideration, was agreed to, as follows:
“It being not only a tribute of gratitude justly due to the memory of those who have peculiarly distinguished themselves in the glorious cause of liberty, to perpetuate their names by the most durable Monuments erected to their honour, but, also, greatly conducive to inspire posterity with an emulation of their illustrious actions:
“Resolved, That, to express the veneration of the United Colonies for their late General, Richard Montgomery, and the deep sense they entertain of the many signal and important services of that gallant officer, who, after a series of successes, amidst the most discouraging difficulties, fell, at length, in a gallant attack upon Quebeck, the Capital of Canada, and for transmitting to future ages, as examples truly worthy of imitation, his patriotism, conduct, boldness of enterprise, insuperable perseverance, and contempt of danger and death, a Monument be procured, from Paris, or any other part of France, with an inscription, sacred to his memory, and expressive of his amiable character and heroick achievements; and that the Continental Treasurers be directed to advance a sum, not exceeding three hundred Pounds sterling, to Dr. Benjamin Franklin, (who is desired to see this Resolution properly executed,) for defraying the expenses thereof.
“That Dr. Smith be desired to prepare and deliver a Funeral Oration in honour of General Montgomery, and of those Officers and Soldiers who so magnanimously fought and fell with him in maintaining the principles of American liberty.”

Privacy Policy Copyright ©2005 - Fieldguide to U.S. Public Monuments and Memorials Contact the Webmaster

Designed by RP Design Web Services