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96   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

by the necessity of landing troops to drive off straggling bodies of the enemy, or to administer the oath of neutrality to the inhabitants. Three Rivers was reached on August 6th, when it was learned that 2,000 of the enemy were then in the neighbourhood; but these retreated to the head of Lake St. Peter and formed part of a force which attacked Murray's brigade as it drew near Sorel. This force had been intended either for service on the St. Lawrence or to threaten the flank of any detachment moving from the Richelieu to Montreal, but owing to the concerted movement of the three British columns, no opportunity presented itself for massing it at any one point, and it was frittered away in detail. Shortly after Murray arrived at Sorel he was joined by a reinforcement of two regiments from Louisbourg under command of Lord Rollo. He then continued slowly up the St. Lawrence until the island of Montreal was reached. On the way several skirmishes occurred with the enemy, the inhabitants joining in the attacks. But as Murray advanced on Montreal news of the converging operations spread among the inhabitants, and many Canadians voluntarily took the oath of neutrality, among them 1,400 men of the seigniory of Boucherville alone. A number of the Colony Troops deserted to Murray's outposts, while many of the rural militiamen, considering the country lost, surrendered their arms.

On September 5th, General Murray got into touch with Colonel Haviland at Longueuil, and the following day the landing of the troops and artillery of both columns on the island of Montreal began. The French offering no opposition, the combined force began the march towards Mont-real. At noon, on the 7th, it reached a position to the northeast of the city and the commanders established communication with Amherst, who lost no time in making dispositions for the bombardment of Montreal. Vaudreuil, the Governor of Canada, sent out a flag of truce to negotiate terms of surrender, but for the time it looked as though negotiations would come to nothing,


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