Jeffrey Amherst, 1717-1797, first baron Amherst (1776), Field Marshal (1796)

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British career soldier, he joined the army aged 14 in 1731. In the War of the Austrian Succession, he served on the staff of General Ligonier and then the duke of Cumberland in Germany, and was present at Dettingham and Fontenoy. He came to prominance during the French and Indian Wars. In 1758 he was placed in charge of the expedition that captured Louisbourg, and promoted from Colonel to Major-General. His promotion was on Pitt's insistance, and he was promoted over the heads of several more senior officers with George II's support, but his success against Louisbourg justified his appointment, and that success he was created commander-in-chief in North America. Pitt planed to conquer Canada in 1759, and ordered a three pronged attack on the French (one of which was Wolfe's attack on Quebec). Amherst was to take a force up the Hudson River, across Lake George, capture Fort Ticonderoga, and then move on to take Montreal. To acheive this he had 11,000 men. He reached the head of Lake George on 21 July 1759, and five days later captured the site of Fort Ticonderoga, where he found the fortifications destroyed by the French, who had abandoned the fort. At this point his advance was halted by the presence of a small French fleet on the lake. He ordered ships built, but they were not ready until 11 October, by which point winter had stopped any campaigning. The capture of Quebec in the same year ended any French hope, and the next year Amherst was able to finally capture Montreal, which surrendered on 8 September 1760, ending French control over Canada. Amherst was made governor-general of British North America in 1761. His final campaign in America was against the Indian chief Pontiac, who feeling threatened by the change of power in Canada led the Ottawa indians into revolt (1763). Amherst's response was not effective, and by the end of the year he had returned to Britain. He bacame a member of the privy council in 1772, was created Baron Amherst in 1776 and created a field marshal in 1796.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (21 November 2000), Jeffrey Amherst, 1717-1797, first baron Amherst (1776), Field Marshal (1796), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_amherst.html

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