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© McCord Museum
Front view of the church of St. Eustache occupied by the insurgents.
Lord Charles Beauclerk (1813-1842)
1840, 19th century
Ink and watercolour on paper - Lithography
26.5 x 36.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

As resistance moved north of Montreal, British forces were again able to organize their superior firepower against the patriotes, who came from the farming and professional community. Holed up in the church of St. Eustache and its convent and presbytery, patriote forces were shelled by British cannon beginning on December 14, 1837.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)


British forces advanced on St. Eustache from two directions. The 2 000 soldiers were heavily armed and had 70 sleighs to carry their munitions and supplies. The patriotes numbered 500, only half of whom had rifles.


St. Eustache is located on the north bank of the Mille Îles River on the mainland north of Montreal. The river was frozen, making it easy for the troops to cross. The patriotes were forced to seek shelter in the parish church and surrounding houses.


British troops arrived in front of the village on the December 14, 1837, and began bombarding the church.


With the collapse of the rebellions south of Montreal, Governor Colborne could concentrate his force on patriote strongholds north of the city. While some communities were strongly in favour of the patriotes, other villages remained neutral. The inhabitants of nearby Two Mountains remained loyal to Britain.

© Musée McCord Museum