TESTARD DE MONTIGNY, JEAN-BAPTISTE-PHILIPPE, officer in the colonial regular troops; b. 15 June 1724 in Montreal (Que.), to Jacques Testard* de Montigny and Marie-Anne de La Porte de Louvigny; m. 27 Oct. 1748 in Montreal, Marie-Charlotte Trottier Desrivières, and they had nine children; d. 3 Nov. 1786 at Blois, France.
In order to learn Indian languages and customs Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny probably went to Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) with his father, who was commandant there from 1730 to 1732. In 1736 he became a cadet in the garrison of Fort Saint-Frédéric (near Crown Point, N.Y.). His father died the following year, leaving his mother to care for five sisters, while Montigny continued to serve as a scout in the borderlands between Canada and New York. The young soldier gained a thorough knowledge of the woods, and acquired skill in leading bands of soldiers and Indians on scouting parties. Montigny’s enthusiasm and ability were recognized and duly rewarded; on 1 April 1742 he was provisionally appointed second ensign and on 31 May 1743 he achieved the full rank.
In the War of the Austrian Succession, Montigny served under Paul Marin* de La Malgue during the successful attack on the fortified post of Saratoga (Schuylerville, N.Y.) in 1745. Later given an independent command, he led more than 30 raids on the New York and Connecticut frontiers. Early in 1748 he was promoted ensign in Louis Herbin’s company. Montigny remained at Fort Saint-Frédéric until 1751. On 1 April 1753 he was commissioned lieutenant; Governor Duquesne referred to him as an active officer “who has an admirable zeal.”
Tensions were increasing between France and Britain over control of the Ohio country, and Montigny was assigned to transport provisions to the western points. Between 1753 and 1755 he led a number of supply convoys to Detroit, Fort des Miamis (probably at or near Fort Wayne, Ind.), and Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.). As hostilities flared, Montigny led a contingent of Indians to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh, Pa) to aid in its defence against Major-General Edward Braddock’s forces, and he helped win the stunning victory of 9 July 1755. After the battle he assisted in salvaging the abandoned British artillery supplies and in retrieving the body of his commandant, Daniel-Hyacinthe-Marie Liénard* de Beaujeu, killed in the first exchanges of gunfire.
Early in 1756 Montigny was second in command to Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry in the daring overland raid on Fort Bull (east of Oneida Lake, N.Y.), and he personally led the assault on the fort’s gates. After a sharp fight the British post was overrun and destroyed, and the French retreated through the forest. Back in Montreal, Montigny organized a force of 62 men in 12 canoes to carry supplies for Montcalm*’s attack on Chouaguen (Oswego). Following the capture of that post in August, Montigny and his men went on to Detroit and Fort des Miamis, where he informed the western Indians of the declaration of war between Britain and France and urged them to fight for the French king.
Promoted captain on 1 May 1757, Montigny spent the year convoying supplies to Detroit. After another trip to Detroit in the early summer of 1758, he led 500 soldiers to reinforce Fort Niagara, which was threatened by increased British activity in the west. During the next few months he led another 600 men to Niagara, and on 1 June 1759 he was sent from that post with a force to capture Fort Pitt, which the British had built to replace Fort Duquesne, destroyed the previous year. Shortly after he left Niagara, however, it was unexpectedly besieged by the British under Brigadier-General John Prideaux and Sir William Johnson. Hastily recalled, Montigny joined with François-Marie Le Marchand* de Lignery, Louis Legardeur de Repentigny, and Joseph Marin de La Malgue and their men in marching to its aid. On the 24th, within sight of the fort, they ran into an ambush carefully prepared by Johnson. Their force was shot to pieces; Montigny, who suffered three wounds including a shattered hand, was captured. The Indians sold him to the British and he spent two years as a prisoner in New England before being exchanged. Early in 1762 he was apparently in Paris. That June, St John’s, Newfoundland, was captured by Charles-Henri-Louis d’Arsac de Ternay, and when reinforcements were sent to the French garrison there, Montigny was assigned to the frigate Zéphir, commanded by François-Louis Poulin* de Courval. The Zéphir was captured by British ships, however, and Montigny was briefly imprisoned in England before returning to Saint-Malo in November.
Montigny’s long and distinguished military career was over. As a fitting conclusion, he had been made a knight of the order of Saint-Louis in August 1762. At the end of the Seven Years’ War, lured by the Duc de Choiseul’s promise of a pension, Montigny decided to remain in France rather than live under British rule in his native Canada. After returning to Canada to sell his goods and collect his family, he landed in Calais on 19 Nov. 1764 and settled into retirement at Blois, where he lived until his death.
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