Louis Joseph Montcalm De Saint-Veran, marquis de, a French soldier, born at the chateau of Candiac, near Nimes, Feb. 28, 1712, died in Quebec, Sept. 14, 1759. He entered the army when 14 years old, served in Italy in 1734, distinguished himself in Germany under Belle-Isle during the war for the Austrian succession, and fought in Italy again, where he gained the rank of colonel in the disastrous battle of Pia-cenza (1746). In 1756 he was appointed to command the French troops in Canada, where he arrived about the middle of May. He captured Fort Ontario at Oswego on Aug. 14 and the next year forced Fort William Henry, at the head of Lake George, with a garrison of 2,500 men, to surrender at discretion, and thus became possessed of 42 guns and large stores of ammunition and provisions. Montcalm had suffered from scarcity of provisions, and was opposed to an enemy far superior in numbers and discipline to his own troops, which consisted mostly of Canadian volunteers; yet he held his ground firmly, when, in the campaign of 1758, the English under Abercrombie marched from the south toward the French dominions.

Montcalm occupied the strong position of Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga), made it still stronger by intrenchments, and at the head of about 3,600 men awaited the attack of 15,000. After a fierce battle which lasted four hours (July 8, 1758), the British retreated in disorder. The personal bravery of Montcalm increased his popularity among his soldiers; and if he had received timely reinforcements, he could have maintained the supremacy of the French in North America. But the want of energy on the part of the home government, the scarcity of food all over New France, and personal dissensions between the governor and the military commander, forbade him to look for much assistance; and in the midst of victory he expressed his conviction that in a few months the English would be masters of the French colonies in America. Resolved, as he said, "to find his grave under the ruins of the colony," he actively prepared for the campaign of 1759. The English spared no exertions to make their conquest sure; troops were sent from Europe; the colonial regiments were thoroughly reorganized; and a strong fleet cooperated with the land forces.

While Amherst and Prideaux were manoeuvring to dislodge the French from the vicinity of Lake George and Lake Ontario, Gen. Wolfe, at the head of 8,000 chosen troops, supported by the fleet in the St. Lawrence, appeared before Quebec. The conquest of Canada depended upon the taking of that city; and to protect it Montcalm had concentrated his principal forces on the banks of the Montmorency. Being attacked in front by Wolfe, July 31, he repelled him with considerable loss. Wolfe then changed his plans; he secretly landed his troops by night on the left bank of the St. Lawrence, above Quebec, climbed the table land that overhangs the city, and on the morning of Sept. 13 appeared with his whole force on the heights of Abraham, in the rear of the French army. By 10 o'clock the two armies, about equal in numbers, each having fewer than 5,000 men, were drawn up before each other. Montcalm led the attack in person, but his troops soon broke before the deadly fire of the British; and when Wolfe, at the head of the 28th and the Louisburg grenadiers, gave the order to charge with bayonets, they fled in every direction.

Wolfe fell in the moment of triumph; Montcalm had received a musket ball earlier in the action, and was mortally wounded while attempting to rally a body of fugitive Canadians a few moments after Wolfe was borne from the field. On being told that his death was near: "So much the better," he said; "I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec." He died the next morning, and the French lost all Canada.