The death of General Richard Montgomery at Quebec made him one of the American Revolution's most celebrated martyrs. He was one of the highest ranking officers killed on the patriot side, and came to represent the sacrifice which was required of those who remained in the struggle so that he and others should not have died in vain. A memorial to Montgomery was authorized by Congress just a few months after his death and was erected in New York in 1789. He was compared to the classic heroes of antiquity, and to his predecessor Wolfe who died in the previous war at Quebec. The Death of Montgomery was one of the first revolutionary topics undertaken by artist John Trumbull as a grand heroic painting.
Those who fought in Quebec were associated with their fallen general in the eyes of the public and in their later stories about the campaign, even if they were Arnold's men and not with his attacking column. After Arnold's treachery, it was better to remember service under the martyr than the traitor. This can lead to confusion in the historic record, such as the claim mentioned in previous posts that a cannon that now resides in Elizabeth New Jersey is the very same weapon that killed Montgomery and wounded two native sons: Matthias Ogden and William Crane.
The problem with this story is that Ogden received his wound alongside Benedict Arnold at the other side of the lower town of Quebec, and William Crane may not have been in Quebec at all. Lieutenant William Crane did join Montgomery on his Canada expedition, some secondary sources say with an artillery unit. The only record of a Lieutenant William Crane in the Historical Register of Officers in the Continental Army is of a man who enlisted in the 4th New York continentals in July 1775 and was wounded 2nd November by a shell at St. John's, Quebec. His subsequent record in Spenser's (additional) New Jersey Continental regiment and other biographical information strongly suggest that this William Crane and the one from Elizabethtown are one in the same.
The cannon was one of fifteen captured at Stony Point by Americans under General Anthony Wayne. It was traced back to Quebec, but how it was determined that it was one of the four in the battery that confronted Montgomery's column and the very one that killed the general is nowhere made clear. Veracity made no matter; the citizens of Elizabethtown were proud to have such a relic and all the better to associate it with two such prominent local citizens who had been wounded in Canada.
Aaron Burr should have come out of the campaign with burnished laurels, and indeed his Princeton classmate Hugh Henry Brackenridge gave him a prominent part in his epic 1777 drama "The Death of General Montgomery at the Siege of Quebec." Burr was ambitious but found the self promotion and ingratiating required for advancement repugnant. Matthias Ogden did not find this so difficult, requesting permission to carry one of Arnold's dispatches to Congress in Late January 1775 and receiving a Lt. Colonelcy soon thereafter in the 1st New Jersey Continentals. With his help he secured Burr an appointment on Washington's staff but it was not a good fit and he soon was assigned to General Putnam. Burr's military career ended because of ill health in 1779, while Ogden served through Yorktown, was made a Brigadier General, and at his request was sent to France where he met with Benjamin Franklin and was presented at court. Ogden returned to America with news of the peace treaty in 1783.
It is perhaps for this reason that he, and not Burr, appears in Trumbull's painting holding the dying Montgomery. Most of those pictured with Montgomery were actually fighting elsewhere in the lower town with Arnold. Trumbull shared his painting with Franklin in Paris in 1785, and perhaps it was here that he determined to include the young Ogden who had so recently made such an impression at court. Franklin certainly made suggestions on other fitting subjects for Trumbull to paint in his revolutionary series. Burr had no such champion.
In the end, the memory of the Quebec campaign became more associated with the sacrifice of Montgomery than the achievements of the traitor Arnold. Matthias Ogden died far too young at the age of 36, maintaining a lifelong friendship with Burr. His younger brother Aaron Ogden helped an aged and discredited Burr get his veteran's pension in the 1830s, and Burr used his influence to keep Aaron Ogden out of debtors prison by getting the New York Legislature to pass a law exempting revolutionary veterans from incarceration for insolvency. Despite what history made of them, Burr and the Ogdens were as close as brothers and loyal to each other.