George Monro (British Army officer)
Clonfin, County Longford, Kingdom of Ireland
|Died||3 November 1757 (aged 56–57)
Albany, Province of New York
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Years of service||1718–1757|
|Relations||George Munro, 1st of Auchinbowie (father)|
Lieutenant-Colonel George Monro (sometimes spelled 'Munro') (1700 – 1757) was a Scottish-Irish soldier. He was an officer in the British Army best remembered for his resolute but ultimately unsuccessful defence of Fort William Henry in 1757 during the Seven Years' War / French and Indian War and the subsequent massacre of his garrison at the hands of France’s Indian allies. These events were made famous by James Fenimore Cooper in his novel The Last of the Mohicans (and subsequent TV/film adaptations).
Monro was born in Clonfin, County Longford, Ireland in about 1700, younger son of George Munro, 1st of Auchinbowie who was famed for his victory at the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689 in Scotland. However, when John Alexander Inglis wrote his history of the Monro of Auchinbowie family in 1911, he had not at that time identified the younger George Monro as a member of the family.
Monro joined Otway’s Regiment, the 35th Regiment of Foot, as a Lieutenant in 1718. He appears to have had an unremarkable military career. By 1750, he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
Seven Years War
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In 1757, with hostilities renewed between Britain and France, Monro was placed in command of Fort William Henry with 1,500 troops. That summer the Siege of Fort William Henry took place where he was attacked by a French force and their Indian allies, totalling about 8,000 men, under the command of the Marquis de Montcalm. Effectively cut off from the main British force, commanded by General Daniel Webb, the small British garrison stood little chance once the siege started in earnest on 3 August. Monro was forced to open negotiations with Montcalm on 9 August.
Munro’s tenacious defence won him generous terms, with the articles of surrender referring to the garrison’s "honourable defence", and Monro was able to negotiate for his troops to be allowed safe passage to Fort Edward, about seventeen miles away. However, it was not to be. As Monro led his garrison from Fort William Henry, Montcalm’s Indian allies attacked without order from Montcalm, leaving approximately 185 dead. Monro actually survived the massacre, but died suddenly just three months later, on 3 November 1757, at Albany.
In popular culture
- Monro is portrayed as Colonel Munro in James Fennimore Cooper's story The Last of the Mohicans, in which he is the father of two daughters, Alice and Cora. In the story, he plays a similar role as he did in history, leading the defense of Fort William Henry. In the 1992 film adaptation, he is portrayed by Scottish actor Maurice Roëves, in which he is portrayed as being killed in the massacre by Montcalm's Indian allies, the leader of whom (Magua) cuts his heart out as revenge for Monro killing his family. He is also portrayed in the 1920 silent film by James Gordon, in the 1932 version by Edward Hearn, in the 1936 version by Hugh Buckler and in the 1965 version by Paul Muller and in the 1968 version by Otto Ambros.
- Monro is also portrayed as a supporting character in the 2014 action-adventure video game Assassin's Creed Rogue. He is shown to be a noble character, seeking to help the people of New York City recover from the gang violence and the disrepair of the city. He is a member of the Templar Order and assists Christopher Gist and the protagonist Shay Cormac until he is killed by Assassin Liam O'Brien in Albany after the fall of Fort William Henry. He is voiced by Graham J. Cuthbertson.
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