When the Americans began their campaign against Quebec in 1775, they had not attacked any of the British forts along Lake Ontario. As a result, British Captain George Forster had managed to assemble a small force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Mohawk (Iroquois Confederacy) warriors led by Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea). The Iroquois had remained neutral at the beginning of hostilities between the British and Americans but were now actively supporting the British.
Forster's force attacked the Americans at the Cedars, 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Montreal. Two days later, on 19 May 1776, the Americans surrendered. The British, Canadians, and Mohawks also defeated an American force on its way to reinforce the American troops at the Cedars the following week. Forster's men took 500 American prisoners in the two battles.