Richard Montgomery was born in Swords, Ireland, on December 2, 1738, the son of Baronet Thomas Montgomery and Mary Franklin. He briefly studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but left in 1756 to join the 17th Regiment of Foot. He served in Canada and the Caribbean during the Seven Years' War and was promoted to captain. Montgomery, who sympathized with North American colonists, moved to rural New York in 1772. He married Janet Livingston in 1773; they moved to Rhinebeck, New York, where Montgomery purchased a mill and planned to build a house. In May 1775, he became a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and he received an appointment as brigadier general in the Continental Army that June. Montgomery became the sole commander of the invasion of Canada, where he oversaw the capture of St. Johns, Chambly, and Montréal. Major General Richard Montgomery was killed during the Battle of Québec on December 31, 1775.
Perkins Magra was a career officer in the British Army. He served in the 16th Regiment of Foot during the Seven Years' War and was later a lieutenant, captain, and brevet major for the 17th Regiment of Foot. After going on half pay in the 88th Regiment of Foot, he served as a household officer for the Duke of Sussex. In 1797, Magra was British consul at Tunis.