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If you can possibly be spared from New-York, I think it of the greatest importance to our operations in this country that you remain at Albany till we can be remitted and supplied with necessaries; am, therefore, exceeding glad to hear that you intend it.
I am, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,
Head-Quarters, before Quebeck, March 26, 1776.
The contents of your last favour I have not time to answer by this conveyance. This is only to give you some idea of some late interesting transactions.
The Priests in two or three Parishes below Point-Levi having been brought to Head-Quarters some weeks since, on account of their diabolical conduct, and were released on solemn promises of amendment, have, in conjunction with a party sent from town, imbodied several hundred Canadians, and, it is said, have two twelve-pounders. Against this body, our men from the Point (two hundred in all) marched yesterday morning, engaged the enemy, took thirty prisoners; how many killed cannot learn. We had one man wounded. This was not the enemys main body. This account is, as I am informed, from Major Dubois, who commanded on the occasion. Aaron Platt and Philadelphia Hughes were in the party. We impatiently wait the issue of this affair, as much depends on it. One hundred and fifty Jerseymen and Pennsylvanians are to march for Point-Levi this day. I have only time to add that I am,&c.,
To Captain Goforth, commanding at Three-Rivers.
Head-Quarters, Montreal, April 1, 1776.
SIR: General Wooster left this place for Quebeck, the 27th last month. He has honoured me, though unequal to the task, with the command of this District. I shall, therefore, to the utmost of my abilities, do for the best; and I conceive it my duty, as well as inclination, to inform you of every material circumstance as they occur to me, as well as to give you a particular account, from time to time, of this important district; and perhaps it may not be thought amiss if I add my own ideas of the whole country, and affairs in general. You are not unacquainted with the friendly disposition of the Canadians when General Montgomery first penetrated into the country. The ready assistance which they gave on all occasions, by men, carriages, or provisions, was most remarkable; even when he was before Quebeck, many Parishes offered their service in the reduction of that fortress, which was at that time thought unnecessary. But his most unfortunate fate, added to other incidents, has caused such a change in their disposition, that we are no more to look upon them as friends, but, on the contrary, waiting an opportunity to join our enemies. That no observations of my own may remain obscure, I beg leave to observe, that I think the clergy (or guardians of the souls, and conductors of the bodies) of these enthusiasts have been neglected, perhaps in some instances ill used. Be that as it will, they are unanimous, though privately, against our cause; and I have too much reason to fear many of them, with other people of some consequence, have carried on a correspondence the whole winter with General Carleton in Quebeck, and are now plotting our destruction. The peasantry in general have been ill used; they have in some instances been dragooned, with the point of the bayonet, to furnish wood for the garrison, at a lower rate than the current price; carriages, and many other articles furnished, for which certificates were given, not legible and without signaturethe one half of consequence rejected by the Quartermaster-General. It is true, they have been promised payment, from time to time; yet they look upon such promises as vague, their labour and property lost, and the Congress and the United Colonies as bankrupt; and (what is a more material point) they have not seen sufficient force in the country to protect them. These matters furnish very strong arguments to be made use of by our enemies.
To take a view of our little Army here, I have pretty good information that our strength in camp before Quebeck did not, on the 18th of March, much exceed that on the day after General Montgomerys fall. General Arnold had at that time about four hundred men in a small-pox Hospital. Neither order nor subordination prevails, and of course shortly no soldiers. On the 15tb of this month, those who wintered, in the country are free, and, in my opinion, neither art, craft, nor money, will prevail on many of them to reinlist to serve in Canada. Colonel Livingstons Regiment, consisting of about two hundred, will be free on the same day; very few, of them, if any, will re-engage. Of my intended regiment I have about two hundred and fifty. The want of money obliges me to stop; where I shall remain until matters take a change, if ever, in our favour, as not a man more will now engage, and those which I have inlisted will go to the right about in case the Canadians in general join against us; at least such is my opinion. With respect to the better sort of people, both French and English, seven-eighths are Tories, who would wish to see our throats cut, and perhaps would readily assist in doing it.
The taking of Quebeck is altogether casual. The keeping of the country, according to the present appearance of affairs, is totally against us. No preparation has been, or can be made to guard the river, for a very good reasonno money or men of skill to do it; the whole country left without any other kind of law than that of the arbitrary and despotick power of the sword in the hands of the several commanding officerstoo frequently abused in all cases of this nature.
You may remember, sir, in a conversation with you, at Albany, I urged the necessity of sending immediately to Canada able Generals, a respectable Army, a Committee of Congress, a suitable supply of hard cash, a printer, &c. Indeed, I had before represented those measures in person to Congressat least to the Committee of Congressand we have since been flattered, from time to time, with one or all those essentials.
The Savages hereabouts are cool; they keep aloof from us; we are to expect little or no friendship from them, and, indeed, little or no precaution has been taken for that purpose. It is excepted by some that numbers will come from the interior country, and fall on our frontiers, early in the spring.
Enclosed I transmit you extracts from some private letters, which accidentally came to hand from the camp before Quebeck. I believe the contents, as the news has come to town several ways. The Canadians taking up arms so early against us is of the most important consequence. We have brought about ourselves, by mismanagement, what Governour Carleton himself could never effect.
Having endeavoured to lay before you a true state of facts as they occur to me, if I have done my duty thereby, I shall be happy; if I have exceeded, I beg you will impute it to pure zeal in my countrys cause, and the ardent desire I have, on all occasions, to contribute all in my power for the interests of the United Colonies. And should you be of opinion that any of my remarks are worthy the attention of Congress, you will please to communicate them.
I am, sir, with true respect, your most obedient servant,
To Major-General Philip Schuyler.
Camp before Quebeck, March 26, 1776.
I have just time to let you know that I and my family arrived at Head-Quarters on Saturday, 23d instant, in good health. I am informed that five hundred Canadians, and a few Regulars from the garrison, have assembled together, twelve leagues below Quebeck, with two twelve-pounders, and are getting more formidable every day; and have intercepted some provisions of ours. We have sent a party of men after them, to take their standard (which they have erected) and bring it to Head-Quarters. For my part I dread the consequence, as our party does not amount to one hundred men. God (and he only) can determine our fate. I think we have sent one gondola and some armed batteaus in order to intercept an armed schooner from Quebeck; and they are cutting more out of the iceI mean the Regulars.
Excuse haste. I know your prudence will know how to handle this dangerous news.
To Captain Goforth, commanding at Three-Rivers.
P. S. Nothing shall escape my notice to you of all that passes; and if you think me worth your notice, let me have your opinion. Thanks be to God, this moment, as I was concluding this letter, news came in that Major Dubois had sent a letter to General Arnold that our men met with the advanced party of the enemy, killed and wounded a