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Colvil Place, 1 1-2 miles from Quebec,
I wrote you yesterday from Point Levy, by an express sent from Sorel, by Colonel Easton, of my intention of crossing the St. Lawrence, which I happily effected between nine and four in the morning, without being discovered, until my party of five hundred men were nearly all over, when a frigate's barge, coming up, discovered our landing and prevented our surprising the town. We lired into her, and killed three men.
I am this minute informed, by a gentleman from town, that Colonel McLean had determined to pay us a visit this morning, with six hundred men and some field-pieces. We are prepared, and anxious to see him. Others from town inform me, that the inhabitants in general had laid down their arms. By the best information, they are in the greatest confusion, very short of wood and provisions, much divided, and refused provisions from the inhabitants ; and if blocked up by a superior force, must, as soon as the frost sets in, surrender.
I have thought proper to despatch the bearer to inform you of my situation, as also with a request I have to make. I must refer you to him for particulars ; as I have been so unfortunate in my former letters, I do not choose to commit every intelligence to writing. It is the current report here, that you have invested Montreal and cut off their retreat. This I hope is true, and that I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you here. I am, dear Sir, with great respect,
Your obedient, humble servant,
P. S. Since writing the foregoing, the enemy found means to make prisoner of one of our out-sentinels. I immediately invested the town, as near as possible, with my troops, which has occasioned them to set fire to the suburbs of St. John's ; and several of the houses without the wall are now in flames. B. A.
- Benedict Arnold
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume I., Jared Sparks, 1853