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I wrote you, three days since, of our defeat, and the death of General Montgomery and others, with all the information I then had of the matter. We have been in suspense, with regard to my detachment, until this afternoon, when Major Mcigs was sent out, with a flag, for the officers baggage, who, he says, are all taken prisoners, except Captain Hendricks, Lieutenant Humphreys, of the riflemen, and Lieutenant Cooper, who were killed in the action. General Caiieton says our loss, in killed and wounded, is a hundred. Major Meigs thinks it does not exceed sixty, and about three hundred taken prisoners, who are treated very humanely. These brave men sustained the force of the whole garrison for three hours, but were finally obliged to yield to numbers, and the advantageous situation the garrison had over them. Several other officers, I am told, are slightly wounded.
We had the misfortune of losing one brass six-pounder in the engagement, and all our mortars were taken from St. Roc the evening after the engagement. This was the fault of some of the officers who commanded, as they might very easily have been brought away, agreeably to my positive orders for that purpose. Our force, at this time, does not exceed eight hundred men, including Colonel Livingston's regiment of two hundred Canadians, and some scattered Canadian forces, amounting to two hundred more. Many of the troops are dejected and anxious to get home, and some have actually set off. I shall endeavour to continue the blockade, while there are any hopes of success. For God's sake, order as many men down as you can possibly spare, consistent with the safety of Montreal, and all the mortars, howitzers, and shells, that you can possibly bring. I hope you will stop every rascal who has deserted from us, and bring him back again.
Every possible mark of distinction was shown to the corpse of General Montgomery, who was to be interred in Quebec this day. Had he been properly supported by his troops, I make no doubt of our success. We are short of cash. Not more than four or five hundred pounds, and only twenty barrels of salt pork. If any can be spared from Montreal, I think best to bring it down, and all the butter.
I beg you will transmit a copy of this letter to the Honorable Continental Congress, and another to his Excellency, General Washington. I think it will be highly necessary, with the reen-forcement which, I make no doubt, Congress will send, that they should order all the large mortars and howitzers at Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and Fort George, on to this place. Monsieur Pallasier, who has a furnace at Three Rivers, assures me that he can cast any size and number of shells between this and the beginning of April. I hope the Honorable Continental congress will not think of sending less than eight or ten thousand men to secure and form a lasting connection with this country.
I am in such excessive pain from my wound (as the bones of my leg are affected), I can only add, that I am, with the greatest esteem, dear Sir,
Your most obedient and very humble servant,
N. B. Many officers here appear dispirited. Your presence will be absolutely necessary. I do not expect to be in a capacity to act this two months.
- 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