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I wrote, on the 11th instant, advising you of our present situation and that of the enemy, and took the liberty of presenting you my sentiments on a future plan of operation, for which my zeal for the public service, I hope, will apologize ; since which I have made an estimate (which I now inclose) of such artillery stores, ammunition, &c., which I imagine will be necessary. If it is thought proper to carry on a siege in form, of this I can be no judge, as I know not if powder can be spared from below, or shot, shells, &c., sent up in season. The artillery, except a thirteen-inch mortar (at Crown Point), is all in this country. I have also inclosed a list of such ammunition, stores, &c., as we have on hand. A list of such articles as can be procured at Montreal, St. John s, and Chamblee, will be taken and sent you by General Wooster.
I had encouragement from Monsieur Pallasier, at Three Rivers, of being furnished with shot, shells, &c., in all the month of March. I have this minute received advice from him, that the want of coal will prevent his supplying those articles before May. As coal is his only objection, I have wrote him to procure it, at all events, if it can be done, to supply shells, &c., by the 1st of April; of which the bearer, Major Ogden, will inform. This measure, I hope, will meet your approbation, as the expense of bringing shells from below will be great, and, if not wanted here, the cost will be trifling.
It is very probable the city would surrender before half, or perhaps one quarter, of the shot, shells, &c. in my memorandum were expended; but, if they should make an obstinate resistance, perhaps the whole will be necessary. A gentleman now present assures me, that the King's magazines, containing upwards of three thousand barrels of powder, were all full, and that three hundred barrels, his private property, taken from him by Government, was obliged to be stored in a private vault. Add to this ten thousand stand of arms, seven thousand of which are new, and arrived last summer; also seven thousand complete suits of new clothing, with a large quantity of artillery stores, two frigates with a number of other vessels in the harbour, &c., <fcc. The above-mentioned articles, exclusive of securing an extensive country in our interest, and liberating three or four hundred of our brave men, appear an object of the greatest importance to us under our present circumstances. I make no doubt every necessary measure will be adopted for reducing the city.
Yesterday arrived here a reenforcement of one hundred men from Montreal ; sixty men are soon expected. We are still very weak-handed ; of course the duty severe ; however, the enemy have not dared to come out, though they are double our numbers. Desertions from the garrison are frequent. They are in want of fuel, and have attempted to supply themselves by cut ting down the houses in St. Roc's suburbs (under their guns,) to prevent which I have burnt most of them, with several vessels they had broke up. Every artifice is used by Governor Carleton to procure provisions, and induce the Canadians to take arms against us, to no effect, though seconded by the clergy, our bitter enemies. I make no doubt of continuing the blockade until a proper reinforcement arrives to make use of more coercive measures.
Major Ogden, the bearer of this to Montreal, who came out with me a volunteer, proposes going down to Philadelphia. I beg leave to recommend him as a gentleman who has acted with great spirit and activity through our fatiguing march, and at the attack on Quebec, in which he was wounded.
General Montgomery, on his arrival in this country, was pleased to appoint Mr. John Halsted Commissary. He is a gentle man who has been very active and zealous in our cause, is a merchant, and capable in his department, in which I beg leave to recommend his being continued.
Our finances are low ; we have been obliged to beg, borrow, and squeeze to get money for our subsistence; and, but for Mr. Price, who has been our greatest resource, we must have suffered.
I have the agreeable intelligence from General Wooster, that the Paymaster is at hand. I am, with great esteem, very respectfully, Gentlemen, &c.
- 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