Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
I make no doubt, before this, you have received a copy of my letter to General Gates, of the 12th instant, dated at Schuyler's Island, advising of an action between our fleet and the enemy s, the preceding day ; in which we lost a schooner and gondola. We remained no longer at Schuyler's Island than to stop our leaks and mend the sails of the Washington. At two o clock, afternoon, the 12th, weighed anchor, with a fresh breeze to the southward. The enemy's fleet, at the same time, got under way. Our gondolas made very little way ahead.
In the evening the wind moderated, and we made such progress that, at G o clock next morning, we were about off Wills-borough, twenty-eight miles from Crown Point. The enemy's fleet were very little aboveSchuyler's Island. The wind breezed up to the southward, so that we gained very little by beating or rowing. At the same time the enemy took a fresh breeze from the north-east, and, by the time we had reached Split Rock, were alongside of us. The Washington and Congress were in the rear; the rest of our fleet were ahead, except two gondolas sunk at Schuyler's Island. The Washington galley was in such a shattered condition, and had so many men killed and wounded, she struck to the enemy, after receiving a few broadsides. We were then attacked in the Congress galley, by a ship mounting twelve eighteen-pounders, a schooner of fourteen sixes, and one of twelve sixes, two under our stern, and one on our broadside, within musket shot.
They kept up an incessant fire upon us for about five glasses, with round and grape shot, which we returned as briskly. The sails, rigging, and hull of the Congress were shattered and torn in pieces ; the First Lieutenant and three men killed ; when, to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy, who had seven sail around me, I ran her ashore in a small creek, ten miles from Crown Point, on the east side, when, after saving our small arms, I set her on fire, with four gondolas, with whose crews I reached Crown Point, through the woods, that evening, and very luckily escaped the savages, who waylaid the road in two hours after we passed. At four o clock yesterday morning I reached this place, exceedingly fatigued and unwell, having been without sleep or refreshment for near three days.
Of our whole fleet, we have saved only two galleys, two small schooners, one gondola, and one sloop. General Waterbury, with one hundred and ten prisoners, was returned by Carleton last night. On board of the Congress, we had twenty odd men killed and wounded. Our whole loss amounts to eighty odd. The enemy's fleet were last night three miles below Crown Point. Their army is doubtless at their heels. We are busily employed in completing our lines and redoubts, which, I am sorry to say, are not so forward as I could wish. We have very few heavy cannon, but are mounting every piece we have. It is the opinion of Generals Gates and St. Clair, that eight or ten thousand militia should be immediately sent to our assistance, if they can possibly be spared from below.
I am of opinion the enemy will attack us with their fleet and army at the same time. The former is very formidable, a list of which I am favored with by General Waterbury, and have inclosed. The season is so far advanced, our people are daily growing more healthy. We have about nine thousand effectives ; and, if properly supported,. I make no doubt of stopping the career of the enemy. All your letters to me, of late, have miscarried. I am extremely sorry to hear, by General Gates, you are unwell. I have sent you, by General Waterbury, a small box, containing all my public and private papers and accounts, with a considerable sum of hard and paper money, which I beg the favor of your taking care of. I am, dear General,
Your most affectionate, humble servant,
- 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