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I am, my dear Janet, so exceedingly out of spirits and so chagrined with the behavior of the troops, that I most heartily repent having undertaken to lead them. I went down the river the other day with 800 or 900 men, in order to rut off the communication between St. Johns and Montreal. The detachment marched off from the boats at night, and in less than half an hour, returned in the utmost confusion, some little noise having been made by a few of our own stragglers in the bushes. They gave way near the front, and the panic spreading, they were like sheep, with some few exceptions, nor can I say who behaved worst. With solicitation, entreaty and reproaches, I got them off again, and in less than an hour they came back, having behaved almost as infamously as at first. In their last excursion the advanced guard surprised a Canadian officer and some Indians in a hut ; the officer and one Indian were killed, but the firing of two or three shot set the whole line a-firing without any object. The commanding officer, who was Ritzma, represented the impracticability of getting the' detachment off. The next morning I tried again with as little success. In short, such a set of pusillanimous wretches never were collected. Could I, with decency, leave the army in its present situation, I would not serve an hour longer. I am much afraid the general character of the people has been too justly represented. However, there are some whose spirit I have confidence in ; they are taking pains with the men, and they flatter me with hopes of prevailing on them to retrieve their characters. We were so unfortunate as to have some Canadians witnesses of our disgrace ! What they will think of the brave Bostonians, I know not! My own feelings tell me they are not likely to put confidence in such friends. Shew this to your father only ; it can't be of service to our common cause to make known our weakness.
May I have better news to write hereafter !
Adieu, my dearest Janet
Believe me most affectionately yours,
- Richard Montgomery
- Biographical Notes Concerning General Richard Montgomery Together With Hitherto Unpublished Letters. 1876.