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Letter from General Arnold to General Gates



Isle-aux-Motte, September 8, 1776.

DEAR GENERAL: When I wrote the foregoing letter, I designed sending off the batteaus last evening, but was prevented by the stormy weather. Last night the enemy were heard by the guard boat and the people on board the vessels near in shore. On both sides of us several trees were felled and lights discovered. I believe the enemy were erecting batteries, which might have injured us, as the Lake is only one and a quarter miles over, and their design was doubtless to have attacked us both by land and water at the same time. I make no doubt we should have been more than a match for them, but did not think it prudent to run any risk, as it would answer no good purpose. I therefore ordered the fleet under way this morning, and at two o' clock, p˙ m˙, anchored at this place. Here, the Lake is about two miles over, and safe anchorage. We effectually secure any boats passing us. Just as we came to anchor, Lieutenant Brooks came on board, sent down by Colonel Hartley in consequence of hearing our cannon fired at the Indians on Sunday morning. I have thought it necessary to despatch him back again, that you may be out of suspense with regard to us. Four guard boats are constantly out, the rounds go every two hours at night, and every precaution is taken to prevent being surprised.

Our men are extremely bare of clothing, and the season is coming on severe, and more soon the water than land. If a watch-coat or blanket and one shirt could be sent for each man, it will be of great service for them. Rum is another necessary article. When the howitzers arrive, I beg three or four of six inches may be sent us, mounted on field carriages, with shells, &,c˙, &c˙ Fifty swivels are much wanted; the last vessels have none.

I am, very affectionately, dear General, your obedient, humble servant,


To Major-General Gates.

P˙ S˙ Send me a few quires paper.