Primary tabs

Letter from Colonel Arnold to General Wooster



General Hospital, December 31, 1775.

DEAR SIR: I make no doubt but General Montgomery acquainted you with his intentions of storming Quebeck, as soon as a good opportunity offered. As we had several men deserted from us a few days past, the General was induced to alter his plan, (which was, to have attacked the upper and lower town at the same time,) thought it most prudent to make two different attacks upon the lower town; the one at Cape-Diamond, the other through St˙ Roque' s. For the last attack I was ordered, with my own detachment and Captain Lamb' s company of Artillery. At five o' clock, the hour appointed for the attack, a false attack was ordered to be made upon the upper town. We, accordingly, began our march. I passed through St˙


Roque' s, and approached near a two-gun battery, picketed in, without being discovered, which we attacked; it was bravely defended for about an hour, but, with the loss of a number of men, we carried it. In the attack, I was shot through the leg, and was obliged to be carried to the Hospital, where I soon heard the disagreeable news that the General was defeated at Cape-Diamond, himself, Captain Macpherson, his Aid-de-camp, and Captain Cheeseman, killed on the spot, with a number of others not known. After gaining the battery, my detachment pushed on to a second barrier, which they took possession of; at the same time the enemy sallied out from Palace-Gate and attacked them in the rear, A field-piece, which the roughness of the road would not permit our carrying on, fell into the enemy' s hands, with a number of prisoners. The last accounts from my detachment, about ten minutes since, they were pushing for the lower town. Their communication with me was cut off. I am exceedingly apprehensive what the event will be; they will either carry the lower town, be made prisoners, or cut to pieces. I thought proper to send an express to let you know the critical situation we are in, and make no doubt you will give us all the assistance in your power. As I am not able to act, I shall give up the command to Colonel Campbell. I beg you will immediately send an express to the honourable Continental Congress, and his Excellency General Washington. The loss of my detachment, before I left it, was about two hundred men, killed and wounded. Among the latter is Major Ogden, who, with Captain Oswald, Captain Burr, and the other volunteers, behaved extremely well. I have only to add, that I am, with the greatest esteem, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To General Wooster, Montreal.

P˙ S. It is impossible to say what our future operations will be, until we know the fate of my detachment.