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Journal of Colonel Arnold' s march


A Journal of an intended Tour from CAMBRIDGE to QUEBECK, via KENNEBECK, with a detachment of two Regiments of Musketeers and three Companies of Riflers, consisting of about eleven hundred effective men, commanded by BENEDICT ARNOLD.

Having received orders from his Excellency General Washington to march with the above detachment, I set out on Friday morning, the 15th of September, from Cambridge; dined at Salem, where I procured two hundred pounds of ginger, and engaged a teamster to transport that and two hundred and seventy blankets, received from the Committee of Safety, by order of Major Mifflin, Quartermaster-General, to Newburyport, where I arrived at ten o' clock the same evening.

Saturday, 16. — This evening the whole detachment arrived; despatched three boats to Kennebeck, Isle-of-Shoals, and along shore, to look out for men of war and cruisers, with orders to give us the earliest intelligence, if they discovered any on the coast; and procured a quantity of small stores, &c. N˙ B. Contrary winds.

Sunday, 17. — Head winds and thick weather; made preparation to embark.

Monday, 18. — The whole detachment embarked; one of the boats just returned, and informs us the coast is quite clear.

Tuesday, 19. — Weighed anchor at seven o' clock, A˙ M˙, and at noon all the transports, being eleven in number, got


safe out of the harbour, except the Schooner Swallow, which run on the rocks, and could not be got off this tide; took all the men from on board her, except twelve, including Captain Scott, whom I ordered to follow us, as fast as possible. As soon as our fleet passed the bar, ordered the Captain of each vessel to be furnished with a copy of the following signals, which are to be hoisted on board the Schooner Broadbay, Captain James Clarkson, who is to lead the van:

1. Signal for speaking with the whole fleet: ensign at main-topmast head.

2. Signal for chasing a sail: ensign at fore-topmast head.

3. Signal for heaving to: lantern at mast head, and two guns, if head on shore; and three guns, if offshore.

4. Signal for making sail in the night: lantern at mast head, and four guns. In the day, for making sail, jack at fore-topmast head.

5. Signal for dispersing, and every vessel making the nearest harbour: ensign at main peak.

6. Signal (or boarding any vessel: jack at main-topmast head, and the whole fleet to draw up in a line, as near as possible. N˙ B. No guns to be fired without orders.

This being done, bore away for Kennebeck, wind W˙ S˙ W˙; about four o' clock, P˙ M˙, brought to and spoke with two fishing schooners, who could give us no intelligence; the weather came on thick and foggy; continued a N˙ N˙ E˙ course till twelve o' clock at night, when we hove to, with head off shore, off Wood Island, and at two o' clock made the signal for heaving to, with head on shore.

Wednesday, 20. — Made sail again early in the morning; weather still continues very thick and foggy, attended with rain, and at nine o' clock, A˙ M˙, arrived safe in the mouth of Arowsick, with all our fleet, except three, without the least molestation from the enemy; anchored about six hours at Eels Eddy; sent on shore for some refreshment, as many of the people were extremely sea sick on the passage; weighed anchor, and proceeded up the river as far as Georgetown, where we lay all night, when one of our fleet, viz: Captain˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ , overtook us.

Thursday, 21. — Weighed anchor at five, A˙ M˙; after sailing a few miles, discovered the other two of our fleet coming through Sheepscut Creek, they having run past the mouth of Arowsick the day before; left the transports in the river, wind and tide unfavourable, and proceeded as far as Gardinerstown.

Friday, 22. — This morning arrived three of the transports; were employed the whole day in forwarding the men, provisions, batteaus, &c˙, to Fort Western; engaged two caulkers, some guides, and assistants; at four, P˙ M˙, arrived the Schooner Swallow, which run on the rocks off Newbury; she brings intelligence that the Houghton, Captain Somersby, with one hundred and twenty men, and the Eagle, Captain Maby, with eighty-four men, were aground fifteen miles down the river; engaged the Swallow, and a number of men, to go to their relief.

Saturday, 23. — Embarked the men, and sent them on to Fort Western, with their batteaus laden with provisions; all the vessels weighed anchor, and stood up the river, and anchored above five miles short of Fort Western, the water not permitting them to go up higher; at six, P˙ M˙, arrived at Howard' s, at Fort Western.

Sunday, 24. — Despatched Lieutenant Steel, with six men, in two birch canoes, to Chaudiere Pond, to reconnoitre, and get all the intelligence he possibly can from the Indians, who, I am informed, are hunting there; and also Lieutenant Church and seven men, with a surveyor and pilot, to take the exact courses and distances to the Dead River.

Monday, 25. — Despatched the three Companies of Riflers, with forty-five days' provisions, under command of Captain Morgan, as an advanced party, with orders to proceed to the great carrying place, and to cut a road over to the Dead River; about three o' clock, P˙ M˙, Lieutenant Gray arrived, with a number of manifestoes and a letter from Colonel Reed.

Tuesday, 26. — The second division, consisting of three Companies, viz: Hubbard' s, Topham' s, and Thayer' s, under command of Colonel Greene, embarked; James McCormick, a private in Captain Goodrich' s Company, tried by a Court-Martial for the murder of Reuben Bishop, a Sergeant in Captain Williams' s Company, and received


sentence of death, but respited till his Excellency General Washington' s pleasure be known, and ordered to Head-Quarters; a number of our men employed in bringing up provisions, &c˙; wrote his Excellency General Washington, and despatched back five of the transports.

Wednesday, 27. — The third division, consisting of four Companies, viz: Hanchett' s, Ward' s, Dearborn' s, and Goodrich' s, under command of Major Meigs, embarked; sent down a number of boats to bring up all the flour from below, and sent to the Commissary to forward on all the batteaus, &c.

Thursday, 28. — Part of the fourth and last division, McCobb' s and Scott' s Companies, embarked; Captain Williams' s Company being left for batteaus, oars, paddles, &c˙; sent for Colonel Enos and the Commissary to come up from Coburn' s with all the men and batteaus; ordered the sick and criminal on board the Broadbay, Captain Clarkson, with stores, &c.

Friday, 29. — Set out in a birch canoe, about noon; left Colonel Enos, with Captain Williams' s Company, to bring up the rear, with the provisions behind; our canoe proves very leaky; stopped at Vassalborough, eight miles above Fort Western, and changed her for another, and having gone about twelve miles, lodged six miles short of Fort Halifax.

Saturday, 30. — At six o' clock, A˙ M˙, crossed the Six Mile Falls, and at ten arrived at Fort Halifax, where I found Captain Dearborn' s and Goodrich' s Companies first passing the carrying place, which is about sixty rods over; course of the river, from Fort Western to Fort Halifax, N˙ N˙ E˙; distance eighteen miles; at two, P˙ M˙, dined at Crosier' s, and hired him, with his team, to carry our baggage over land about five miles, to avoid the ripples and quick water above the falls, which are very dangerous and difficult to pass; at five, P˙ M˙, left the landing place, and proceeded up the river about two miles, when we overtook Major Meigs and party, with whom we encamped; whole distance this day thirteen miles; course N.

Sunday, October 1. — Left our encampment early in the morning; at ten, A˙ M˙, passed the seven and fifteen mile streams; dined at one Western' s; at four, P˙ M˙, reached the Scohegan Falls, where we overtook Hubbard' s and Thayer' s Companies; after crossing the carrying place, which is about one hundred rods, launched our batteau again, and proceeded up the river about five miles, and at eight, P˙ M˙, encamped at the widow Warren' s; distance seventeen miles; course to Scohegan Falls, about N˙; from the falls to where we lodged, S˙ W˙; water quiet part of the way; quick and small falls.

Monday, 2. — After going a mile, overtook Colonel Greene, Major Bigelow, Captain Topham, and Company; about eight, A˙ M˙, passed the Bombazee Falls, and at ten arrived at Norridgewock Falls, six miles and a half from the widow Warren' s; great part of the way swift water and rapids; the land from Fort Western to this place appears, in general, very good and fertile, but is thinly inhabited; here we leave the English settlements, no inhabitants being above the falls, which, by the best estimation, are fifty miles from Fort Western; here I overtook Captain Morgan, with his division, who had just got their baggage over the carrying place, which is one mile; course N˙ W.

Tuesday, 3. — The Riflers proceed for the great carrying place; Topham' s, Thayer' s, and Hubbard' s Companies employed in gelling over their baggage, and examining their bread, great part of which is damaged by the boat' s leaking, and the difficulty of passing the rapids, which is impossible for people unacquainted to get up the boats without shipping water; here are some small vestiges of an Indian Town, destroyed by the English about fifty years since, namely, the foundation of an old church and altar, the monument over St˙ Francis, the founder of the church, &c˙; the whole tribe, we are told, are extinct, except two or three.

Wednesday, 4. — Carpenters employed in repairing batteaus, and the several Companies in carrying over their provisions, some of which prove unfit for use; Colonel Greene' s division proceeded forward; Major Meigs' s division arrived with Colburn.

Thursday, 5. — Companies employed as the preceding day.


Friday, 6. — Major Meigs, with his division, went forward; Colonel Enos, with the rear division, arrived.

Saturday, 7. — The last divisions employed in examining their bread, part of which is wet and unfit for use, and carrying their baggage and provisions over the portage.

Sunday, 8. — We have not been able to get our baggage, &c˙, over the portage until this morning, though we have had constantly two sleds going with oxen, owing to the height of the hill and the bad road; a storm of rain prevents our proceeding this day.

Monday, 9. — Struck our tent, carried our baggage over the portage, embarked, and proceeded up about three miles, a N˙ N˙ E˙ course; here the river takes a remarkable turn to the E˙ N˙ E˙, about three-quarters of a mile, then turns W˙ and N˙ about three-quarters of a mile more, and then returns to its proper course again; we crossed the elbow over land, being about thirty rods, which saves more than a mile of rapid water; at twelve o' clock passed the seven mile stream; at three, P˙ M˙, dined on one of the islands, and at five encamped with Captain McCobb, on another island, within two miles of Caratunker, or Devil' s Falls; whole distance this day, sixteen miles; course N˙ N˙ E˙ easterly, the water very rapid; the land, from the mouth of the river to Caratunker Falls, appears level, and in general fertile, and tolerably well wooded, with some oak, elm, ash, beech, maple, pine, hemlock, &c.

Tuesday, 10. — At nine o' clock, A˙ M˙, arrived at Caratunker Falls; the fall of water, fifteen feet; the portage near fifty rods over; we proceeded up the river, about five miles, against a very rapid stream, course N˙; here the mountains begin to appear on each side of the river, high and level on the tops, and appear well wooded; the river, from Norridgewock to the great carrying place is very irregular in width, but in general about four hundred yards, and full of small islands, which appear very fertile land; we ascended the river this day about twelve miles; in general very rapid and shallow water; encamped late in the evening, much fatigued.

Wednesday, 11. — We embarked early this morning, and proceeded up the river; the stream very rapid indeed; at ten, A˙ M˙, arrived at the great carrying place, which is very remarkable — a large brook emptying itself into the river just above, which comes from the first lake; when abreast of the carrying place, in the river, you will observe, at about four hundred yards above you, a large mountain, in shape of a sugar loaf, at the foot of which the river turns off to the eastward; this mountain, when you are at the carrying place, seems to rise out of the middle of the river — here I overtook Captain Morgan and his division, and Col˙ Geeene, with his division; part of each had proceeded as far as the second lake; Major Meigs arrived just before me; met Lieutenant Church, who had been at the Dead River, on a survey, and reports as follows:

From Kennebeck, over the portage, to the first pond or lake; course W˙, twenty-seven degrees N˙; distance three- quarters of a mile, rising ground; bad road, but capable of being made good; over the first pond, half a mile, which pond is a quarter of a mile long; here our people caught a prodigious number of very fine salmon-trout, nothing being more common than a man' s taking eight or ten dozen in one hour' s time, which generally weigh half a pound apiece; the second portage is W˙, six degrees N˙ half a mile and twenty rods; very level, but rough road; the second pond is in length, from north to south, two and a half miles, and half a mile wide; the third carrying place is one mile and a quarter and forty rods; the road very bad; course W˙, ten degrees N˙; the third pond is in length, from north to south, three miles, and two miles wide; course over it, W˙ by N˙; the fourth or last portage is W˙, twenty degrees N˙; distance two and three-quarter miles, and sixty rods; the first part of the road tolerably good; the last mile a savanna, wet and miry, about six or eight inches deep.

Thursday, 12. — Lieutenant Steel returned from Chaudiere Pond, and says he discovered no Indians; that the Dead River, from the last carrying place, he judges to be eighty miles, most part of the way a fine, deep river; the current hardly perceptible; some fine falls, and short carrying places, and rapid water; the carrying place from Dead River to Chaudiere Pond, about four miles; very good and even ground, most part of the way, and plenty of moose


and other game on tbe river; this day employed Captain Goodrich' s Company in building a log house on the second portage, to accommodate the sick, eight or ten in number, who we are obliged to leave behind; also a party on the east side of the first portage, to build a small log house for men and provisions; ordered Lieutenants Steel and Church, with twenty axe-men and a surveyor, to Chaudiere Pond, to clear the portages and take a survey of the country; Lieutenant Steel to go down Chaudiere, near the inhabitants, and examine the falls, portages, &c˙, and return to the pond as soon as possible.

Our men are much fatigued in carrying over their batteaus, provisions, &c˙, the road being extremely bad; however, their spirit and industry seems to overcome every obstacle, and they appear very cheerful. We have had remarkable fine weather since we left Cambridge, and only one death has happened, and very few accidents by water, which is the more remarkable, as there seldom passes a season without some people being drowned in the Kennebeck, which is very difficult and dangerous to ascend.

Friday, 13. — This morning despatched one Eneas and another Indian with letters to some gentlemen in Quebeck, and to General Schuyler; sent a white man with them, who is to proceed as far as Sartigan, and after discovering the sentiments of the inhabitants, and procuring all the intelligence he can, is to return to us at Chaudiere Pond, where we expect to meet him in about seven or eight days; two divisions have this day reached the Dead River.

ELEAZER OSWALD, Sec' y pro tem.