Primary tabs

Letter from Captain Wilkinson to General Greene



La Chine, May 24, 1776 — 12 o' clock at night, about 12 miles from Montreal.

MY DEAR SIR: We are now in a sweet situation: a part of the garrison at Detroit, in conjunction with Indians and Canadians, to the amount of one thousand men, have made themselves masters of Colonel Beattie' s Regiment, who were stationed about nine miles from this place among the Cedars, and have cut off our friend Major Sherburne, with one hundred and forty men, who were detached to relieve the regiment, which defended itself in a little fort. The Major, with that courage which marks his character, pushed his way, after an engagement of four hours, into the fort, and was afterwards obliged to yield for want of ammunition and provision; since which time, General Arnold, with a handful of men, have been throwing up a breastwork here, in order to stop the enemy' s progress; and had, indeed, meditated a plan of attacking them. But alas, so astonishingly are matters conducted in this quarter that, notwithstanding the General' s most pressing solicitations, and the length of time since he took possession of this post, we cannot now muster more than four hundred and fifty men, whilst the proximity and movements of the enemy assure us that we shall be attacked within six hours. Their drums were heard this evening at our camp, and a man of mine was shot through the thigh within half a mile of it by an Indian, who took off a prisoner. But the morning dawns — that morn big with the fate of a few, a handful of brave fellows. I shall do my part; but remember, if I fall, I am sacrificed. May God bless you equal to your merits. Vale.