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Letter from General Wooster to Colonel Warner



Montreal, January 6, 1776.

SIR: With the greatest distress of mind I now sit down to write to you of the event of an unfortunate attack made on Quebeck, between the hours of four and six in the morning, of the 31st December; unfortunate indeed for us; in it fell our brave General Montgomery, his Aid-de-camp Macpherson, Captains Cheeseman and Hendricks, of the riflemen, and two or three of the subalterns, and between sixty and one hundred privates, (the number uncertain,) and about three hundred officers and soldiers taken prisoners, among whom are Lieutenant-Colonel Green, Major Bigelow, Major Meigs, and a number of Captains and inferior officers. Colonel Arnold was wounded in the leg, in the beginning of the action, as was Major Ogden, in the shoulder, and brought to the General Hospital. I have not time to give you the particulars, but thus much will suffice to show, that in consequence of this defeat, our prospects in this country are rendered very dubious, and, unless we can quickly be reinforced, perhaps it will be fatal, not only to us, who are stationed here, but to the Colonies in general, especially to the frontiers. Greatly, very greatly, depends upon our keeping possession of this country. You know as well as any other man, the temper and disposition of the Canadians; that they are not persevering in adversity; that they are not to be depended upon, but, like the Savages, are extremely fond of choosing the strongest party; and, add to this, our enemies in the country, of which there are many, who use every method to excite the Canadians against us; among other things, they tell them that the United Colonies intend to abandon the country; the clergy refused absolution to all who have shown themselves our friends, and preach damnation to those that will not take up


arms against us, and tell them that now it is not too late that we are but a handful of men.

I have sent an express to General Schuyler, General Washington, and to Congress, but you know bow far they have to go, and it is very uncertain how long it will be before we can have relief from them. You, sir, and the Green-Mountain corps are in our neighbourhood; you all have arms, and, I am confident, ever stand ready to lend a helping hand to your brethren in distress. I am sensible that there was some disagreement between you and General Montgomery. Poor man! he has lost his life fighting valiantly for his country, but why do I mention any thing about disagreement between you; I know that no private resentment can hinder your exercising every faculty to vindicate the rights and privileges for which we are nobly contending; therefore, let me beg of you, to collect as many men as you can, five, six, or seven hundred, and if you can, and some how or other, convey into this country, and stay with us till we can have relief from the Colonies. You are sensible we have provisions of all kinds in abundance, and the weather in this country is not so frightful as many have imagined. You will see that proper officers are appointed under you, and both officers and soldiers shall be paid as the other Continental troops. It will be well for your men to set out as fast as they are collected, not so much matter whether together or not, but let them set out, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty, as they can be first collected, for it must have a good effect on the minds of the Canadians, to see succour coming in. You will be good enough to send copies of this letter, or such parts of it as you think proper, to the people below you. I cannot but think our friends will make a push into the country, and am confident you will not disappoint my most fervent wish and expectation in seeing you here, with your men, in a very short time. Now is the time for you to distinguish yourselves; of obtaining the united applause of your grateful countrymen, of your distressed friends in Canada, and your very great friend and servant,

David Wooster

To Colonel Warner.