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Benedict Arnold to the Committee of Safety at Cambridge



(Per express.)

Crown Point, May 23, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: My last was of the 19th instant, by Captain Jonathan Brown. I then advised you of my taking possession of the King' s sloop, &c˙; and that, on the 18th instant, on my return from St˙ John' s, Colonel E˙ Allen, with about eighty or one hundred men, passed me with intention of making a stand at St˙ John' s; and not being able to dissuade him from so rash a purpose, I supplied them with provisions, &c. Yesterday he arrived at Ticonderoga, with his party, and says that on the evening of the 18th instant he arrived with his party at St˙ John' s, and hearing of a detachment of men on the road from Mortreal, laid in ambush for them; but his people being so much fatigued, (when the party were about one mile distant,) thought proper to retreat, and crossed the lake at St˙ John' s, where they continued the night. At dawn next day they were, when asleep, saluted with a discharge of grape-shot from six field-pieces, and a discharge of small arms from about two hundred Regulars. They made a precipitate retreat, and left behind them three men. Immediately on this advice I proceeded here with the sloop and schooner, well armed as possible under our circumstances, and eighty men, which, with the party here before, makes near one hundred, and fifty men, with whom I am determined to make a stand here to secure the cannon, it being impossible to remove them, at present. I am in hourly expectation of two or three hundred men more; most of those here are enlisted. Colonel Allen' s men are in general gone home.

As the Regulars have good information of our strength and movements, I am apprehensive of their paying us a visit, provided they can get batteaus from Montreal to St˙ John' s. I shall make every possible preparation to give them a warm reception. I have commissioned Captain John Sloan in the sloop, and Captain Isaac Mathues in the schooner. I have wrote to New-York for a number of gunners and seamen to man the two vessels, being in great want of them. At present obliged to stay on board one of them myself.

As soon as a sufficient number of men arrives, I shall lose no time in carrying your orders into execution in regard to the cannon, &c. This morning, very luckily, an escort of provisions (five barrels of pork and thirty barrels of flour) arrived here as a present from Albany, under the care of Captain Elisha Phelps. The last barrel of our pork being abroach, I have ordered fifty barrels of pork and one hundred of flour from Albany, which I expect soon; prior to which I bought fifteen oxen and thirty barrels of flour, which is all the provisions purchased as yet. The people who have enlisted are promised the same bounty as is given in the Massachusetts-Bay. A sum of money will be requisite to carry matters into execution. I


have one hundred and sixty Pounds, found in the sloop; but as it was the Captain' s property, do not choose to make use of it at present. I have sent to Albany repeatedly for powder, and can get none; have only one hundred and fifty pounds here, which I brought from Concord. I beg you will order a quantity to be forwarded here immediately. I have wrote to Connecticut, but can have no dependence from that quarter, as it is very scarce there.

I hope some gentleman will soon be appointed in my room here, who is better able to serve the publick than I am. Interim, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,

To the Committee of Safety at Cambridge.

P˙S. Since writing the above, one of Colonel Allen' s party, who was taken prisoner at St˙ John' s, has made his escape, and says, that on the 19th instant there were four hundred Regulars at St˙ John' s, who expected to be joined by more men, and were making all possible preparation to cross the lake and retake Crown Point and Ticonderoga. I have sent expresses to Fort George and Skenesborough, to rally the Country. You may depend, gentlemen, these places will not be given up unless we are overpowered by numbers, or deserted by Providence, which has hitherto supported us.