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Benedict Arnold to the Assembly of Connecticut



Crown Point, May 23, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: My last was of the 19th instant, per Captain Oswald. I then advised you of my taking possession of the King' s sloop, &c˙, at St˙ John' s, and that, on the 18th instant, I met Colonel Allen, with eighty or one hundred men, who were proceeding to St˙ John' s, with intention to make a stand there; and not being able to dissuade them from their rash purpose, I supplied them with provisions, &c. Yesterday he returned to Ticonderoga, with his party, and says, that on the evening of the 18th he arrived at St˙ John' s, and hearing of a detachment of men on the road from Montreal, lay in ambush for them; but his party being so much fatigued, when the detachment were at about two miles distance, he thought proper to retreat, and crossed the lake at St˙ John' s, where they continued the night, and at dawn, of day were 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 three men behind. Immediately on this intelligence I proceeded for this place with the sloop and schooner, as 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, &c. As the Regulars have got advice 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. We have plenty of ball of every kind, but have no more than one hundred and fifty pounds of powder here. I have wrote repeatedly to Albany for powder, and can get none. I must entreat you, gentlemen, to send me four or five hundred weight as soon as possible. Out of twenty-six barrels found, here there is not one pound good.

I am, with great esteem, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,


The Hon˙ General Assembly of Connecticut.

P˙S. This will be delivered you, gentlemen, by Captain Phelps, who has been very serviceable here, whom I must refer you to for particulars, Must beg leave to observe, I think it highly necessary for Connecticut to send here immediately fifteen hundred men at least, with good arms, ammunition, &c.

GENTLEMEN: Since writing the above, one of Colonel Allen' s party, taken at St˙ John' s, made his escape on the 19th instant, and says there were then four hundred Regulars at St˙ John' s, making all possible preparation to cross the lake, and expected to be joined by a number of Indians, with a design of retaking these places, &c. I have sent to alarm the country for fifty miles below Skenesborough, and fifty miles, below Fort George, towards Albany. The men from that distance will be sufficient for the present, if we are well supplied with powder. We are making all possible preparation, and I hope, with the smiles of Providence, to keep our ground, if not overpowered by numbers, I am, gentlemen, yours, &c˙,