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General Washington to Colonel Arnold



Cambridge, January 27, 1776.

DEAR SIR: On the 17th instant I received the melancholy account of the unfortunate attack on the city of Quebeck, attended with the fall of General Montgomery and other brave officers and men, and your being wounded. This unhappy affair affects me in a very sensible manner, and I sincerely condole with you upon the occasion. But in the midst of distress I am happy to find that suitable honours were paid to the remains of Mr˙ Montgomery; and our officers and soldiers, who have fallen into their hands, treated with kindness and humanity.

Having received no intelligence later than the copy of your letter of the 2d, to General Wooster, I would fain hope that you are not in a worse situation than you then were, though I confess I have greatly feared that their misfortunes would be succeeded by others, on account of your unhappy condition and the dispirited state of the officers and men. If they have not, I trust when you are joined by three regiments now raising in this and the Governments of Connecticut and New-Hampshire, and two others, ordered by the Congress from Pennsylvania and the Jerseys with the men already sent by Colonel Warner, that these misfortunes will be done away, and things resume a more favourable and promising appearance than ever.

I need not mention to you the great importance of this place, and the consequent possession of all Canada in the scale of American affairs; you are well apprized of it. To whomsoever it belongs, in their favour, probably, will the balance turn. If it is in ours, success, I think, will most certainly crown our virtuous struggles; if it is in theirs, the contest, at least, will be doubtful, hazardous, and bloody. The glorious work must be accomplished in the course of this Winter, otherwise it will become difficult, most probably impracticable. For Administration knowing that it will be impossible ever to reduce us to a state of slavery and arbitrary rule without it, will certainly send a large reinforcement there in the Spring. I am fully convinced that your exertions will be invariably directed to this grand object; and I already view the approaching day, when you and your brave followers will enter this important Fortress with every honour and triumph attendant on victory and conquest. Then will you have added the only link wanting in the great chain of Continental Union, and rendered the freedom of your country secure.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, and the possession of those laurels which your bravery and perseverance justly merit, I am, dear sir, &c˙,


To Colonel Arnold.