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Letter from General Wooster to General Washington



Montreal, January 21, 1776.

SIR: I herewith enclose a letter just received from Colonel Arnold, and take this opportunity most heartily to condole with you for the loss of the brave and most amiable General Montgomery, and the other brave officers and soldiers who fell with him, and for the failure of success in the unfortunate attack upon Quebeck, the particulars of which, you will, doubtless, have received before this reaches you.

I should have gone down, immediately, upon hearing of the defeat, to the camp before Quebeck, but the necessity of securing this place, and the country round, in our interest, induced all the officers and our friends here, to request me not to leave this place, till we should have a reinforcement from the Colonies; when they arrive, I expect to proceed on with them. We have many enemies in this Province, particularly among the Clergy, who are using every artifice to excite the Canadians to lake up arms against us; but I hope to be able to prevent any thing of the kind. I have called in many of the commissions given by Governour Carleton, and have given out new ones under the Congress, and expect soon to have them spread through the country, which, I expect, and indeed I perceive already, that it answers very salutary purposes; after receiving new commissions, they look upon themselves as bound, and unless we succeed, they will all be treated as Traitors. I allow each Parish to choose their own Captains, a circumstance which pleases them much; and there has been but few instances that they have not chosen a zealous friend to our cause.

The taking of Quebeck must be a matter of the greatest consequence to the Colonies, but at present we are very ill provided for it. The place is strong. I believe they are determined to defend it to the last extremity. We have but about four tons of powder in the Province. We have, I believe, a sufficiency of small cannon, none larger than twelve pounders, except two brass twenty-fours, which are at St˙ John' s. We have expectations of having shot and shells cast at Three-Rivers.

In my opinion, it will not only be necessary to forward men and powder from the Colonies but also, a number of heavy cannon, such as thirty-two pounders, and one thirteen inch mortar, if no more, and some small ones, if to be had. I understand that the large mortar from Ticonderoga, with a number of pieces of cannon, are gone to your


camp. It is of the greatest importance, that whatever is sent from the Colonies, should be here by the middle of March, at farthest, for, after that time, the gentlemen here inform me, it will be impossible to transport any thing from this place to Quebeck, on account of the river' s being filled with ice, and water, of consequence, overflows the flat country. Therefore, if any of our wants can he supplied from your camp, I could wish that whatever is sent may be forwarded as expeditiously as possible.

I am, sir, with the greatest esteem and respect, your most obedient servant,


To General Washington.