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Benedict Arnold to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety



Crown Point, May 19, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: My last was of the 14th instant, by Mr˙ Romans, via New-Haven. I then acquainted you of the occasion of delay in not carrying your orders into execution. The afternoon of the same day, being joined by Captains Brown and Oswald, with fifty men, enlisted on the road, they having taken possession of a small schooner at Skenesborough, we immediately proceeded on our way for St˙ John' s, and at eight o' clock, P˙M˙, the 17th instant, arrived within thirty miles of St˙ John' s; the weather proving calm, manned out two small batteaus with thirty-five men, and the next morning, at six o' clock, arrived at St˙ John' s, surprised and took a sergeant and his party of twelve men, the King' s sloop, of about seventy tons, with two brass six-pounders and seven men, without any loss on either side. The Captain was gone to Montreal, and hourly expected with a large detachment for Ticonderoga, a number of guns and carriages for the sloop, which was just fixed for sailing; add to this, there was a Captain of forty men at Chamblee, twelve miles distant from St˙ John' s, who was expected there every minute with his party; so that it seemed to be a mere interposition of Providence that we arrived at so fortunate an hour. We took such stores on board as were valuable, and the wind proving favourable, in two hours after we arrived, weighed anchor for this place, with the sloop and four of the King' s batteaus, having destroyed five others; so that there is not left a single batteau for the King' s Troops, Canadians, or Indians, to cross the Lake in, if they have any such intention.

I must, in justice to Colonel Allen, observe that he left Crown Point soon after me for St˙ John' s, with one hundred and fifty men, and on my return met him five leagues this side, and supplied him with provisions, his men being in a starving condition. He informed me of his intention of proceeding on to St˙ John' s with eighty or one hundred men, and keeping possession there. It appeared to me a wild, impracticable scheme, and provided it could be carried into execution, of no consequence, so long as we are masters of the Lake, and of that I make no doubt, as I am determined to arm the sloop and schooner immediately.

I wrote you, gentlemen, in my former letters, that I should be extremely glad to be superseded in my command here, as I find it next to impossible to repair the old fort at Ticonderoga, and am not qualified to direct in building a new one. I am really of opinion it will be necessary to employ one thousand or fifteen hundred men here this summer, in which I have the pleasure of being joined in sentiment by Mr˙ Romans, who is esteemed an able engineer. I am making all possible provision for wheel-carriages to carry such cannon, &c. to Albany as can be spared here, and will be serviceable to our army at Cambridge.

I must refer you for particulars to the bearer, Captain Jonathan Brown, who has been very active and serviceable, and is a prudent, good officer; and I beg leave to observe I have had intimations given me, that some persons had determined to apply to you and the Provincial Congress, to injure me in your esteem, by misrepresenting matters of fact. I know of no other motive they can have,


only my refusing them commissions, for the very simple reason that I did not think them qualified. However, gentlemen, I have the satisfaction of imagining I am employed by gentlemen of so much candour, that my conduct will not be condemned until I have the opportunity of being heard. I am, with the greatest respect, gentlemen, your most devoted and very humble servant,


To the Committee of Safety, Cambridge.

P˙S. Enclosed is a memorandum of such cannon, &c˙, as I intend sending to Cambridge, also of such as are here. By a return from Montreal to General Gage, I find there are seven hundred and seventeen men in Canada, of the Seventh and Twenty-Sixth Regiments, including seventy which we have taken prisoners.

A List of Cannon, &c˙, taken at Crown Point.
2 iron 24-pounders,
1 do˙ do˙ useless,
1 brass do˙ serviceable,
4 iron 18-pounders, not examined, but appear good,
14 iron 12-pounders, do˙
4 French do˙ useless,
8 12 and 18 do˙ not examined, but appear good,
7 long 9-pounders, double fortified, good,
12 long 9-pounders, serviceable,
2 do˙ do˙ mounted,
33 6 and 9-pounders, useless,
7 9 and 12 do˙ do˙
2 long 6 do˙ good,
2 short 6 do˙ bad,
3 do˙ do˙ not examined,
3 do˙ do˙ useless,
All serviceable.
1 English 13-inch mortar,
1 French do˙
2 do˙ 8-inch do˙
2 8-inch howitzers.
A List of Cannon, &c˙, taken at Ticonderoga.
3 18-pounders, good,
2 French do˙ bad,
2 12-pounders, good,
6 12 do˙ double fortified, good,
2 v12 do˙ useless,
12 9 do˙ good,
5 9 do˙ bad,
18 6 do˙ bad,
9 4 do˙ good,
1 6 do˙ good,
19 swivels, good,
2 wall pieces, good,
2 French 12-pounders, bad,
1 13-inch mortar, and bed, good,
1 7 do˙ do˙ good,
1 7-inch howitzer, good.
28 iron truck wheels,
10 carriages, fit for use.

N˙B. I shall send to Cambridge the 24-pounders, 12 and 6-pounders, howitzers, &c˙, as directed by Colonel Gridley. Four brass howitzers in the edge of the Lake, and covered with water, cannot be come at present.