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Fig. 71.-Montgomery Leading on his Men. ed all his prisoners. He fought as a soldier, and felt as a man. The Americans were not ignorant of their own great inferiority in point of numbers to the garrison, and were not without apprehensions of being attacked; but, although the garrison was three times more numerous than the blockading army, yet it was of such a mixed and precarious nature, that Sir Guy Carleton did not deem it prudent to march out against the enemy.
A small reinforcement from Massachusetts reached the American camp, and all the troops that could be spared from Montreal marched to join their countrymen before Quebec ; but the month of February was far advanced before the army amounted to 960 men. Arnold, however, resumed the siege ; but his artillery was inadequate to the undertaking, and made no impression on the works. Although unsuccessful against the town, he defeated a body of Canadians who advanced to relieve it.
While the American army lay before Quebec, the troops caught the small-pox from a woman who had been a nurse in an hospital of the city; and the loathsome disease spread rapidly among them. In order to mitigate the ravages of this destructive malady, many of the men inoculated themselves, regardless of orders to the contrary. The reinforcements, which were daily arriving, had recourse to the same practice; and so general was the infection, that, on the first of May, although the army amounted to 2,000 men, yet not more than 900 were fit for duty. In this diseased state of the troops, medicines and everything necessary for the sick were wanting. The men were also scattered for want of barracks. Major-General Thomas, who had been appointed to the command of the American army in Canada, arrived in camp on the 1st of May. He found the troops enfeebled by disease, ill-supplied with provisions, and with only a small quantity of ammunition. The river was opening below; and he was well aware that as soon as ships could force their way through the ice, the garrison
would be reinforced. On the 5th of May, therefore, he resolved to retreat tow. ard Montreal: and on the evening of the same day, he received certain information that a British fleet was in the river. Next morning some of the ships, by great exertion and with much danger, pressed through the ice into the harbor, and landed some troops.
The Americans were preparing to retire : General Carleton marched out to
Fig. 72.- Portrait of General Carleton. attack them; and as there was no hope of successfully resisting a force so mucn superior, they made a precipitate retreat, leaving behind them their sick, baggage, artillery, and military stores. Many of those who were ill of the small-pox escaped from the hospitals and concealed themselves in the country, where they were kindly entertained by the Canadians till they recovered, and were able to follow their countrymen. General Carleton could not overtake the American army; but he took about 100 sick prisoners.
The Americans retreated about forty-five miles, and then halted a few days ; but afterward proceeded to Sorel, in a deplorable condition, and encamped there. In this interval some reinforcements arrived ; but General Thomas was seized with the small-pox, and died. He was succeeded in command by General Sullivan.
The British had several military posts in Upper Canada ; and the Americans established one at the Cedars, a point of land which projects into the St. Lawrence, about forty miles above Montreal. Captain Forster, who had marched from Oswyatchie, appeared before this post with a company of regulars and a considerable number of Indians; and the American commanding officer surrendered the place after a short resistance. An American party of about 100 men, under Major Sherburne, left Montreal to assist their countrymen at the Cedars ; but as they approached that place, on the day after the surrender, and ignorant of that event, they were suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a body of Indians and Canadians. After defending themselves for some time, the Americans were overpowered, and many of them fell under the tomahawks of the Indians The rest were made prisoners.
Arnold, who in the month of January had been raised to the rank of brigadiergeneral, and who then commanded at Montreal, was desirous of recovering the
-- , and of relieving the prisoners there; and for these purposes marched toward that place, at the head of about 800 men. But on his approach Captain Forster gave him notice, that unless he agreed to a cartel, which had already been signed by Major Sherburne and some other officers, the Indians would put all the prisoners to death. In these circumstances, Arnold reluctantly signed the cartel, and retired.
Before the end of May, the British force in Canada was greatly increased ; and, including the German mercenaries, was estimated at 13,000 men. That force was widely dispersed; but Three Rivers, about ninety miles above Quebec and as much below Montreal, was the general point of rendezvous. A considerable detachment, under General Frazer, had already arrived there. That detachment General Sullivan wished to surprise ; and appointed General Thompson to command the troops in the expedition sent out for that purpose. The enterprise failed; Thompson was made prisoner, and his detachment dispersed, but without any great loss.
The royal military and naval forces having been collected at Three Rivers, a long village so named from its contiguity to a river which empties itself into the St. Lawrence by three mouths, advanced by land and water toward the Sorel. General Sullivan had retreated up that river; and General Burgoyne was ordered cautiously to pursue him. On the 15th of June, General Arnold quitted Montreal, crossed the river at Longueille, marched on Chamblée, and conducted the army to Crown Point, with little loss in the retreat. Thus terminated the invasion of Canada, in which the American army endured great hardships, and sustained considerable loss, without any advantage to the cause in which it was engaged.
Historical annals rarely furnish so striking and interesting occurrences as might be recorded, were the detail fully given of the memorable march of the Americans in order to penetrate Quebec. Honorably as it has been commemorated, its difficulties, dangers, and privations, can never be sufficiently appreci
yet it is not certain but that the privations and difficulties of those enterprises were surpassed in the expedition of Arnold. Their batteaux had to be dragged by the soldiers over water-falls, portages, and rapid streams, and such parts of the march as was not made by rivers, was performed for a distance of three hundred miles through thick woods, over lofty mountains, and deep morasses. A part of the detachment actually abandoned the undertaking and returned to Cambridge to avoid starvation. Those who persevered were actually compelled, in order to appease the torments of hunger, to devour dogs, reptiles, and their very cartridge-boxes. Among the patriots of this tried corps of invincibles were the late Col. Burr and Col. Samuel Ward, recently deceased in the city of New York.
Although the Americans had failed in their attempt on Canada, they still occupied Crown Point and Ticonderoga. General Carleton resolved to drive them from those posts; but that was an arduous task, for the British had not a ship on Lake Champlain to oppose the American navy; and it was deemed unadvisable to advance, without first gaining the command of the lakes. The great aim was to obtain possession of the upper parts of the Hudson, to march to Albany, make themselves masters of the country in General Washington's rear, and open a communication between the British army in Canada and that at New York. The task was arduous; and General Carleton labored with unwearied assiduity in providing the means of gaining a superiority on the lakes. In about three months, his efforts were crowned with success. Early in October, he had a formidable fleet, which rose, as if by magic, upon Lake Champlain. It consisted of the Inflexible, carrying eighteen 12-pounders, one schooner, mounting
fourteen 12-pounders, and another having twelve 12-pounders ; a flat-bottomed vessel, carrying six 24 and six 12-pounders, besides howitzers ; a vessel having seven 9-pounders ; twenty gun-boats, each mounting a brass cannon, from 9 to 24-pounders ; with other armed vessels, and a great number of transports and tenders. This fleet had been constructed with immense labor, part of the materials having been brought from a distance, and many of the boats dragged up the rapids of the Sorel. The fleet was manned with 700 choice seamen, and under the command of Captain Pringle.
The Americans were sensible of the importance of maintaining a superiority on the lakes, and had made every effort in their power for that purpose ; but, from want of money, materials, and artificers, their exertions had not been successful. Their fleet amounted only to fifteen vessels, consisting of two schooners, one sloop, one cutter, three galleys, and eight gondolas. The largest schooner mounted only 12, 6, and 4-pounders. Arnold, as a man of desperate courage, was appointed to command this little fleet, which was, in every respect, greatly inferior to that of the British.
About the middle of October, the royal fleet, commanded by Captain Pringle, and having General Carleton on board, proceeded up Lake Champlain in quest of the Americans. The armed vessels were in front; the army, in many transports, brought up the rear. The whole had a gay and magnificent appearance. They found Arnold in an advantageous position, forming a line to defend the passage between the island of Valicour and the western bank. A warm engagement ensued ; and the Inflexible and some other large British ships being
Fig. 73.-Engagement on Lake Champlain. hindered by an unfavorable wind from coming so near as to take an efficient part in the battle, Arnold was able, notwithstanding the great inferiority of his force, to maintain the conflict for some hours; when, night approaching, Captain Pringle withdrew his ships from the action, but stationed them at a little distance
only, with a view to prevent the escape of the Americans. In this engagemen: Arnold's largest schooner was burnt, and a gondola sunk.
Arnold, feeling his inability to renew the conflict next day, made his escape during the night, in the hope of reaching Ticonderoga, and finding shelter under the guns of the fort. The wind was favorable, and next morning he was out of sight of the British fleet. Captain Pringle ordered an immediate pursuit, overtook the Americans, and brought them to action before they reached Crown Point. Arnold fought with his usual resolution for about two hours ; during which time, such of his fleet as were most ahead filed under a press of sail, and escaped to Ticonderoga. Two galleys and five gondolas, which remained with him, made a desperate defence. At length one of them was compelled to strike her colors. Arnold was unable any longer to maintain the unequal conflict but, disdaining to surrender, he ran his ships ashore, landed his men, and set his vessels on fire and blew them up. In the face of the most active and vigorous opposition, he preserved his crews, and prevented his ships from falling into the hands of the British. : General Carleton advanced with the fleet, and appeared off Crown Point on the 15th of October. On his approach, a small American detachment, stationed there as an advanced post, set fire to the houses, and retired to Ticonderoga, which Generals Schuyler and Gates had determined to defend to the last extremity. General Carleton took possession of Crown Point, sent forward part of his fleet in sight of Ticonderoga, and advanced with his army toward that place; but after viewing the works, and considering that winter was setting in, and the difficulty of bringing provisions from Canada to supply his army during that inclement season, he prudently resolved to retire ; and put his army into winter quarters on the Sorel and its vicinity Isle aux Noix was his advanced post.
While their armies were blockading Boston and fighting in Canada, congress were actively employed in devising and adopting such measures as they thought most conducive to the general welfare. On the 6th of July, 1775, they published a declaration, setting forth the causes and necessity of their having taken up arms, and alleged that they were reduced to the painful alternative of uncon ditional submission to the tyranny of an irritated ministry, or of resistance by force. “The latter," said they, “is our choice : we have counted the cost of the contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery."
On the 8th of July, the members signed their famous second petition to the king. It was expressed in respectful language, well written, and declared their sentiments in a firm but dutiful manner. On the same day, they agreed to an address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, in which they said: “We have again presented an humble and dutiful petition to our sovereign ; and, to remove every imputation of obstinacy, have requested his majesty to direct some mode by which the united supplications of his faithful colonists may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation. We are willing to treat on such terms as can alone render an accommodation lasting ; and we flatter ourselves that our pacific endeavors will be attended with a removal of ministerial troops, and the repeal of those laws of the operation of which we complain, on the one part; and the disbanding of our army and a dissolution of our commercial associations on the other.” At the same time, they hinted at the danger to which British freedom would be exposed, if the spirit of liberty were crushed in America.
They also wrote a letter of thanks to the lord mayor, aldermen, and livery of the city of London, for their virtuous and spirited opposition to the oppressive and ruinous system of colonial administration adopted by the British cabinet. These several papers were transmitted to Richard Penn, whom congress ree