Sunday, January 26, 2014

A General Writes a Senator

Today, another letter from General Duncan McArthur to Senator Worthington. In this message he discusses the overall American strategy in the Northwest as well as some news and personal affairs. It's interesting to observe that, like most officers in the "professional" regular army of 1813, McArthur relied on political connections for advancement. Soon after he would be on the way to Sackett's Harbor with his brigade, to support the "middle army" of General James Wilkinson in its advance on Montreal. One wonders if the delay caused by the loss of dispatches on the Chippewa delayed the Northwestern Army long enough to prevent the Americans from destroying the rump British forces left at Burlington Heights.
Detroit 16th Octr 1813
Dear Sir
Your favour of the 28th Ult I recd. by last mail. I will recollect that Mr. Robt Smith's account was put into my hands by you when at the City with some penciled remarks made in the war office requiring a certificate that the Wagon and team mentioned in Smith's account, was given up at the surrender of Detroit on the 16th of August 1812 which certificate I made out and the back of said act and left it with you. The fate of your Bill for the payment of property lost by Capitulation, not being known when I left the City. I think that you left Smiths act. at the war office after obtaining my certificate on it. of this I am not, however, certain, but unless you give it to me after overtaking me at Shepherds Town, it is not among my papers.
A small vessel "The Chipaway" was lost in a Storm, some days ago on Lake Erie, loaded with Baggage and had on board dispatches from Government to Genl Harrison. Many of the Trunks & goods on board this vessel have been found along the shore blown up by the storm, but the wreck of the vessel has not been discovered, in consequence of the failure of those dispatches the Comg Genl is at a loss to know the will of the Government as to his future movements The expedition to Michilimackinac, which I was to command, has necessarily been abandoned, this season on account of the failure of the Contractor in furnishing provisions for the expedition, As an armistice has been arranged with the Indians in this quarter, and hostages given up on this part of five nations we apprehend but little danger in future frum the Indians, provided we can but off all communication between them and the British.
I have been advising Genl. Harrison to move all his regular force fit for service down the Lake to join the middle army, and order the Ohio militia now in service to garrison this post, and to leave the sick and Convalescent regular troops at Malden. The Genl,. has talked of the plan to several of the officers this morning, he has not yet determined to adopt it but I think it probable that he may, unless otherwise advised by Government, some plan of this kind may be the means of ending the war in upper Canada this winter.
For my own part I never intended to continue longer in service than to see this place regained, and Malden fall; but as all this has happened without any act of violence on the part of our army I feel an inclination to join the middle army, provided it can be done immediately.
I know not where Mr. Abelard Bradford may be found. I saw him about the 1st of June at Cincinnati. he then talked of returning to Pa. His mother and the family reside on the Mississippi at a place called "Bayou Sarah." Mrs. McArthur mentions her wish to send Margaret, with your daughter Sarah Anne to Bethlehem. If arrangements can be made to prepare Margaret for the journey, and you will be so kind as to take the trouble of sending her there, I will be careful to furnish the necessary expense and esteem your attention as an additional favor conferred on me.
respectfully yours
Duncan McArthur