James Madison Papers

From James Madison to John Armstrong, 18 June 1814

To John Armstrong

June 18. 1814

Note on this note of the Secy. of War covering letters1 of Col. Croghan to Capt. Sinclair of May 26.2

As the order to Majr. Holmes required a resort to his superior Officer Col. Croghan, and as Capt. Sinclair was ordered to communicate with the latter, it might have been better, to have conveyed the orders to Majr. Holmes thro’ Col. Croghan, than vice versa, as well as to have apprized Col: Croghan, directly of the orders to Capt: Sinclair. But there being no room to question the orders to Majr. H. or those to Capt. S, and the case forbidding delay, the proper course for Croghan was to have conformed to the authenticated intentions of the Govt. and to have then, made his communications on the subject both to the War Dept. and to the officer Commanding the District. The superseding arrangt transmitted directly to him, on the 2d. of June, admits of no misconstruction:3 unless indeed Holmes, shd. set up his direct & unrevoked orders from the War Dept. agst. those proceeding immediatly from Col. C.

A Canada newspaper in the hands of the Secretary of the navy, speaks of the weakness of Michilimackina, and of a reinforcemt: on the way, under a Lt. Col:


A decision on the acceptance of Gen: McArthurs resignation is suspended; with a view to the questions whether he may not be employed as he wishes, and to a proper successor.4

Draft (DLC); Tr (DLC, series 3).

1Tr has “letter.”

2Armstrong to JM, ca. 18 June 1814.

3On 2 June 1814 Armstrong ordered Lt. Col. George Croghan to take command of eight hundred or more troops in the reauthorized expedition against British posts on Lake Huron, leaving at Detroit only “a competent force to guard against Indian attacks” (DNA: RG 107, LSMA; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 3:514).

4On 27 July 1814 Armstrong wrote Brig. Gen. Duncan McArthur stating that he would “forbear yet to say any thing of your resignation,” proposing that McArthur lead an expedition to attack the Potawatomi Indians, and assuring him that no disrespect was intended by the War Department’s failure to inform him of orders sent to Croghan (DNA: RG 107, LSMA). McArthur received an honorable discharge from the army on 15 June 1815 (Heitman, Historical Register, description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.; 1903; reprint, Baltimore, 1994). description ends 1:652).

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