George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Jacob Bayley, 10 June 1779

From Brigadier General Jacob Bayley

Camp River Lemoil1 Hazons Rout June 10th 1779


Capt. Goslin2 is arrived with the Party Sent with him To Canada with two other Canadians one from below Quebeck the other from Saint Nicolate and four American Prisners which Place he left the 26th of may. his account is that no English Vessels had arrived at Quebeck that it was reported that a French Fleet had arived in St Laurance, that two Frigates had been at St Pauls3 and got Cattle for the Fleet, that the Canadians were very Friendly and Ready to assist us, that 400 men were at Quebeck 400 at Sorel 40 at the white House 300 at Isle aunoix 30 or 40 at St Johns a Small Party at Chamble Small Partys at St Francois4 on Several Parts of the river and In Several Towns below that Place, that a ConSiderable Force had been Sent to reinforce the Several Forts on the Lakes, that, that Country was ripe for a revolution, Major Whitcomb is also returned from St Charles5 who was Sent by Colo. Hazon and agrees in Substance with the above account the Colo. Gives the Particulars to your Excelency which I need not Repeat,6 we have no Doubt of the Practibility of this Rout into Canada and if thier is need of the Melitia I believe a large number would turn out on an Expedition Into Canada, I have Sent Some accounts by Colo. Little and Should be glad of a Sum of money and to be advised where I Shall apply for Settlement if I am not to Settle them at Head Quarters Should be glad to settle them at Boston as that Place is nigh and will be less Expence I have Sent the [P]onchos only as far as the lake7 w. Snow Shoes Mogasins and Moose Skins which money I am in great need of I am your Excelency most obedient Humble Servan⟨t⟩

Jacob Bayley


1The Lamoille River follows a generally westward course for about seventy miles in the upper northwestern portion of present-day Vermont.

2Bayley is referring to Capt. Clément Gosselin.

3This intelligence apparently refers to St. Paul du Nord, a village on the St. Lawrence River almost 200 miles northeast of Quebec.

4St. François du Lac is a village located where the St. François River flows into the St. Lawrence from the southeast about 100 miles southwest of Quebec.

5Maj. Benjamin Whitcomb probably returned from St. Charles de Bellechasse, a village about 14 miles southeast of Quebec.

6Bayley is referring to Col. Moses Hazen’s letter to GW of this date, which has not been found, but see GW to Hazen, 20 July.

The information that Hazen conveyed to GW probably was similar to that found in his letter to Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, written from Hartford, Conn., on 26 July: “I have had Major Whitcomb, Capt. [Lt. Nathan] Taylor, Lt [Thomas] Lyfor⟨d⟩ and five Canadian officers; at Different times and on Different Routs with Parties of men into Canada—for Intelligence—whose Reports agree in Substance and are all Exceeding favourable—and by the last accounts it was Currently reported and believed in Canada, that Detroit was Taken—A Total Stop to th⟨e⟩ Indian Trade—to the Great Distress of the Merch[an]ts at Montreal—not more than one hundred Indians in Canada which remain Chiefly Inactive at Montreal That Sixteen Hundred and Twenty men was the Whole force in Arms between Quebec and Auswegatia [Oswegatchie]—That Govenor Haldiman had ordered a Considerable Number of Canadians to Reinforce the Posts above who had utterly Refused to go on that Service, and Consequently he had made a Considerable Detachment from the British Regiments for that purpose—That three Large Ships of force, Supposed to be french men of war, ware in the R: st Laurence; and that they had Taken Eight British marchant Ships in the River. That our Enemies ware much alarmed at my being on the Rout from Coos to Canada—that our friends received the news with Joy and ware preparing to assist us with men and provisions—That a Report had been given out by the Govenor and Circulated through the Country ‘that a Reinforcement of 10,000 men had been Taken by a french fleet on their passage to Canada, and Consequently no more Troops ware or could be Expected this year’—That the Governor had Requested the Influence and Interest of the Clergy with the People in Support of the British measures, and to know from them How many men would agree and engage to Defend the Country untill an other year—That the Clergy had Changed their mode of Conduct attending at present to their ministry and Ceremonies of the Church, and Avoiding as much as Possible entering into the grand Political Dispute—That the Stores and magazines of Provisions had actually been removed from Sorrel to Barthier [Berthier] and Three Rivers on the North Side of the St Laurence, and That All the old Batteaus and Boats of every Kind on the Sorrel [Richelieu] River and South Side of the St Laurence had been Burnt in order to prevent the Rebels making use of them.

“On the Whole there appears to be the most favourable opportunity of Possessing ourSelves of Canada, which will Leave it in the Power of the united States to make an Honorable and Lasting Peace. …

“we have yet a Plentifull Store of Salt Provisions at Coos—the Country abounds with wheat; the Crops are fine and Nearly in … I could wish However for the Sake of Regularity form or Show, that a few Continental Troops might appear in Canada—But there are men enough on the Connecticut River from Charlestown upwards to Take Canada.” Hazen also appealed to Gates that he lead an expedition against Canada: “Should your Hon[o]r think fit to Patronize Such an Expedition and offer your Services on the occasion, we must Succeed—and you will have the Trouble of the whol[e] Gove⟨r⟩nment of Canada over, in Thirty Days from the Time you mount your Horse at Providance for the Northward” (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ).

7Bayley is referring to Lake Champlain.

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