James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Jones, [ca. 14 November 1814]

From William Jones

[ca. 14 November 1814]

The President will perceive that Com Chauncey is of opinion that two Ships of the line and one frigate can be built at Sacketts Harbour in due time and that the enemy Cannot prepare an equal force.1

It will also be observed that he agrees with me in the expediency of seizing a port, on the St Laurence near Hamilton in order to intercept supplies going to Kingston and I still question the policy of augmenting the Naval force at Sacketts Harbour if that point can be effectually maintained but I am not tenacious on this Subject.2 Com. C. has removed one great difficulty from my mind by saying that if the heavy articles reach Albany before the Hudson closes they can be transported better by land than by water from thence. In a day or two we shall receive the opinion of Decatur & Fulton on this subject3 The President will please say whether the final measures in respect to the procuring of the heavy equipments shall be taken at once or wait the issue of Decaturs Report. Money after all will be the main spring.

RC (DLC). Unsigned; in Jones’s hand; docketed by JM “Wm. Jones.” Undated; dated 15 Oct. 1814 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; conjectural date assigned here based on evidence in nn. 1 and 3.

1Jones evidently forwarded Capt. Isaac Chauncey’s letter to him of 5 Nov. 1814 (DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 3:637–39), in which Chauncey answered questions posed in Jones’s letter to him of 24 Oct. 1814 (for the letter, see Jones to JM, 26 Oct. 1814, n. 1).

3Jones wrote to Stephen Decatur, stationed at New York, on 8 Nov. 1814, requesting his opinion and those of Daniel D. Tompkins, David Porter, and Robert Fulton on the advisability of constructing floating batteries powered by steam at Sackets Harbor (DNA: RG 45, Confidential Letters Sent; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 3:640–41). Decatur replied on 16 Nov. 1814, stating that he, Tompkins, and Fulton agreed that such vessels would not be suitable for Lake Ontario (DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 3:641–42).

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