James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Jones, 1 January 1814

From William Jones

Navy Depart Jan 1. 1814

Dear Sir

The enclosed letters display our military force in the NW in wretched plight; but the judicious arrangements of Captain Elliott have considerable abated my anxiety for the safety of the fleet at Erie but it is extremely desirable that some troops should be ordered to Erie and put in Bay.1 Unless the latter place is speedily reinforced I have no doubt an attempt will be made and the result will be the destruction at least of those two important vessels. The Muster Rolls this day received from Captn Elliott give an aggregate of 382. officers & men.

A company of artillery and two of Infantry at least ought to be ordered to Erie without delay.

Elliotts men cannot defend the Block House and the Ships—the latter will be well defended.

Would it not be proper to allow the memorialist the pay &c of a surgeon under the circumstances stated. Very truly & respectfully Your Obdt Servt

W Jones

FC (PHi: William Jones Papers). Docketed by Jones, “Mine to the President.” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Jones evidently enclosed Master Commandant Jesse D. Elliott’s letter to him of 22 Dec. 1813 (3 pp.), forwarding 1) a copy of Elliott’s 19 Dec. 1813 report to Capt. Isaac Chauncey (2 pp.) regarding the state of the U.S. ships on Lake Erie; 2) a muster roll of the naval force there (not found); and 3) a memorial from John Kennedy, a British naval surgeon, who had “rendered essential service” to American as well as British sailors wounded in the Battle of Lake Erie on 10 Sept. 1813 (not found) (DNA: RG 45, Letters from Commanders; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 2:610–12). To Jones, Elliott wrote that he was expecting a British attack and had placed the ships at Put-In-Bay in a defensive formation. His force, however, was inadequate, the sailors’ terms of service were expiring, he feared that many would not reenlist, and Brig. Gen. Lewis Cass, stationed at Detroit, had no troops to spare; Elliott therefore requested that soldiers be sent to help guard the ships. Jones may also have enclosed Chauncey’s letter to him of 19 Dec. 1813 (2 pp.), reporting a high death rate from disease among the crews at Sackets Harbor and stating that he had discharged the wounded and chronically ill from service (DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters; printed in Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 2:621).

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