James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Jones, [ca. 28 September 1814]

From William Jones

[ca. 28 September 1814]

I have been extremely uneasy for the fate of those vessels until the receipt of this.1 None but a seaman can appreciate the danger and hair breadth escape of this Squadron; and to continue or remain at all near the lower end of the Lake at this Season must in all probability end in the destruction of the fleet.

Gen Brown has been most unreasonable in his expectation of Naval cooperation.

RC (DLC). Undated; dated 1814 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; conjectural date assigned here based on evidence in n. 1 and the documented arrival in Washington of mail from Erie in as little as five days (see Jones to JM, ca. 15 Oct. 1814, n.).

1Jones’s note evidently covered Capt. Arthur Sinclair’s 23 Sept. 1814 letter to him (4 pp.; DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters), reporting that at the request of Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown, who wished the assistance of Sinclair’s Lake Erie squadron in an attack on the British, Sinclair had remained in Buffalo Bay longer than he thought wise given the weather conditions there. On 17 Sept. he sailed west with the fleet to transport reinforcements for Brown from Detroit but encountered a severe storm about fifty miles from Buffalo, barely managed to ride it out, and put in at Erie on 22 Sept. with damaged ships and numerous crew members suffering from exposure-related illnesses. He recommended to Jones that troops be transported by ship no further east than Erie “at this boistrous Season,” because sailing to Buffalo would “result in the loss of the Fleet.”

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