James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Elbridge Gerry, 5 July 1812

From Elbridge Gerry

Cambridge 5th July 1812

My dear Sir,

War is declared, God be praised, Our Country is safe. But great care & caution, at this Time is necessary. The Castle, I understand, is under a Captain’s command, & he a Federalist; with a single company of Artillerists; & may be carried by a coup de main. This Prospect is the tory plan, as the best stratagem to change the Government. The Governor, I am informed, obstinately refuses the application of General Dearborn for any part of the detached militia; & prompt measures appear to me necessary, for putting into the Castle a strong Garison, & an experienced officer of a higher grade, & for obtaining the militia required by Government. A Law ought to provide for refractory Governors, & militia officers. I have been confined about ten days to a sick chamber, where I still am, but hope to be out in a day or two.

Our Castle would be safe with such a man as Colo. Boyd,1 & with such troops as compose his regiment. With the highest esteem & respect Yours very sincerely

E. Gerry

RC (DLC); FC (NN). RC docketed by JM.

1John Parker Boyd (1764–1830) of Newburyport, Massachusetts, had entered the army in 1808. In November 1811 he commanded a detachment of the Fourth Infantry at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Promoted to brigadier general on 26 Aug. 1812, he served thereafter on the Canadian frontier and played a prominent role in the capture of Fort George in May 1813 and at the Battle of Crystler’s Farm in November of that year (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.; Washington, 1903). description ends , 1:236; Niles’ Weekly Register, 2 [1812]: 12–13).

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