Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Charles Carroll and Samuel Chase, 11 May 1776

From Charles Carroll and Samuel Chase1

Copy: Library of Congress

Montreal May 11th: 1776

Dear Sir.

We are fully sensible of the great Risk of taking post at Dechambeau. We have suggested in Writing the Difficulties and Reasons which have occurred to us against that Measure to Genl: Arnold. Our Army’s remaining at Dechambeau will depend in great Measure on the Strength of the Enemy’s Land Forces, and their Activity and Diligence in following up the Blow they have already given our small and shattered Army.2 Before this, no Doubt General Thomas has received some Information of the Enemy’s Numbers and of their Motions. We are inclined to think a Retreat will be made first to St. John’s and then to the Isle aux Noix. Our Letter to General Schuyler will give you all the Information we have in our power to give respecting the possibility of subsisting our Army in Canada.

We are of opinion that General Sullivan’s brigade ought to be stopped at Fort George, till General Schuyler, can send over with them a sufficient supply of pork not only for the Subsistence of that Brigade but of the Rest of the Army in Canada.3 Flour we are in Hopes of procuring in sufficient Quantities to support the Army, at least for four Months, provided we can keep possession of the Country adjacent to the River Sorrel for the Space of three Weeks. We sincerely wish the perfect Re-establishment of your Health.4 Our Stay at this place is uncertain: we shall be cautious to retreat in Time to St. John’s. We understand there is but a very small garrison there and exceedingly negligent. No Centries posted in the Night. This Information we had from Mr: Price, who was an Eye Witness of this Negligence. Do speak to Col: Hazen about it.5 We are with great Esteem Dear Sir Your affectionate humble Servants

Ch: Carroll of Carroll-Town
Samuel Chase.

B. Franklin Esqr.

Notation: Copy Letter from Messrs. Chase and Carrol to Dr. Franklin

1After BF left his fellow commissioners on the 11th to return to Philadelphia, he sent them a note that has since disappeared. This letter was their reply. See BF to Schuyler below, May 12.

2The commissioners’ letter to Arnold, if it exists, has eluded us; but its purport was presumably the same as that of their letter to Schuyler: that a garrison at Deschambault could easily be cut off by water and would have almost no chance of retreating by land. Force, 4 Amer. Arch., VI, 481.

3Pork was the overriding necessity, the commissioners said in the letter just cited; without it the men would either starve or eat each other. Sullivan’s brigade was the six regiments that had sailed.from New York on May 2, as Hazard had informed BF in his letter of the 3rd; see also the headnote on Wayne to BF below, June 13.

4See the note on Mecom to Greene below, June 1.

5Hazen had just been transferred to the command of Chambly and St. Johns; see the commissioners to Schuyler above, May 6, 1776. If BF did speak to the Colonel about his negligence, the effect was nil. When a shipment of goods from Montreal arrived at Chambly soon afterward, Hazen refused to receive it, despite instructions, and it was pillaged. “This is not the first or last order Colonel Hazen has disobeyed,” Arnold commented when he discovered the loss. “I think him a man of too much consequence for the post he is in.” Force, 4 Amer. Arch., VI, 797.

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