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Chap. v. Indians, to take up arms and invade the United 1-75. Colonies, and of their unwillingness to do so; but the opinion was still maintained, that unless the colonists showed a sufficient force in that country, to give confidence and security to their friends, the machinations of the governor would ultimately prevail.
In consequence of this intelligence, the orders to general Schuyler were made unconditional, and he was directed positively to enter Canada. He commenced, and assiduously prosecuted the task of preparing vessels for the transportation of the troops; a task the more laborious and tedious, as the timber for the batteaux was then to be procured from the woods. Before the preparations were complete, or the troops destined for the expedition had all assembled, the impatience expressed by their friends in Canada, and some information which was received of a vessel of force soon to be launched at St. Johns, on the river Sorel, in order to enter the lakes, rendered an immediate movement advisable. General Schuyler had returned to Albany to hold a Congress with the Indians, whose dispositions were very justly suspected to be hostile, when this intelligence was communicated to him by general Montgomery, an officer of very distinguished merit then at
September. Crown Point. Orders were immediately given him to embark with the troops then in readiness; and general. Schuyler, having directed the expected re-enforcements to rendezvous at the Chap. v. Isle aux Noix, twelve miles south of St. Johns, 1775. followed Montgomery, and joined him before he reached that place. Circular letters to the Canadians, exhorting:The Amcri
o cans enter
them to rouse and assert their liberties, and1 declaring that the Americans entered their country as friends and protectors, and not as enemies, were immediately dispersed among them; and, believing that they would be encouraged thereby, it was determined to advance directly on to St. Johns. The American force, amounting to about one thousand men, entirely destitute of artillery, embarked on the Sorel on the sixth, and proceeding towards St. Johns, landed within about a mile and a half of that place, in a swamp, from whence they marched in order, towards the fort, for the purpose of reconnoitring its situation. On the march they were suddenly attacked by a body of Indians whom they dispersed; after which, they threw up a small intrenchment, and encamped for the night. The intelligence received at this place respecting the situation of St. Johns, and of the vessels preparing to enter lake Champlain, determined them to return to the Isle aux Noix, there to wait for their remaining troops and artillery; and in the mean time, to secure the entrance of the lakes.
The Isle aux Noix lies at the junction of the Sorel with lake Champlain; and, to prevent
Vol. 11. ft r
Ghap.v. the armed vessels at St. Johns from entering 1775. the latter, a boom was drawn across the channel which is narrow at that place.
General Schuyler, who had been for some time much indisposed, became now so excessively ill, as to be unable to leave his bed; and the command devolved on Montgomery.
Mr. Livingston, a gentleman residing on the river Chamblee, who was very strongly attached to the American cause, and had rendered it great service, pressed so earnestly for a detachment from the army, to cut oft' the communication between St. Johns and La Prairie, that a party was ordered out for that service. But it was seized with one of those panics to which raw troops are peculiarly liable, and without having seen any real danger, they fled precipitately back to camp.
Livingston, in the mean time, counting on the aid for which he had applied, had assembled about three hundred Canadian volunteers, and grew extremely apprehensive of being left exposed to the whole force of the enemy.
Montgomery flattered himself that his troops, ashamed of their late misconduct, were determined to retrieve their reputation; and as the artillery and expected re-enforcements had now arrived, he again embarked his army consistsept.ai. ing of not quite two thousand men, on the siege of Sorel, and proceeded to invest fort St. Johns.
St. Johns. _' r
This place was garrisoned by five or six hundred regulars, with about two hundred Canadian Chap. V. militia, and was well provided with artillery 1775. and military stores. The army of Canada, as well as the other armies of the United Colonies, was almost entirely without powder; and of
consequence, the siege progressed slowly.
Their necessities in this respect were fortu- °ctobrrnately relieved by the capture of fort Chamble6, ^Sanuee which being supposed to be covered by fort St. Johns, was not in a defensible condition. This post was suddenly attacked, and carried by a detachment consisting of about fifty United Colonists under major Brown, and three hundred Canadians under major Livingston. The garrison became prisoners of war, and some pieces of artillery were taken; but the most valuable acquisition made at this place, was about one hundred and twenty barrels of gun powder, which enabled the American general to proceed with vigour against St. Johns. Though the only person in his camp possessing any military experience, he was overruled in bis plans by his field officers; and with extreme mortification declared in one of his letters to general Schuyler, that the place could not be taken until it should surrender for want of
provisions; and that, if he did not fear the
public service might suffer, he would not stay October 13. one hour longer at the head of troops whose operations he could not direct. The garrison defended themselves with resolution, and in
Chap.v. dulged for some time the hope of being 177s. relieved."
Colonel M'Clean, a veteran officer, had exerted himself to raise a Scotch regiment, under the title of royal highland emigrants, to be composed of the natives of that country, who had lately arrived in America, and who, in consequence of the troubles, had not obtained settlements. With these and a few hundred Canadians, the colonel was posted near the junction of the Sorel with the St. Lawrence; general Carleton was at Montreal, where with great difficulty he had collected about a thousand men, chiefly Canadians. Among them were some regulars and volunteers, and several British officers. At the head of these troops he hoped to effect a junction with M'Clean, after which he designed to march with his whole force against Montgomery, and endeavour to raise the siege; but on attempting to cross over from Montreal, he was encountered
caneton and entirely defeated at Longueisle by a detachment of the American troops under colonel Warner. Another party advanced on M'Clean who, being entirely abandoned by his Canadians, so soon as they were informed of the defeat of the governor, and having also received information that Arnold was approaching point Levy, precipitately retreated to Quebec. The
l' Annual Register.