Sir: Your Favour of the 20th Ult. came safely to Hand, and I should have dispatched the Express much sooner, but Colonel Arnold's Expedition is so connected with your Operation, that I thought it most proper to detain him 'till I could give you the fullest Account of his Progress. This Morning the Express I sent him returned, and the Inclosure No I. is a Copy of his Letter to me. No 2. is a Copy also of a Paper sent me, being the Report of a reconnoitring Party sent out some Time ago. 11 You will certainly hear from him soon as I have given him the strongest Injunctions on this Head. Inclosed No 3. I send you a Copy of his Instructions. No 4. is a Manifesto, of which I have sent a Number with him, to disperse through Canada. He is supplied with £1000 Lawful Money in Specie, to answer his contingent Charges.
[Note:This party consisted of two persons, named Getchell and Berry, who set off from Fort Weston, on the Kennebec, September 1. They advanced as far as the headwaters of the Dead River, where they met several Indians, who gave them such exaggerated accounts of the enemy on the Chaudière that they did not venture to proceed farther. Netanis, the last of the Norridgewocks, had a cabin in this quarter, and was in the interest of Governor Carleton. The intelligence brought back by these persons in regard to the carrying places and condition of the river was of some service to Arnold. -- Ford. ]
About eighth Days ago a Brig from Quebec to Boston, was taken and brought into Cape Ann. By some intercepted Letters from Captain Gamble to General Gage and Major Sheriff, the Account of the Temper of the Canadians in the American Cause is fully confirmed. The Captain says, that if Quebec should be attacked before Carleton can throw himself into it, there will be a Surrender without firing a Shot. We most anxiously hope you will find sufficient Employ for Carleton, at St. Johns and its Neighbourhood. We at last have the Echo of Bunker Hill from England. The Number of killed and
[Note:The news of Bunker Hill was taken to England by the Cerberus and arrived in London on July 25 -- Ford. ]
[Note:Gage was recalled temporarily, as he supposed, "for consultation," but it is probable that the frequent charges of incompetency made by Burgoyne, Howe, and Clinton were the real cause. He embarked on October 10 and arrived in London on November 14. Ford notes the Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson (vol. 1, p. 364) to the effect that Lord Loudoun thought Gage had not courage sufficient for his position.
"The king having required General Gage's presence at home to consult him upon the present state of America, I am invested in his absence with the command of the forces in North America on this side of the Atlantic; General Carleton having the same powers within his government and in the back country, and would take the command of the whole were we to meet. Our two commissions are to command in chief in our respective districts, wherein I shall be happy to render you every service in my power." -- Sir William Howe to Governor Legge, Sept. 28, 1775. ]
[Note:Lord Dartmouth had early suggested to General Gage the importance of taking possession of Rhode Island as a means of keeping up a communication between Boston and New York City and as a place easy to be defended, and one from which, in any exigency, succor might be derived. He had also expressed an opinion that New York City should be occupied. General Gage replied: "As the King's forces are too weak to act in more than one point, New York is the most eligible situation to hold. The friends of government could rally there, and, from every account, numbers would join them. That city could be easily defended, and supplied by a water communication. But there is much difficulty in leaving Boston. It requires secrecy and is of great detail. It is too important a step to be put in execution without knowing his Majesty's pleasure. Preparations will however be made for it, not knowing but instructions to this effect may be given, in consequence of intimations in a former letter from me."
Gage's views are fully shown in his letter to the Earl of Dartmouth in Force's American Archives, Fourth Series, vol. 3, 927.
Lord Dartmouth wrote again on September 5, before he could have received the above letter, and recommended to General Gage to abandon Boston, dismantle Castle William, and repair with the troops either to New York or to some other port to the southward, where the ships could lie in safety, and carry on operations securely during the winter. Many advantages, he thought, would result from such a change. This was answered by General Howe with arguments similar to those already advanced by General Gage, and his reasons for not complying with the recommendation of the minister were approved. Another plan in agitation was to divide the forces and endeavor to hold New York and Boston at the same time. General Howe discouraged this scheme, as in his opinion impracticable; and he said that Gage, Clinton, and Burgoyne agreed with him. Such a movement would require an additional force of not less than 5,000 men to be left in Boston and 12,000 at New York City, the latter to be employed in opening a communication with Canada, leaving five battalions for the defense of New York City. Three thousand regulars would then remain for Quebec, who, with 3000 or 4,000 Canadians and some hundreds of Indians, would compose the army of Canada; but he could not say whether such a force would be sufficient in that quarter. The primary object of a communication with Canada by the Hudson being thus accomplished and secured by posts, troops might take separate routes into Massachusetts and other parts of New England, as circumstances should point out. Ford also notes from Howe's letter to Dartmouth (October 9) that Sir William thought that Boston should be evacuated and the force designed for that place removed to Rhode Island. The project of penetrating the country could more easily be executed from that point than from Boston, where little else could be done than to defend the post, The possession of Rhode Island would, moreover, put Connecticut in jeopardy and induce that colony to keep its army at home for self-defense. Boston Harbor might be blockaded, after the evacuation, by a small naval force, aided by a land party intrenched in the neighborhood of Nantasker Road. ]
I also send you a Copy of the Letter given Col. Arnold to be communicated to the Officers and Soldiers.
The accounts we have of your Health gives us great Concern, not only on your own Account, but that of the publick Service, which must suffer in Consequence. I shall most sincerely rejoice to hear of your perfect recovery; and now most fervently wishing you all possible Success, Honour and Safety, I am, etc.