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well on grounds of policy as of military principle, presents the first and great object of the campaign.
There are two ways of approaching this : by direct, o indirect, attack : by breaking down the enemy's battalions and forcing his works; or by seizing and obstructing the line of his communication, and thus drying up the sources by which he is nourished and maintained. Circumstances must govern in choosing between these different modes. Were our assembled land and naval forces competent to the object, a direct attack would no doubt be the shorter and better way ; but if, on the contrary, our strength be inferior, or hardly equal to that of the enemy, the indirect attack must be preferred. These considerations have suggested the third plan, to be found in my note of the 23d ultimo. To give execution to this, I would collect my force at the head of the St. Lawrence, make every demonstration of attacking Kingston, proceed rapidly down the river, seize the northern bank at the village of Hamilton, leave a corps to fortify and to hold it, march upon Montreal with the main body, effect there a junction with Hampton, and take a position which shall enable you to secure what you gain. On this plan the navy would perform its part by occupying the mouth of the river, and preventing a pursuit by water; by clearing the river of the armed boats of the enemy; by holding, with its own, the passage at Hamilton, and by giving support to that position. If the enemy pursues, it must be by land, without subsistence, (excepting what he carries on his back) and without artillery. If he remains stationary, his situation
, inust soon become even more serious, as the country in which he, is cannot long subsist him. It will then but remain for him to fight his way to Quebec,oto perish in the attempt, or to lay down his arms.
After this exposition, it is unnecessary to add, that in conducting the present campaign, you will make Kingston your primary object, and that you will choose (as circumstances may warrant) between a direct and indirect attack upon that post.
I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. Maj. Gen. Wilkinson, comnd'g district No. 9.
WAR DEPARTMENT, August 9th, 1813. SIR,
In answer to that part of your letter of the 6th instant, which calls for information, &c. on certain enumerated points, I have the honour to state : Ist. That general Hampton's instructions go only to assemble
and organize his division at Burlington, It is intended that he shall operate cotemporarily with you, and under your orders, in prosecution of the plan of campaign which has been given to you.
2. The senior major general commanding the principal army is
entitled to the services of a private secretary. 3d. The ordnance and other departments of supply within the
district (No. 9.) are subject of course to your orders. 4th. The quarter master general of the army will supply the
funds for secret service. 5th. All orders to subordinate officers pass from the war de
partment to the adjutant general; to be communicated by him to the general commanding the district in which such subordi
nate officer may serve. 6th. No specific permission is necessary for removing factious
or disorderly men. All such will properly become subjects of the confidential reports to be made by inspectors. To detach such men from one district to another, is only shifting the evil;
the better way is to report them for dismission. 7th. If the corps at fort George be recalled, the works should
be razed or occupied by a force competent to hold it against an assault. There is a corps of militia and volunteers (to whom the Six Nation Indians have associated themselves) at Black Rock, which may be kept in service. They are commanded by general Porter and Mr. Parrish. 8th. The secretary of war will decline and forbid all improper
communications, and particularly such as may bear any colour of insubordination. 9th. Besides the ordinary mode of communication by mail, ex
presses may be employed in extraordinary cases. 10th. The dragoons and light artillery corps shall be made effi
cient. Horses may be bought for both. An officer from each corps should be directed to superintend the purchases. Price (average) not to exceed 120 dollars.
I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. Maj. Gen. Wilkinson, comdg. the N. Army.
SACKETT'S HARBOR, August 21st, 1813. SIR,
I arrived here yesterday: my machinery is in motion, and I have strong hopes of giving the change to sir George which will lead directly to the object of first importance.
Commodore Chauncey is in port here, and his antagonist, sir James Yeo, at Kingston. In the late interviews between these naval commanders, the first has zealously sought a combat, which the latter has cautiously avoided; the superiority on the lake therefore remains still to be settled; but I have Chauncey's assurance for it, and place much confidence in his word; it is obviously sir James's plan to decline a conflict; but on what ground I cannot determine.
Our schooner here will be equipt and manned by Wednesday, and I shall sail with the squadron for fort George probably the day after; I am endeavoring to draw sir George after me; but whether I succeed in this attempt or not, should our men and means answer report, and Heaven favour me, I will be in possession of Kingston, or below that place, on the 26th proximo.
Major general Hampton must not budge until every thing is matured in this quarter, and we have either got possession of Kingston or have cut its cominunication with Montreal, of which I shall give him seasonable advice, via Plattsbury, where I shall calculate on his arrival the 20th of the ensuing month, completely equipt for a forward movement. If he changes his position and shows his column west of the lake sooner, it may cariy sir George to Montreal and produce precautions which might otherwise be neglected until too late for any salutary effect.
The militia called forth by governor Tompkins, of which by the bye you gave me no information, should not be arrayed before he hears from me at fort Georye, because the assembly of such a body would increase the alarm, and put all Canada in countermotion, while incidents beyond the controul of man may intervene to procrastinate my moveinents and thus bafile the effects of the proposed co-operation on the side of Vermont: should a corps of militia be drawn from thence, no movement should be made by them, until general Hampton has crossed Champlain.
It would be highly interesting to the public service and extremely acceptable to me to see you at Niagara, from whence, should I find it practicable, it is my intention to commence my movement down the lake, about the 15th of the next month; the best possible disposition for the safety of that frontier, and for the security of the vast mass of ordnance and stores which I must leave there, may render your advice and authority indispensably necessary to avert clamors and prevent any obstruction to my prompt movement.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, &c.
JAMES WILKINSON. Hon. John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
SACKETT'S HARBOR, August 26th, 1813, SIR,
Chauncey will go out, he says, to-morrow or next day to seek sir James. I see the necessity of settling the point of naval superiority before we commit ourselves, and therefore, the decision cannot be had too soon. In the mean time the essential arrangements progress, and if the means can be mustered, they will ensure the end.
I fear Yeo will avoid a contest to spin out the campaign, and gain time for reinforcements, and the organization of militia ;
have a copy
but if he will not come out, we must blockade him. I go to Niagati the moment our arrangements are matured here. Sir George has actually gone for the head of the lake with a reinforcement. To prevent his playing tricks with Boyd, I have sent him (Boyd) the note of which
you On Saturday 21st, one hundred and sixty regular troops agcended by Ogdensburg to Kingston, and on the 23d and 24th, they were followed by five hundred Highlanders in their kilts, who conducted up one hundred boats. Thus we see that this quarter attracts chief attention. All my efforts will be made to induce sip George to draw after him a chief part of the garrison of Kingston, which must now be near five thousand strong. The situation of Proctor and the irruption of our Indians have gone far to excite these dispositions. Meet me at Niagara, if possible, and for God's sake press on the recruits from Albany and the southward, and send me Wadsworth, Swift, Fenwick, and Izard. All things go well here, and thank God, the men are recovering rapidly. I hear not a word from Hampton. I hope he does noť mean to take the stud; but if so, we can do without him, and he should be sent home.
JAMES WILKINSON. Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, SACKETT'S HARBOR,
September 6th, 1813. DEAR GENERAL,
I arrived here yesterday. Nothing new, excepting that Prevost has returned to Kingston. General Hampton will go through the campaign cordially and vigorously, but will resign at the end of it. He will be ready to move by the 20th, with an effective regular force of 4000, and a militia detachment of 1500; On the supposition that sir George had decidedly taken his party and had chosen the peninsula as his camp de battaile, I had ordered Hampton to move immediately against the Isle Aux Noix. Two thousand militia will be promptly assembled at Champion, twenty-four miles from this place, and on the route to the Sta Lawrence. The place was selected, as offering two objects, and of course leaving his knightship to guess. To have pushed them directly to Ogdensburg, would not have had that advantage. A larger draft would have been difficult. Another view of the subject is, that this part of the plan cannot be confided to militia exclusively; they must be propped by a regular corps, otherwise the back door may not be sufficiently closed and barred.
The battle on the lake! Shall we have one? If Yeo fights and is beaten, all will be well. If he does not fight, the result may also be favourable.
JOHN ARMSTRONG General Wilkinson.
HEAD QUARTERS, UPPER SANDUSKY,
August 6th, 1813. DEAR SIR,
Your excellency's of the 4th instant, was delivered to me. yesterday morning, by colonel Brush. The exertions which you have made, and the promptitude with which your orders have been obeyed, to assemble the militia to repel the late invasion of the enemy, is truly astonishing, and reflects the highest honour on the state.
Believing, that in a formal interview, I could best explain to you the intentions of the government and my own views, i determined to come on to this place to see you. I have now the honour to repeat to you in this way, the result of my determination upon the employment of the militia, and most of the facts upon which my determination is founded. It has been the intention of government to form the army destined for operation, upon the Take Erie, exclusively of regular troops, if they could be raised ; the number was limited to 7000. The deficiency of the regulars was to be made up from the militia. From all the information I at present possess, I am convinced that there will be a great deficiency in the contemplated number of troops, after the militia now in service, and whose term of service will not expire immediately, have been added to the regulars. I have therefore called on the governor of Kentucky, for 2000 effectives : with these, there will still be a defect of perhaps 1200 troops. Your excellency has stated, the men who have turned out on this occasion, have done it with the expectation that they would be effectually employed, and that, should they be sent home, there is no prospect of getting them to turn out, should it be hereafter required. To employ them all, is impossible. With my utmost exertions, the embarkation cannot be effected in a less time than 15 or 18 days.
Should I even determine to substitute them for the regular troops, which are expected, to keep so large a force in the field, even for a short period, would consume the means which are provided for the support of the campaign, and which are only calculated for the number of men above stated.
I would recommend, under these circumstances, to your excellency, a middle course, viz: to dismiss all the militia but two regiments of 10 companies, of 100 men each, and an usual proportion of field and platoon non-commissioned officers and musicians. That this corps be encamped at or near this place, until it is ascertained whether their service will be wanted. A short time will determine this question.
Permit me to request your excellency to give your countenance and support to the exertions which general M Arthur will make to fill up the 26th regiment of 12 month's troops.
It appears that the venerable governor of Kentucky, is about to take command of the troops of that state; could your excel-