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posed before Quebec. In consequence of this advice, the remaining sick were moved up the ri: ver; but General Thomas was determined to continue in his prescut position some time longer, by the information that large reinforcements were now passing the lakes, and might daily be expected; but those reinforcements not arriving as his intelligence had induced him to hope, and the enemy advancing in force, he was obliged to retreat to the Sorel, where he was seized with the small-pox, of which he died.
The Americans in general were by no means satisfied with the conduct of this gentleman, to whom they in some degree attributed the disasters which ruined their affairs in Canada.
This censure, however, was unjust. He took the command of the army when it was too weak to maintain its ground, and when the time for saying the sick and military stores had passed away.
The siege of Quebec, instead of being persevered in longer, ought certainly to have been abandoned at an earlier period, This was the real fault of those who commanded at this station. It is to be ascribed to the extreme reluctance, always felt by inexperienced officers, to disappoint the public expectation, by relinquishing an enterprise, concernig which sanguine hopes have been entertineri, even after every reasonable prospect of success has yanished, and to encounter the ob
loquy of giving up a post, although it can no longer be with prudence defended. In the perseverance with which the siege of Quebec was maintained, these motives operated with all their force, and they received an addition, from the unwillingness felt by the Americans to abandon those of their friends who had taken so decisive a part in their favour, as to be incapable of remaining in safety behind them.
Whilst the power of the United Colonies in Canada was thus visibly declining, and their troops were driven by superior numbers from the vicinity of Quebec, a calamity entirely unlooked for befel them in a different quarter of the same province.
As the English were still in possession of several military posts in Upper Canada, many considerations rendered it proper to station a body of troops above Montreal. A point of land called the Cedar, about forty miles above that place, which was recommended by the facility with which it might be defended, was selected for this purpose. It projected far into the St. Lawrence, and could only be approached on one side.
To this place Colonel Bedel bad been detached, with three hundred and ninety continental troops, and two field-pieces, which he mounted in some slight works he had thrown up for security. Against this post General Carleton had, very early in the spring, planned an expedition, the executioa
of which was committed to Captain Forster, who commanded at a post held by the English on Oswyatchie. He set out with a company of regulars and a few savages; and having prevailed on the warrior of a tribe of Indians inhabiting the intermediate country, to join in the expedition, he appeared before the works of the Americans with about six hundred men. Two days previous to his appearance, Colonel Bedel had received intelligence of his approach ; and leaving the fort to be commanded by Major Butterfield, had proceeded bimself to Montreal, to solicit assistance. Arnold, who then commanded at that place, immediately detached Major Sherburne to the Cedars with one hundred men, while he prepared to follow in
person, at the liead of a much larger force.
Captain Forster, on his first appearance, sent in a flag, requiring a surrender, and Major Butterfield offered to capitulate and give up the fort, on being permitted to withdraw with the garrison and all their baggage to Montreal. These terms were refused, and the assailants being entirely destitute of artillery, the fort was attacked with musketry. By this mode of attack no serious impression could possibly be made; and, in the course of two days, only one man was wounded. Yet. Major Butterfield, intimidated by the threat, that if
any Indians should be killed during the siege, it would be out of tlie power of Captain Forster to restrain them from massacring every individual of the garrison, consented to a capitulation, by which he and his whole party were made prisoners of war, stipulating only for their baggage and their lives.
The next day, Major Sherburne approached without having received any information that Butterfield had surrendered. Within about four miles of the Cedars he was attacked by a considerable body of Indians ; and he, too, after a conflict of near an hour, in the course of which a party of the enemy gained his rear, surrendered at discretion.
Having obtained information of these untoward events, Arnold, at the head of seven hundred men, marched against the enemy, then at Vandreuil, in the hope of recovering the American prisoners. When preparing for the engagement, he received a flag, accompanied by Major Sherburne, giving him the most positive assurances, that if he persisted in his design to attack the enemy, it would be entirely out of the power of Captain Forster to prevent his savages from pursuing their horrid customs, and disencumbering themselves of their prisoners, by putting every man to death. This massacre was already threatened ; and Major Sherburne confirmed the communication in a manner too serious to admit of its being questioned. Under the influence of this threat, Arnold, desisted from his purpose, and agreed to a cartel, by which
the prisoners were delivered up to him ; he agréés ing, among other things, to deliver others in exchange for them, and that they should immediately return to their homes. Hostages were given as a security for the performance of these stipulations; but Congress long discovered much unwillingness to observe them *.
At the mouth of the Sorel, after the death of General Thomas, reinforcements assembled, which increased the army to about four or five thousand
General Sullivan now came up, and the command devolved on him.
The friendly Canadians in that part of the country, who had supposed themselves abandoned; manifested great joy on seeing General Sullivan arrive with reinforcements, which appeared to them very considerable; and offered every assistance in their power: He calculated on their joining frien in very great numbers, and entertained sanguine hopes of recovering and maintaining the post of de Chambeau. As a previous measure, it was necessary to dislodge the eneniy at the Three Rivers.
Carleton was not immediately in a situation to follow up the blow given the Americans at Quebec, and to drive them entirely out of the province; but the respite allowed them was not of long duration.
* Journals of Congress.