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He accordingly embarked with his little party in five bateaux and a birch canoe, and launched forth without a guide on the swift current of the Chaudiere. It was little better than a mountain torrent, full of rocks and rapids. Three of their boats were dashed to pieces, the cargoes lost, and the crews saved with difficulty. At one time, the whole party came near being precipitated over a cataract, where all might have perished; at length they reached Sertigan, the first French settlement, where they were cordially received. Here Arnold bought provisions, which he sent back by the Canadians and Indians to his troops. The latter were in a state of starvation. Some had not tasted food for eight-and-forty hours; others had cooked two dogs, followers of the camp; and others had boiled their moccasins, cartouch boxes, and other articles of leather, in the hope of rendering them eatable.
Arnold halted for a short time in the hospitable valley of the Chaudiere, to give his troops repose, and distributed among the inhabitants the printed manifesto with which he had been furnished by Washington. Here he was joined by about forty Norridgewock Indians. On the 9th of November, the little army emerged from the woods at Point Levi, on the St. Lawrence, opposite to Quebec. A letter written by an inhabitant of that place, speaks of their sudden apparition.
"There are about five hundred provincials arrived at Point Levi, opposite to the town, by the way of Chaudiere across the woods. Surely a miracle must have been
CAPITULATION OF MONTREAL.
wrought in their favor. It is an undertaking above the common race of men in this debauched age. They have travelled through woods and bogs, and over precipices, for the space of one hundred and twenty miles, attended with every inconvenience and difficulty, to be surmounted only by men of indefatigable zeal and industry."
Leaving Arnold in full sight of Quebec, which, after his long struggle through the wilderness, must have appeared like a land of promise, we turn to narrate the events of the upper expedition into Canada, of which the letters of Schuyler kept Washington faithfully informed.
Montgomery appeared before Montreal on the 12th of November. General Carleton had embarked with his little garrison, and several of the civil officers of the place, on board of a flotilla, of ten or eleven small vessels, and made sail in the night, with a favorable breeze, carrying away with him the powder and other important stores. The town capitulated, of course; and Montgomery took quiet possession. His urbanity and kindness soon won the good-will of the inhabitants, both English and French, and made the Canadians sensible that he really came to secure their rights, not to molest them. Intercepted letters acquainted him with Arnold's arrival in the neighborhood of Quebec, and the great alarm of "the king's friends," who expected to be besieged: "which, with the blessing of God, they shall be," said Montgomery, "if the severe season holds off, and I can prevail on the troops to accompany me."
His great immediate object was the capture of Carleton, which would form a triumphal close to the enterprise, and might decide the fate of Canada. The flotilla in which the general was embarked, had made repeated attempts to escape down the St. Lawrence; but had as often been driven back by the batteries thrown up by the Americans at the mouth of the Sorel. It now lay anchored about fifteen miles above that river, and Montgomery prepared to attack it with bateaux and light artillery, so as to force it down upon the batteries.
Carleton saw his imminent peril. Disguising himself as a Canadian voyager, he set off on a dark night accompanied by six peasants, in a boat with muffled oars, which he assisted to pull, slipped quietly and silently past all the batteries and guard-boats, and effected his escape to Three Rivers, where he embarked in a vessel for Quebec. After his departure the flotilla surrendered, and all those who had taken refuge on board were made prisoners of war. Among them was General Prescott, late commander of Montreal.
Montgomery now placed garrisons in Montreal, St. John's, and Chamblee, and made final preparations for descending the St. Lawrence, and coöperating with Arnold against Quebec. To his disappointment and deep chagrin, he found but a handful of his troops disposed to accompany him. Some pleaded ill-health; the term of enlistment of many had expired, and they were bent on returning home; and others, who had no such excuses to make, be
came exceedingly turbulent, and indeed mutinous. Nothing but a sense of public duty, and gratitude to Congress for an unsought commission, had induced Montgomery to engage in the service; wearied by the continual vexations which beset it, he avowed, in a letter to Schuyler, his determination to retire as soon as the intended expedition against Quebec was finished. "Will not your health permit you to reside at Montreal this winter?" writes he to Schuyler; "I must go home, if I walk by the side of the lake. I am weary of power, and totally want that patience and temper so requisite for such a command." Much of the insubordination of the troops he attributed to the want of tact and cultivation in their officers, who had been suddenly advanced from inferior stations and coarse employments. "An affair happened yesterday," writes he to Schuyler on the 24th of November, "which had very near sent me home. A number of officers presumed to remonstrate against the indulgence I had given some of the king's troops. Such an insult I could not bear, and immediately resigned. To-day they qualified it by such an apology, as put it in my power to resume the command." In the same spirit he writes: "I wish some method could be fallen upon for engaging gentlemen to serve. A point of honor and more knowledge of the world, to be found in that class of men, would greatly reform discipline, and render the troops much more tractable."
The troops which had given Montgomery so much
annoyance and refused to continue with him in Canada, soon began to arrive at Ticonderoga. Schuyler, in a letter to Congress, gives a half querulous, half humorous account of their conduct. "About three hundred of the troops raised in Connecticut, passed here within a few days. An unhappy home-sickness prevails. These all came down as invalids, not one willing to reëngage for the winter's service; and, unable to get any work done by them, I discharged them en groupe. Of all the specifics ever invented for any, there is none so efficacious as a discharge for this prevailing disorder. No sooner was it administered but it perfected the cure of nine out of ten; who, refusing to wait for boats to go by the way of Lake George, slung their heavy packs, crossed the lake at this place, and undertook a march of two hundred miles with the greatest good-will and alacrity."
This home-sickness in rustic soldiers, after a rough campaign, was natural enough, and seems only to have provoked the testy and subacid humor of Schuyler; but other instances of conduct roused his indignation.
A schooner and tow galley arrived at Crown Point, with upwards of a hundred persons. They were destitute of provisions; none were to be had at the Point, and the ice prevented them from penetrating to Ticonderoga. In starving condition they sent an express to General Schuyler, imploring relief. He immediately ordered three captains of General Wooster's regiment, with a considerable body of men in bateaux, to "attempt a re