Front Page Titles (by Subject) PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. IX (1780-1782).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN.
Newburgh, 1 May, 1782.
Unacquainted with the determinations of the Court of France respecting the succor which may, in their extensive arrangements for the Campaign of 1782, be generously extended to the Service of America, or indeed knowing what to expect from the States, in consequence of the requisitions of Congress for Men and Supplies; it is impossible to point operations to particular objects. But as it may give facility to future determinations, to take a comprehensive view of the Enemy’s strength in different parts of America, and see with what force and means, in what manner, and with what prospect, it can best be assailed, the following statements are made, and thoughts result:—
The enemy’s effective force in America, from the best information that has been received of it, may be estimated as follows, viz:—
The foregoing estimate exhibits four distinct objects to view; each of which tho’ in different degrees, is important, and worthy of consideration.—
The first is, undoubtedly, of the greatest magnitude; and the most beneficial consequences will result from a successful operation against it. Consequently it is to be preferred, if our force and means are adequate to the enterprise and the season should favor. These are matters of very serious consideration, as a disappointment would not only disgrace our Arms, but would involve the States in a heavy and ruinous expence.—
Whether the second or third should claim our next attention (if we are unable to prosecute the first,) is a matter of serious enquiry, and can best be determined by a comparative and impartial view of the advantages of each, which, as far as my knowledge of them extend, I will state in favor of
Carolina and Georgia.
The wishes, the feelings, the long sufferings, and the distresses of the Southern States in general, and these two in particular, especially in the deprivation of their Capitols, their trade, (which is of such a nature as to make favorable remittances for continental, as well as local purposes)—and the principal Gentlemen of the Country of their homes, and the comforts of life, must have great weight in this scale—
Especially when it is considered, what effect the disappointment might have upon the minds of a people who have already conceived themselves neglected—and who, just beginning to immerge from the deplorable situation into which their country had been thrown by the cruel invasion of it, are now exerting themselves to support the common cause, in high expectation more than probable, of being speedily emancipated from the force which at present possesses their Capitols.
Under these circumstances, it may be difficult to bring to their view remote advantages, tho’ ever so important, upon the large or general scale; and if disgust and resentment should be the consequence of disappointment, it may have an unhappy influence on our Plans, in our councils, and upon our public measures in general.
Besides, there is one powerful argument in favor of the Southern Expedition (if we can be effectually covered by a fleet, without which it is folly even to think of one) and that is, a moral certainty of success, for knowing the number of the enemy which compose the Garrisons of Charles Town and Savanna, and the strength of their works; and that they have no exterior resources, we can adduce such a force as cannot upon the common rules of calculation, fail to insure success.
Whereas many unforeseen difficulties may cast up in Canada.—We may find, notwithstanding the flattering acc’ts of the friendly disposition of its Inhabitants, and their wishes to be released from the yoke of British tyranny, that a hostile disposition may appear in many of them, whilst a painful neutrality pervades the rest.
Add to these reasons, that under the most favorable circumstances that can reasonably be expected,—one campaign can do little more than give us a firm establishment in the country—and perhaps possession of their upper Posts—To expect the conquest of Quebec the same season, unless by the dispersion of the force in Canada, and the impracticability of assembling it, we should find Quebec weakly Garrisoned, illy provided with provisions, or Military Stores, or a disposition in the Country to rise as one Man, to exterminate the British force, would exhibit greater proofs of a sanguine temper than a deliberate judgment.
The Annexation of so capitol a Province as this (Canada) to the Federal Union, the consequent subduction of all the Northern and Western Indians, and the restoration of Peace and quietness to such an extensive Frontier as we have from the River St. John’s, in the Bay of Fundy, to the Holstein in No. Carolina, are matters of great moment, and worthy of the most serious attention. Especially too, when it is considered, that in the case of Charles Town and Savanna, if the enemy can be confined within their lines, the Inhabitants of So. Carolina and Georgia are suffering a temporary suspension only of their property in, and the inconveniences of, those Towns, and some impediments to their Trade. Whereas in the other case, multitudes of helpless families (which it is impossible to protect) are daily murdered, or carried into hopeless captivity by the Savages; whole settlements destroyed; and our Northern and Western frontier of more than a thousand miles in extent, continually retreating before a cruel and bloodthirsty enemy, who desolate as they go.
Besides these, an expedition into Canada would at once develop the mysterious conduct of the people of Vermont; bring them to an explanation in a manner of all others the most advantageous to us, and unexceptionable to themselves; disconcert the projects of the enemy if they are in league with the rulers of these people; and turn the arms and resources with which they were flattered, against them. For the Vermontese having often sollicited an expedition into Canada, with strong assurances of support, durst not refuse their aid if called upon, when a heavy body of Troops were marching through their Country, avowedly, and apparently to remove the source of the evils they have complain’d of, and which has been the ostensible reason assigned for their temporizing conduct with the enemy in Canada.
To these considerations may be added, that an expedition into that Country, if undertaken with sufficient means, and in a proper season and manner, will cost very little more than the expensive, but ineffectual modes which are now pursuing by the Continent agregately and the States individually, for defence of them; while the latter is an annual expence under all the disadvantages and evils here enumerated; and the other, by putting the axe to the root, would remove the cause, and make a radical cure.
I shall say nothing of the benefits which America would derive, and the injury Great Britain must sustain, by the Fur and other trade of Canada shifting hands. Nor of the immense importance it must be to the future peace and quiet of these States, especially the Western parts of them, to annihilate the British Interest in that country; thereby putting a stop to their intriguing after Peace shall be established. These are too obvious to stand in need of illustration—they will speak for themselves.
To all which may be added by way of questions, proper for Gent’n of the Navy to resolve—Whether a Fleet sufficient to protect the siege of Charles Town can lye there in safety during the operation? Whether Chesapeake Bay, which is the nearest port for Ships of the Line, would afford sufficient cover, and give proper security to the Besiegers and their convoys during the Siege? and what will be the probable consequences of the enterprise, if both these questions should be resolved in the negative.
With which I connect Penobscot—is, of the four Statements, least important, considered in a separate point of view; but if our force should be unequal to the enterprise against New York; or other circumstances should render the attack of that place unadvisable, and we could nevertheless combine these with Canada, and carry on both expeditions at once with a probability of success; it would add more weight to the reasons given in support of an Expedition into that Country; and in case of success, would be of the utmost importance, as it would add much, not only to the security of the trade of Canada, but the United States in General; give a well grounded hope of rescuing the Fisheries from Great Britain, which will most essentially injure her Marine; while it would lay a foundation, on which to build one of our own—It would confine the enemy to one harbor—and if that (New York) should be taken from them, deprive them of every port in America; thereby adding greatly to the security of our shipping upon this Coast—They would in that case have no Port in which they cd. heave down and refit their heavy ships; their West India Islands (if any should remain to them) would be considerably distressed in the article of Lumber—and lastly, another Province (Nova Scotia), which sometime ago was very desirous of it, would be added to the Federal Union.—
Having given these general ideas respecting the objects which invite to Military enterprises, I will next make an estimate of the force which, in my judgment is necessary to each. But it must be established as positions:—
First.—That to undertake the reduction of New York, upon a well grounded plan, indeed with any hope of success, we must not only have a superior Naval force, but a moral certainty of maintaining it. And that that force, or part of it, ought, if possible, to be in possession of the harbor, to cover the Besiegers, secure their communications, and facilitate transportation;—at the same time that the enemy, thereby, are effectually deprived of Succors and Supplies.
Second.—That to undertake the reduction of Charles Town—or Hallifax, without having, and holding, such Naval Force, would be folly in the extreme.
Third.—That tho’ a Naval force would be advantageous and might greatly facilitate the entire conquest of Canada, it is not absolutely necessary to the establishment of a force in the heart of the Country. In a Siege of Quebec—for the purpose of convoying Ordnance, Stores and Provisions proper for it—and depriving the Enemy of all succor by sea, a few ships in the St. Laurence (Frigates might answer) would be highly necessary.
The above being the Basis on which either of the Enterprises here mentioned should be undertaken, I think upon every rule of Military propriety we should have for the attempt against
Three times the force which compose the Garrison of it, to enable us to carry on the Siege with spirit and vigor, and to give a well grounded hope of a successful issue. Less than this number, considering the Posts we shall have to occupy, and communications to establish, would reduce us to one point of attack; or subject us to the hazard of being beaten in detail if we attempted two; when the propriety of approaching the City by the way of Brooklyn and York Island at, or about the same time, is so obviously necessary to a vigorous siege, that nothing but inability should dispence with it. Upon this calculation then, New York will require—39,000 Men. But as it may be difficult to obtain these, as a less number in a greater space of time may effect the reduction of the place, and as an attempt (even under these disadvantages) may be preferable to any other enterprise it may be asked.—
First—What is the smallest number of men with which the Siege of N. York can be undertaken under these circumstances?
Second—To how late a period of the Campaign can the commencement of the operations be delayed, without hazarding a defeat from the cold of the Autumn?
Third—Whether we may rely absolutely upon the support of the Fleet during the operation, be it long or short—early or late, in the season?
The orders of the Court of France, or the admiral, alone can determine the last; but with respect to the other two, I think 25,000 effective men, fifteen thousand of which to be regular Troops, have a tolerable good chance of reducing the Post in less than three months—consequently, the commencement ought not to be delay’d beyond the first of September—as the difficulty, proceeding from the want of wood alone will be found almost, if not quite insurmountable, especially upon York Island (where there is not a stick) unless we can secure the navigation of the No. River, by passing a Frigate or two above the Enemy’s Works.—
Charles Town and Savanna
Are here classed together, because there can be little doubt of the latter’s being united to the former, upon the first appearance of a movement that way if it can be done. For this service, I should suppose 8,000 men in addition to the regular force with Gen’l Greene, and such aids as the Country can throw in, if necessary, will be fully competent to the enterprise, which cannot, on acc’t of the heat, and sickly season, be commenced before October.—
If the Expedition is sufficiently masked it will not require (to march by Land) more than 8,000 men; for altho’ some Accounts make the force of the enemy in that Country equal to this number, yet dispersed as it is, and so far apart, if the intention is concealed till the moment of execution, and the movements are then rapid, it will be impossible to assemble it in time to oppose such a body. Two thousand in addition to these, to go round by water as has been already mentioned, and for the purpose expressed, would make a firm establishment in the heart of that Country, and very probably reduce every Post in it by January, except Quebec; the conquest of which, as has been observed before, depends upon contingencies.
If the Expedition is wholly conducted by Land, about the first of September will be the best time to begin the march, on account of the Roads, the waters, and the Provision; for harvest being then over, Bread and Forage will be plenty on the Routes the Army will move; and in Canada; and it will be too late for the enemy to send reinforcements, or supplies into that Country.—
If it is to be by Land and Water, the sooner perhaps it commences the better, because a supply of Provisions can be sent round in the Transports; and the ships of war will cut of all succor to the Enemy; and their supplies of every kind.
I can say less to than any other object, having no late acc’ts of the strength of the Works, number of the Garrison, or temper of the Inhabitants. [By] the best information, however, which I have been able to obtain, the first has been encreased, and considerably strengthened within the last two or three years; the second may be about what I have estimated them at; and with regard to the third, nothing decisive can be said. The whole amount of the Militia of that Government is about 5,000; and some time ago they were very desirous of being united with the Confederated States of America; but what changes or revolutions may have taken place in their system of Politicks, from the little, or no prospect of emancipation held up to them, I cannot undertake to determine.—Under the best view of the matter I have, I should think less than 8,000 men would be inadequate.
Being rather extraneous, was not taken into the general view; but as it is a harbor from which many Privateers are sent to annoy our Trade, as great part of the Inhabitants are well affected to the American cause,—wish to be connected with us, and depend in a very great degree upon America for subsistence, it may not be amiss to give it some consideration, as circumstances in the course of the Campaign may lead to the Conquest of this Island, without incurring much expence, or interfering with other Plans—Policy in this case may invite the measure whether it is adopted with a view of retaining or ceding the Island by way of composition at a general pacification.—
The force on the Island, by the best accounts I have had thence does not exceed three or 400 Invalids, in unimportant Works commanded by higher ground within a short distance.
One 50 Gun ship and three or four Frigates, with about 1,000 Land Troops (to be transported in the Frigates) would be competent, it is conceived, to the reduction of this Island; if the Enterprise is properly conducted and accompanied in the first instance with such offers as will be pleasing to the Inhabitants.
Having in the preceding pages pointed to the different objects which present themselves to view, the strength of each, and the force requisite for its subduction; I shall next give my ideas of the mode of attacking them—or such of them—as my knowledge of their situation will enable me to form a judgment upon. And first of
The mode of attacking this place must depend, in a great measure, upon a pretty accurate knowledge of what our Force will be at the time fixed upon for the commencement of the operations. For if it should be adjudged competent—and the measure in its nature practicable without considerable loss, we ought, in my opinion, to make two approaches at, or about the same time. If it is not, the principal part of our force must be conducted to one point; and the attack must succeed, instead of being combined with each other. In either case, the approaches may differ; the fairest way therefore of determining upon the best, is to consider
First.—The present situation of the force we are actually possessed of.
Second.—From whence our succors are to come.
Third.—The points from whence our Provisions, Siege Artillery, Military Stores, Boats and other supplies are to be drawn, and
Fourth.—Which is essentially necessary—whether possession of the interior Harbor of New York by the French Fleet can be so far depended upon as to warrant anterior movements which may prove pernicious if this event should not happen.—And above all, whether it will engage to co-operate to the end of the Siege, be it long or short.
With respect to the first, it is very immaterial so far as the Continental Troops are concerned, because they can be moved to any point with almost equal convenience—but if the French Army is to march by Land from Virginia, their going to Staten Island (one of the approaches to Brooklyn), or to Westchester, will make a difference of ten days, allowing for the passage of the North River.
As I shall include Maryland among the States which will be called upon for Militia—and New York is nearly as convenient to one point as another 30/37ths of the whole requisition will be demanded of Connecticut, and the States Eastward of it; 15/37ths of New Jersey and those South of it; and the remaining 2/37ths will come from New York—which is full information respecting the second article of succors.—
With respect to the third, the greatest part of the Siege Artillery, a large proportion of Shott, Shells and other Military Stores, lay at Philadelphia; and in the Jerseys. The Boats are in the North River and Eastward of it; and a good deal of the Powder is deposited at West Point, and in the vicinity of it—The Flour is to be transported principally from New Jersey and the States Southward of it—and the Beef will come on foot from the Eastward.—
On the 4th Article I can form no decisive opinion. But full and absolute possession of the harbor is of such immense importance in an attack upon New York, and will contribute so much to the security of our communications, safety of our convoys, and speedy reduction of the Garrison, that no means ought, in my opinion, to be left unessayed to accomplish it. And in the weak and defenceless state the harbor is in at present, nothing would be more easy and certain, than to effect this by surprize, if the Squadron destined for this coast could detach previous to its Sailing from the West Indies, a few Ships to gain possession; thereby facilitating the entrance of the others; which might, and indeed ought, speedily to follow.—
The Lines on York Island, and the Works at Brooklyn are the two avenues to the Town. To arrive at the first, there is but one way, except it can be done by stratagem (which is too precarious to be admitted into any Plan,) and that is by forcing the passage of Harlaem River—The approach to the second may be either by Staten Island or Frogs Neck, (if it should be preferred to Morrissania); each of which supposing the Fleet to be in possession of the Bay, which is to be considered as a Basis, has its advantages as follows—
Would, in the very commencement of our movements to Invest New York, give us all the advantages of a full intercourse, and perfect co-operation with the Fleet; would afford protection to it under all circumstances, and at all seasons; even supposing it to be blockaded by a superior Navy; would be convenient to the French Troops marching from Virginia—more convenient to any which may arrive in the Fleet to debark at, than any other place; more advantageous on account of the heavy Artillery, Stores, &c., which may come in, or belong to the Fleet; or which shall be transported from Phila. or Virginia by Water; and much more convenient to all such as shall be transported by Land from either of these places, or the Furnaces in N. Jersey.
—It will be nearer to our supplies of Bread and Flour; more contiguous to Brooklyn and much more so to Bergen and Paulus hook.
—It cuts off (with the assistance of a ship or two in the Sound) every possibility of a retreat of the Enemy; and, more than probably, would possess, unexpectedly, the Forage and other resources which they may be holding in reserve on Staten and Long Island; while they attempt to forage, or destroy the Grain and Grass in Westchester, with a view of depriving us of them. Besides the reasons here given, we should be more convenient to the forage of Jersey, and the States South of it; from whence the greater part of this article must come, and it might act as a stimulus to the militia of those States, as their march would be shortened by it.
Frog’s Neck or Morrissania
Is equally, indeed more convenient, to the Continental Troops and York Militia, than Staten Island; and is much more so to the Militia Eastward of the North River. It is more convenient on account of the Boats, and our Beef Cattle. It will also be an advantageous position so soon as a force sufficient to maintain it, can be assembled.—It looks equally to York and Long Island, and may have works thrown up to facilitate the passage to either, or both, as circumstances may point,—while the Enemy, by being suspended between the two, will either neglect one or weaken both. The communication between the main and Long Island may be rendered easier and more secure; consequently, a retreat in case of a disaster, safer by the way of Frog’s Neck or Morrissania than by that of Staten Island; because in the first case, there is only one water to cross, which may be covered by Batteries—and in the other, two; one of which (from Staten to Long Island) is rather difficult and uncertain; and should we not possess, or by any mischance loose, the command of the Bay between the Narrows and the city might become very dangerous.—On the other hand, our Land communication from the place of disembarkation, will, when we are established before Brooklyn, not only be much shorter by the way of Staten Island, but more secure than the other by Frogs Neck or Morrissania; as the first may be reduced to about two miles of good road with a covered Flank—the latter will be at least twelve, of rugged road, with a Flank exposed to Partezan strokes of the enemy from New York the greatest part of the way.
Under this state of matters, it is not easy to determine on which side to incline.—To approach by the way of Westchester, seems to be the safest; by Staten Island, the most convenient. If the latter should be adopted, it will, more than probable, draw the principal part, if not the whole of the enemy’s force from the North end of York Island to the city—but whether it does or not, there should be a body of five or 6000 Militia and a few Continental Troops in the vicinity of Kings bridge, to complete the Investiture of the Island, establish communications, and be ready to take advantage of circumstances. If the former should be preferred, the effect will be reversed; and except the Guards which may be necessary for the city, and the stores that are in it, the whole force of the enemy will, I expect, take a position at McGowans heights; where the Island being narrow, and ground commanding, they could maintain themselves in the Works they now have, or could soon throw up, against numbers much superior to their own; and would only be drawn from it by a movement to Brooklyn, by way of Morrissania or Frog’s Neck.
Upon the whole, if our force was such as to enable us to make two attacks, and each division was decidedly superior to the enemy’s whole force, I should, in that case, be of opinion:—
That we had better approach New York by the way of Staten Island and Westchester at the same time, because by beginning at the two extreme points, we shall distract the enemy and oblige them to give up one, or weaken themselves at both ends of York Island. If it is not sufficient, I then think— That the safety of operating by the way of Westchester, the advantages of looking to two points—viz—York and Long Island at the same time, and of assembling our force, and advancing as we acquire strength, and can do it with safety, is to be preferred to the conveniency of Staten Island—especially as the propriety of approaching by the latter, depends upon the position of the French Fleet, of which we can have no previous assurance.
If Charles Town should be the object of the Campaign, the French and other Troops destined for this Service must be transported by water—so must the Siege and other Artillery, ordnance and other Stores, Flour, Salt Provision, salt and spirits. A Land Transportation of Artillery and Military Stores adequate to the Siege of this place, would, in our circumstances, be found impracticable. And to march men thither by Land, would, (as we have too often experienced already) dissipate half of them by sickness, desertion and other causes. The Artillery and Saddle Horses might go by Land, and by preceding the embarkation of the Troops, reach some given point by the time the Transports arrive at the Post to which they are destined.—
For the Voyage, and support of the Troops in the first stages of the Siege—till the resources of the Country can be collected—we ought to go provided with at least two Months’ Provision—three would be still better.
Philadelphia, under present circumstances and appearances, seems best adapted for the Embarkation; as a sufficient number of Transports may probably be had there; and any number, if brought there, can be fitted for the accommodation of Troops.
The most convenient, and advantageous place to debark at would be Stone Inlet; provided the Banks of the River bearing that name (and seperating Johns and James Islands) are not possessed and fortified by the Enemy.—This Inlet, while that of Charles Town is in possession of the enemy, not only affords the best Harbor for the Transports, but is the most convenient approach from the sea to the City; the most advantageous for forming a junction with the Troops under the command of Majr. Genl. Greene; and for cutting off the retreat of the Garrison of Savanna to Charles Town. And measures must be previously taken by Genl. Greene to prevent their doing it to St. Augustine, by Land:—
To go into a minute detail of the approaches from the place of debarkation to the Enemy’s Lines before Charles Town, is more than I am able to do. But Charles Town Neck must be possessed in force; and to do it, the Ashley river must be crossed as near their Works as it can be done with Safety. Our principal operation will be on this neck, between the Rivers Ashley and Cowper, and a secure communication must be established by the nearest convenient route from hence to the shipping in Stone Inlet; which, as it will lye exposed to the Enemy’s whole force, will be a good deal exposed while they have the command of the harbor of Charles Town.
If an Expedition into this country should be adopted, from choice or necessity—it must be conducted either by Land wholly or by Land and Water conjointly, according to circumstances. The last is to be preferred but the former may do—I shall point to the Measures which to me appear necessary in both cases—and first by
The Army should commence its march in the Columns—the right column to proceed by the way of Connecticut River, Co’os and Hazen’s new Road. The left, by Albany, Bennington, Manchester, Shrewsbury, and Otter Creek, keeping Lake Champlain on the Left, and the Green Mountain on the right, till the junction is formed; which should be about the River Michiscone, five or 6 miles from the Canada line, and may be (by bringing them together more at right angles) at the River A La Moelle, if circumstances should require the junction sooner, or if it should be conceived more beneficial, on acc’t of water carriage, and the communications which may be useful hereafter (in case we should obtain the command of Lake Champlain, which we ought never to lose sight of)—the left column may advance by the way of Fort Edward, Fort Anne, South Bay and Ticonderoga to the other Road by Bennington, and form a junction with it or Otter Creek.
The March of the two columns shou’d be so ordered, as that each may arrive at the place destined for the junction at the same time; and for this purpose the best judgment of the March of each should be previously formed; and a mode of corresponding fixed on, to regulate the advances by, afterwards. The left column, as it will be more exposed than the right, will have the most extensive communication and the greatest difficulty to open and secure it, should consist of 5,000 men; the other of 3,000—both ought to have French Troops in them, that the Canadians in any stage of the march, may have ocular proof of our Alliance with France, and their co-operation with us. Some Cavalry should march with each column; and all the Indians that can be obtained.
The object of this Expedition, should be masked as long as the nature of the movements can possibly conceal it, and the march afterwards should be with as much celerity as it can be performed without injury to the Troops.
The first object of the Troops, should be to penetrate into the Heart of the Country before the enemy can assemble their scattered forces; and take such a position as will prevent the junction of them afterwards. The Country of St. Denis, between the Sorrel and St. Lawrence, seems well situated to answer this end. To effect this, and prepare for the Winter Cantonments and subsistence of the Army, is all that can be counted upon without Heavy Artillery—to transport which, and the stores necessary to it by Land, would be next to impossible. But when the Frost closes the Lake Chamn., the Enemy’s armed vessels therein must be possessed, or destroyed; or if neither of these can be done, nor the Post at St. John’s reduced; then to establish one at the Isle aux Noix, that we may, by cutting the enemy off from Lake Champlain open a communication by water for our Siege Artillery, and heavy stores in the Spring.
If any thing further is undertaken in the course of the Winter, it must be from the circumstances of the Moment; and not consequential of any general and preconcerted plan—one or two Armed Boats with sails, should be built in the course of the Winter at a Post which may be established at the South end of Lake Champlain (Fort Anne for Instance), and a sufficient number of Batteaux should be transported from the North River to the same place, while the sledding is favorable. This Season should also be embraced for transporting the heavy Artillery, stores, and Provisions from the one water to the other.
In the first instance, our Provision of the meat kind will transport itself; and it is expected that the upper parts of Connecticut River and the New Hampshire Grants (or Vermont as it is called); with such aid as Canada can afford, will supply the Flour. Our Baggage should be light, and as Field Artillery only will be taken, our movements may be quick.
Land and Water.
The only difference between this and the last is that our heavy Artillery, Provisions and Stores, may go in the first instance by water; with such an additional force as will enable us to commence the Siege of Quebec, or some other Capital post, immediately; and, that the Expedition may be undertaken without a moment’s unnecessary delay—and the earlier the better,—as the French fleet in the St. Lawrence will intercept succors and supplies by water to the enemy, if any should be attempted—whereas if it is confined to a Land operation altogether, it must be delayed till August, on acct. of Harvest, and because it may be too late after that for the enemy to reinforce till next Year.
Provisions, and every article necessary for the Siege, must be transported thither with the force destined for the Expedition, as there can be no dependence upon the Country. The best place to debark the troops at, is Sambro Bay, by the Light House, about 15 miles from Hallifax; and to march by Jerusalem to the reverse of the Town; which is more accessable, and was least fortified. How it may be now, I cannot say.
Alone, is scarcely an object; but might be visited en passant, in the Expedition to Hallifax, or Canada by water; and would give some eclat to either of those enterprises, for the fall of it can scarcely be doubted, if attempted.
If the enterprise is unconnected with any other object, 1,500 men will be sufficient to employ on the Expedition.
Some good, and no bad consequences can result from an attempt to take this Island by Surprise. To effect it, the ships destined for this Expedition should hoist British colors as soon as they get in sight of Land; and adopt every other means to carry on the deception untill proper Pilots are procured at the West end of the Island. The ships should next pursue their course as near the South side of the Island as prudence will admit. When they arrive opposite the mouth of Castle Harbor,—all except one or two, should immediately enter and begin the attack on the Castle without loss of time; the other ships should continue their course a few miles further, and bring to about a mile distance from the Mouth of St. George’s Harbor, to prevent the escape of any Vessels from thence. If this could be done in the night, and troops landed under that cover, it is more than probable the Castle, and consequently the Island, might be carried without much, if any opposition; for it is presumed very little would come from the Inhabitants who have often expressed a wish to be united with America and enjoy the benefits of its support.1
end of vol. ix.
[1 ]This plan of campaign was drawn up by Washington himself, every line of the manuscript being in his own hand.