ARNOLD, Benedict, Major General, Continental Army. Autograph letter signed ("B Arnold") to Colonel James Clinton, Montreal, 10 May 1776. 1 page, 8vo, endorsed on verso, neatly inlaid. FINE.
THE LAST STAGES OF THE UNSUCCESSFUL CANADIAN INVASION
With the American army already withdrawing from Quebec, a recently landed British relief force following close behind, Arnold cautions Clinton, who is taking over command of the American troops in Montreal: "As you are Appointed to Command at Montreal, you will be very Carefull that the Garrison are Alert & do their Duty, you will pay particular Attention to Col. [Timothy] Bedel at the Cedars [on the St. Lawrence, due south of Montreal] who has abt. 500 Men with him, you will Forward on Provissions [sic] etc. to the South as fast as they Arrive, pay particular Attention to the City & Suburbs, in Case of the approach of the Enemy from the Upper Counties. I shall advise you from time to time of any thing Material from Below."
Arnold's concerns were to prove well-founded, for five days after this admonition the enemy fell on the American outpost at the Cedars, capturing the garrison without much resistance. A relief force from Montreal led by Major Henry Sherburne was also captured when it marched into an ambush, and on 9 June at Trois Rivires, halfway between Montreal and Quebec, an American force was driven back. Arnold and his garrison evacuated Montreal soon afterwards and the greatly reduced American expeditionary army withdrew down Lake Champlain, reaching Crown Point some 10 months after their invasion had been launched.