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July 9 1812: Getting the Generals to Move


On July 9 1812, Brigadier General Hull receives the letter from Secretary of War Eustis dated June 24, 1812. In his letter, the  Secretary of War authorizes Hull to take offensive measures against Canada. "Should the force under your command be equal to the enterprise,"Eustis writes, "consistent with the safety of your own post, you will take possession of Malden, and extend your conquests as circumstances may justify." Hull responds the same day in a letter that underwhelms as a statement of his confidence in the success of the invasion. He writes:
Detroit, 9th  July 1812. 

Sir, — I have received your letter of the 24th June. — The  army under my command arrived here on the 5th July, instant. Every effort has been and is still making by the British, to collect the Indians under their standard ; — they have a large number. I am preparing boats and shall pass the river in a few days. The British have established a post directly opposite to this place; I have confidence in dislodging them, and of being in possession of the opposite bank. I have little time to write; every thing will be done that is possible to do. The British command the water and the savages; I do not think the force here equal to the reduction of Amherstburg; you therefore must not be too sanguine. 
Meanwhile, on the same day, Eustis is trying to get General Henry Dearborn to go to Albany to assist Hull. On July 9, 1812, Eustis writes to Dearborn: 
"The period has arrived when your services are required at Albany, and I am instructed by the President to direct, that, having made arrangements for placing the works on the sea-coast in the best state of defence your means will permit, . . . you will then order all the recruits not otherwise disposed of to march immediately to Albany, or some station on Lake Champlain, to be organized for the invasion of Canada."
Eustis second letter is private and provides a more candid reason why he wants Dearborn to move:
If . . .we divide, distribute, and render inefficient the force authorized by law, we play the game of the enemy within and without. District among the fieldofficers the sea-board! . . . Go to Albany or the Lake! The troops shall come to you as fast as the season will admit, and the blow must be struck. Congress must not meet without a victory to announce to them.
On the same day, Eustis is also writting to William Harrison: 
Sir, By letter from Governor Edwards it appears that the Indians are again collecting. Should the regular troops and rangers under colonel Russell, with the reinforcements ordered to be furnished on your requisition, be inadequate to the protection of the frontier, your Excellency will please to consult with governor Edwards, and to request from the governor of Kentucky, such detachments from the militia of that state, as emergencies may require. 

The Governor of Kentucky will be advised of this instruction  to your Excellency, and no doubt can be entertained of his cheerful co-operation. 

Should offensive measures become necessary, the command within the Indiana territory will devolve upon you; and with the consent of governor Edwards, your military command may be extended in the Illinois territory. 

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