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September 18 1812: Brock Writes to Brother Savery

On September 18, 1812, Major-General Brock is also writing to his brother Savery in Britain. He updates him on the state of the war. He provides a quite objective account of his success in surmounting great difficulties but he is also aware that American incompetence has aided his hand. Brock writes:
Were the Americans of one mind, the opposition I could make would be unavailing; but I am not without hope that their divisions may be the saving of this province. A river of about 500 yards broad divides the troops. My instructions oblige me to adopt defensive measures, and I have evinced greater forbearance than was ever practised on any former occasion. It is thought that, without the aid of the sword, the American people may be brought to a due sense of their own interests. I firmly believe I could at this moment sweep every thing before me between Fort Niagara and Buffalo--but my success would be transient.
Brock's letter is reproduced below. 

Major-General Brock to his brother Savery

FORT GEORGE, September 18, 1812.

You doubtless feel much anxiety on my account. I am really placed in a most awkward predicament. If I get through my present difficulties with tolerable success, I cannot but obtain praise. But I have already surmounted difficulties of infinitely greater magnitude than any within my view. Were the Americans of one mind, the opposition I could make would be unavailing; but I am not without hope that their divisions may be the saving of this province. A river of about 500 yards broad divides the troops. My instructions oblige me to adopt defensive measures, and I have evinced greater forbearance than was ever practised on any former occasion. It is thought that, without the aid of the sword, the American people may be brought to a due sense of their own interests. I firmly believe I could at this moment sweep every thing before me between Fort Niagara and Buffalo--but my success would be transient.

I have now officers in whom I can confide: when the war commenced, I was really obliged to seek assistance among the militia. The 41st is an uncommonly fine regiment, but wretchedly officered. Six companies of the 49th are with me here, and the remaining four at Kingston, under Vincent. Although the regiment has been ten years in this country, drinking rum without bounds, it is still respectable, and apparently ardent for an opportunity to acquire distinction: it has five captains in England, and two on the staff in this country, which leaves it bare of experienced officers. The U.S. regiments of the line desert over to us frequently, as the men are tired of the service: opportunities seldom offer, otherwise I have reason to think the greater part would follow the example. The militia, being chiefly composed of enraged democrats, are more ardent and anxious to engage, but they have neither subordination nor discipline. They die very fast. You will hear of some decisive action in the course of a fortnight, or in all probability we shall return to a state of tranquility. I say decisive, because if I should be beaten, the province is inevitably gone; and should I be victorious, I do not imagine the gentry from the other side will be anxious to return to the charge.

It is certainly something singular that we should be upwards of two months in a state of warfare, and that along this widely extended frontier not a single death, either natural or by the sword, should have occurred among the troops under my command, and we have not been altogether idle, nor has a single desertion taken place.

I am quite anxious for this state of warfare to end, as I wish much to join Lord Wellington, and to see you all.

Has poor Betsey recovered the loss of my young and dear friend, John Tupper?

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