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July 13 1812: Generals Write to Secretary of War


On July 13 1812, General Dearborn is still in Boston though he has been told to go to Albany. In addition, as the Senior major general in the United States Army in command of the northeast sector,  he should have been providing assistance to General Hull who yesterday invaded Upper Canada. Dearborn on July 13 writes to the Secretary of War Eustis providing his excuses:
For some time past I have been in a very unpleasant situation, being at a loss to determine whether or not I ought to leave the sea-coast. As soon as war was declared [June 18] I was desirous of repairing to Albany, but was prevented by your letters of May 20 and June 12, and since that time by the extraordinary management of some of the governors in this quarter. On the receipt of your letter of June 26 I concluded to set out in three or four days for Albany, but the remarks in your letter of the 1st inst. prevented me. But having waited for more explicit directions until 1 begin to fear that I may be censured for not moving, and having taken such measures as circumstances would permit for the defence of the sea-coast, I have concluded to leave this place for Albany before the end of the present week unless I receive orders to remain.
Meanwhile, General Hull is at Sandwich, Upper Canada. He also writes to the Secretary of War:  

BRIG.-GENERAL HULL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR. Sandwich, in Upper Canada, July 13th  
Sir — from the 5th July inst. the day of the arrival of the army at Detroit, the whole was employed in strengthening the fortifications for the security of the town, and preparing boats for the passage of the river. About one hundred regulars of the British army, and, from the best accounts I have been able to obtain, six hundred Canadian militia with artillery, were in possession of the opposite bank, and fortifying directly opposite the town; seven or eight hundred Indians were likewise attached to this copies.
On the evening of the 11th, before dark, the boats were ordered down the river, and a part of the army marched towards the river Rouge, with directions to return under cover of the night and proceed above the town. The object of this movement was to induce the enemy to believe that this was a preparatory measure to the passage of the river below: this indeed would have been the real movement, if a sufficient number of boats could have been collected for the passage of a body of troops at once superior to the enemy's: the necessary arrangements having been made, the latter moved above the town to Bloody bridge. The 4th U.S. regiment, M'Arthur's, Finley's and Cass's regiments of Ohio volunteers, with three six pounders under the command of Captain Dyson, marched to the same point; the descent was immediately made, and the army is now encamped on the Canada shore without the loss of a man. In the course of the night the enemy abandoned their position and retreated to Amherstburg. Both the embarkation and the debarkation were conducted with the greatest regularity, and all the heavy artillery that was mounted on carriages was placed on the bank in suitable situations to have covered the landing. In less than five minutes after the first boat of a regiment struck the shore, the whole regiment was formed. The manner in which this difficult movement was executed does honor to the officers and soldiers of this army. I consider the possession of this bank is highly important. By erecting one or two batteries opposite to the batteries at Detroit, the river will be completely commanded in the rear of the army. On the Detroit River, the River La Trenche, and Lake St. Clair is a populous and valuable part of the province; it is likewise probable that when the Indians see the American standard erected on both sides the river it will have a favorable effect. 
Inclosed is a copy of a proclamation to the inhabitants, which I hope will be approved by the government. Two hundred copies have been printed and are now in circulation; all the inhabitants who have seen it appear satisfied. 

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