Mr. H. C. DENNISON’S RESOLUTION,
for COPIES OF ANY
DETACHING THE MILITIA;
BY ORDER OF THE HOUSE.
PRINTED BY WATLONS AND GOSS, OCTOBER 1814
In General Assembly of the State of Vermont, October 21,
ON motion and leave, Mr. H. C. Dennison introduced the
following Resolution, viz.
“In General Assembly, October 21st, 1814. “RESOLVED….That His Excellency the Governor, be requested
to lay before this House, copies of any Correspondence he may have had, with any
commanding Officer of the United States’ Army, or any Officer under his
command, relative to detaching the Militia of this State; particularly the
request of General Macome, alluded to in his Excellency’s Speech of the 15th
instant, together with any other information on the subject, which, in his
opinion, may not be improper to communicate
to his House.” Which
resolution was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
In General Assembly, Oct. 26, 1814.
The Resolution lying on the table, calling on his Excellency for certain
information, relating to any correspondence he may have had with Gen. Macomb,
and other Military Officers, was called up, read and adopted;
and on motion, Ordered, that Mr. H. C. Dennison wait on his Excellency,
with a copy of the Resolution.
OCTOBER 27, 1814
IN compliance with the Resolution of the Hon. House of Representatives,
of the 25th instant, I herewith transmit to you, and through you to
that Honorable Body, several letters and communications, Marked NO. 1 to 14,
A copy of the answer, to General Macomb’s first letter, dated the 1st
of September last, I find, by examining my papers, has been mislaid.
It was short, and in substance, as well as I recollect, that attention
should be paid to his communication, and such aid afforded, as should be found
necessary, and in my power constitutionally to grant.
An introductory letter to General Macomb, was given to General Strong, on
his crossing the Lake; stating his
laudable exertions, in inducing volunteers to turn out for the defense of their
Country, and recommending his as an old and experienced Officer, in whose
judgment and integrity the fallest confidence might be placed.
Of this letter, it being made out in haste, I did not take a copy.
I am Sir, respectfully, your humble servant,
Hon. D. Chipman, Speaker
of the House of Representatives.
COPY OF A LETTER FROM BRIGADIER GENERAL MACOMB.
Plattsburgh, August 31, 1814.
I AM this moment informed, that the enemy is advancing in full force
towards this place, and have already proceeded so far as to cross the Chazy at
Champlain village. It is perhaps in
your power to throw a detachment over the Lake, so as to advance to our
assistance on the road leading from Essex.
These men should be light armed. We
shall be able to hold our ground until they come to our assistance, in case they
should be too powerful for us to meet the enemy beyond our defenses.
With sentiments of respect, I have the honour to be your most obedient
Brig. General Commanding the U.
Martin Chittenden, Gov. of the State of Vermont
OF ANOTHER FROM THE SAME
1 P. M. September 4, 1814
IT is now ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the enemy will march for this
place, with his whole force, this morning.
Every preparation is made and making that our time will admit.
The enemy must besiege us, as our works are now in a tolerable state o
defense. This will give time for
succors to get to our assistance, which may possibly end in a complete
discomfiture of his designs and oblige him to raise the siege.
Much is at stake at this place, and aid is actually wanted, as the
garrison is small, and the enemy is considerable force.
Under these circumstances your Excellency will, I am sure, not hesitate
to afford us all the assistance in your power.
I have the honour to be, sir, with perfect respect, your most obedient
Brigadier General Commanding,
To His Excellency,
Martin Chittenden, Gov. Of the State of Vermont.
OF THE ANSWER
Jericho, Sept. 4, 1814
I HAVE the honor of acknowledging your note of this day, and shall take
the most effectual measure to furnish such number of Volunteers, as may be
induced to turn out for your assistance. They
will probably cross at Mc’Neil’s ferry.
I have the honor to be, with respect, your humble servant,
Gen. A. Macomb.
OF A LETTER FROM GOV. CHITTENDEN TO GEN. NEWELL.
Sept. 4, 1814.
ENCLOSED I transmit to you the copy of a letter, this moment received
from Gen. Macomb, which will shew you the situation of our army at Plattsburgh,
and the necessity of such assistance as can be afforded.
I would recommend it to you to take the most effectual method to procure
such number of Volunteers as may be had, for his immediate assistance; from your
brigade. It would be advisable for
the troops to cross the lake at M’cNeil’s ferry.
I am respectfully, your humble servant,
Gen. John Newell.
OF THE ANSWER
Charlotte, September 5, 1814
I RECEIVED, late last night, your Excellency’s letter to yourself, of
the same date enclosed, in which you have referred me to Gen. Macomb’s letter
to learn the defenseless situation of Plattsburgh;
the force and approach of the enemy, and his request for your assistance,
with the Militia of Vermont. You
have, also, recommended to me, to procure such number of volunteers, from my
brigade, as may be disposed to repair to Plattsburgh, and have them cross at
M’Neil’s Ferry. If I rightly
understand you letter, I can perceive no request, or order, from your
Excellency, directing me to have the Militia under my command, or any portion of
them, march to Plattsburgh, or any other place, for the assistance of Gen.
Macomb, or for any other purpose. From
your letter, therefore, I consider myself unauthorized to order out any portion
of the Militia, under my command, or to do more than your Excellency has
recommended, namely, to offer my advice, which may be followed or not.
As I consider myself, with the brigade I command, fully under your
direction and controul, and as our assistance is requested, and seems very much
needed at Plattsburgh, I regret that your Excellency has not ordered, either the
whole, or a portion of this brigade to their assistance, as I shall cheerfully
obey any request, direction, or order, you may give, to repair to Plattsburgh,
or any other place, to assist in opposing the enemy, protecting our territory
and citizens and defending our country from invasion.
I am, sir, with respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient servant,
His Excellency, Martin Chittenden
COPY OF A REPLY TO GEN. NEWELL
Jericho, September 5, 1814
I HAVE received yours of this date, and state, in answer, that I do not
consider myself, authorized, either by the constitution, or law, under which we
act, and from which all our powers are derived, to order the Militia out of the
State. But considering the peculiar
situation of the army at Plattsburgh, it was my desire,
that every aid, constitutionally in our power, should be afforded.
And I am induced to believe, that a request, in such a case, would have
more effect, that an attempt to assume authorized power, on all such as are
willing to turn out for the defence of our country.
I am respectfully, your humble servant,
Gen. John Newell
COPY OF A LETTER FROM COL. FASSETT.
I LEARN by Mr. Wadsworth, there is considerable quantity of fixed
ammunition at Vergennes, subject to your order.
Can I have a part of it for Volunteers?
Please to inform me by my son.
I am, sir, yours,
M. Chittenden, Jericho.
7th September, 1814.
COPY OF THE ANSWER.
September 7, 1814
I HAVE the honor of acknowledging your note of this date, on the subject
of fixed ammunition, for the Volunteers. If
there is any at Vergennes, subject to my order, this letter may be considered as
a sufficient order for such part of the same as may be wanted.
I would inform you, that
agreeably to your suggestion, I enclosed, and sent by express, on Sunday
evening, to Gen. JOHN NEWELL, a copy of Gen. MACOMB’S letter, and strongly
recommended it to him, to use every exertion to procure such number of
Volunteers, from his brigade, as could be immediately induced to cross the Lake
to the assistance of the army at Plattsburgh.
I am, respectfully, your humble servant,
Col. Elias Fassett.
COPY OF A LETTER TO GEN. MACOMB.
Burlington, September 11, 1814
THE bearers, Amos W. Barnum, Esq. My Military Aid, and SAMUEL SWIFT, Esq.
Secretary to the Governor and Council of this State, will go to Plattsburgh for
the purpose, if practicable, of communicating with you, and of receiving any
information you may please to communicate, that we may know how to govern
ourselves, in endeavoring to furnish assistance.
They will communicate to me any necessary information you may give them
for this purpose.
I am, with high consideration, your humble servant,
COPY OF A LETTER FROM GEN. SAMUEL STRONG.
September 10, 1814.
I AM sorry to have it in my power to give you a correct statement of the
British force approaching this place. From
the best information I can obtain, which was from Gen. Moore, they are 8000, or
9000 strong, all regular troops, except a few.
Their artillery has not been made use of against us as yet, although it
is believed they have considerable. I
have been up the river, this morning, five or six miles, which was lined with
the enemy on the north side. They
have made several attempts to cross, but without success. This is the line that is to be defended.
I have ascertained, to a certainty, the number of Militia, from Vermont,
now on the ground, well armed is 1812-from New York 700.
regular troops under Gen. Macomb, he says, 2000.
He treated me very friendly. I
presume Doct. POMEROY gave you the particulars of the first interview we had.
We have strong expectations of 2000 detached Militia, ordered out by
General Mooers, arriving soon. He has written to Gov. TOMPKINS to send on the Militia, and
says, he expects him in person. I
hope you and our friends will send four or five thousand to our assistance as
soon as possible, if you should think best.
If not, we shall, if our courage holds out, keep close to them.
Do not, sir, let my wishes turn you from the correct principles you have
heretofore pursued, as Governor of Vermont.
Permit me, sir, to subscribe mtself, your friend and humble servant,
COPY OF A LETTER FROM THE SAME
September 11, 1814-Sunday, 7 o’clock, P.M.
We are now encamped, with two thousand five hundred Vermont Volunteers,
on the south bank of the Saranac river, opposite the enemy’s right wing, which
is commanded by Gen. Brisbane. We
have had the satisfaction to see the British fleet strike to our brave Com.
MACDONOUGH. The Fort was attacked
at the same time, the enemy attempting to cross the river at every place
fordable, for four miles up the river. But
they were foiled at every attempt, except at Pike’s encamped, where we now
are. The New-York Militia were
posted at this place, under Gens. Mooer and Wright.
They were forced to give back a few miles, until they were reinforced by
their artillery. The general
informed me of his situation, and wished for our assistance, which was readily
afforded. We met the enemy, and
drove him across the river, under cover of his artillery.
Our loss is trifling. We
look twenty of thirty prisoners. Their
number of killed is not known. We
have been skirmishing all day on the banks of the river. This is the only place he crossed, and he has paid dear for
that. I presume the enemy’s force
exceeds the number I wrote you. What
will be our fate to-morrow, I know not; but am willing to risqué the
consequence attending it-being convinced of the bravery and skill of my officers
and men. We are abundantly supplied
with ammunition and provisions, from Gen. Macomb.
I am, dear sir, yours, with esteem,
If God permits,
you shall hear from me again, soon.
COPY OF A LETTER FROM THE SAME
Vergennes, September 16, 1814
I RECEIVED your letter of the 14th inst. On my return at
Burlington, where I had the satisfaction of expressing your thanks to the
citizens who had turned out to repel our invading foe at Plattsburgh.
At the same time I was mortified to hear citizens of a government like
ours-where all officers are limited in their official powers, urging the
propriety of that power being exceeded in an unconstitutional and arbitrary
manner. We, as citizens, have
rights and privileges, that ought not, and I say, with thousands of others,
shall not, be infringed on. The
late invasion will convince our enemies, and our citizens at home, that our
freedom and liberties are not be taken by
force, or intrigue.
I wrote you on the 11th.
Nothing appealed to oppose us on the 12th, and we all left the
ground in harmony, returning to our families, except a few, who were killed or
wounded. If God be with us, who can
stand against us?
I am sir, your Excellency’s friend, and humble servant,
FROM THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
War Department, September 15, 1814
THE force under Gen. Macomb, being exposed to imminent danger, I have to
request your Excellency, to order to his aid, immediately, such a reinforcement,
not less than two thousand of the Militia of your State, as may be adequate to
The emergency is such, as to make it necessary that you call into
service, en masse, the Militia from the countries most convenient to the scene
The extravagant and pernicious views of the enemy, make it of the highest
importance, to the best interest and union of these States, that their career
should be checked.
It is in the power of your Excellency, with the means in your hands to
afford such aid as effectually to check it.
I rely on your patriotic zeal, to make the exertious necessary to the
I have the honor to be very respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant
COPY OF A LETTER FROM CH. J. NOURSE
Assist. Adj. Gen.
Burlington, Vermont, September 27, 1814
THE dispatch herewith would have been handed to your Excellency, at an
earlier day, but that the late glorious success of our Navy and Army in this
quarter, rendered it unnecessary.
I am directed by the Secretary of War, to present the thanks of the
General Government, through you, to the brave and patriotic citizens of your
State, for their prompt succor and gallant conduct in the fate critical state of
It is the wish of the Government, that two thousand of the Militia of
your State should be drafted and organized, for immediate service, subject to
the call, when necessary, of the commanding officer in this quarter.
There are arms at Montpellier, from which such as may be without, can be
I have the honor to be, air, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHS. J. NOURSE,
Assist. Adj. Gen.
Martin Chittenden, Gov. of Vermont
COPY OF A LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
Burlington, September 28, 1814
I HAVE the honor to acknowledge yours of the 15th inst. And
have the great satisfaction to inform you that every object contemplated in your
communication has been effected.
Volunteers to a much larger number, than that mentioned in your request,
turned out, and crossed the Lake to meet the enemy, without distinction of age,
character, or party, exhibiting a spirit and zeal for the defence of their
country, which reflects the highest honor on themselves and the country they
have signally aided in defending. The
glorious event of our success against a far
superior force, both by land and water, is of the highest importance to this
portion of the Union and cannot fail, so to be considered, in a national point
I have the honor to be, respectfully your humble servant,
Hon. James Monroe, Secretary of War.