David Campbell to Thomas Mann Randolph
|Dear Colonel,||Camp at the French Mills Nov 22d 1813.|
I received by Lieut McLaughlin your friendly letter of the 20th inst written from Malone. Immediately after you left me I heard from a Countryman that fifteen or twenty of our poor fellows were among the inhabitants in the Town of Mecaria and in the village of St Regis. I, without a moments delay, sent Ensign Lewis with a non Commissioned Officer & 2 priv after them and obtained the order of the Quarter M. Genl for him to hire as many horses as might be necessary for their conveyance to Malone. I also on yesterday morning started part of the sick for Malone and during the day sent them all off in detachments with directions to march so as to reach there to day. Lieut Blackwell preceeded them in the morning for the purpose of renting houses, procuring plank scantling &c and employing one or two master Carpenters who together with those we have in the volunteer Company and a few from the others I shall immediately employ in making bunks and erecting sheds for the complete accommodation of the whole detachment.
I have, since you left me, made frequent applications to the different Generals thro whom the command of the Army has passed down to Genl Brown, for leave to remove the whole of the Regt to Malone, but have not been able to succeed. The men fit for duty of Capt. Macraes and Randolphs Companies are ordered to remain here, on their present ground, without any final disposition of them and I am ordered to Mal[one] to take charge of the sick, whither I shall repai[r] [mor]ning or tomorrow [eve]ning.
Before I ever saw you, M[. . .] or came under [. . .] command I had formed the [. . .] opinion, of your character; and having some small knowledge of the world, I considered myself a second time, a most fortunate man, in being placed under one in whom I could perfectly rely. I must be permitted to say that during the short but severe Campaign, we have served together, my expectations have been fully realized. Feeling thus, I have frequently opened to you my mind without reserve and shall continue to do so.
It is true, that from the indisposition of the Regt I will have considerable labour imposed upon me, in getting them into comfortable winter Quarters; and after you left me and I began to reflect upon the subject, I was sorry that the Captains had been permitted to leave their Companies until those quarters had been prepared for them But as far as it respected yourself, I hope, my dear Sir, you have not for one moment supposed that I did not heartily approve of the course you had taken. Even admitting that I had the same claims for returning to Virginia, that you had; yet as you had granted me indulgences on the march out, which I could not have asked, it became my duty to take the labour off your hands in quartering the men.
When I left Virginia, it was with the my full determination of to remaining remain—with the Army until the close of the present Campaign, which I had no doubt would be prosperous and until I should finally decide to leave the Army altogether. Our failures and the opinion I entertain as to our future operations and prospects you know—They have discouraged me, and induced me to adopt the resolution of leavin[g t]he northern Army. I did not communicat[e] to you [my deter?]mination, but it was the cause of [. . .] perhaps [. . .]edly to you, shewing a wish to retur[n] [. . .] winter [. . .]th. To this determination I sha[. . .] as I am [. . .]ed, that this climate will destroy [. . .] constitution, and by remaining here I can render to the Country not a thing the smallest service.
That the Colo and Officers of the Artillery were selfish there can be no doubt—and he probably unfriendly—In some remarks of his I no doubt saw the cause—It is jealousy about promotion. I have not heard any remarks from them about the chain of sentries, and indeed I do not know what they could say as the arrangement was perfectly proper. I have succeeded in obtaining leave for the volunteers to return home after recruiting themselves for some weeks at Malone and receiving their pay.
I hope by the time this letter reaches you that you will have reached your home and once more be blessed with the presence of your affectionate and amiable family. When there do not forget me, but let me hear from you, and give me yo[ur] counse[l] and advice, at least until I shall be releived from my present responsibility.—And if from our short intimacy you have seen any thing in me worthy of your friendship, it will always be one of the greatest pleasures of my life to be considered your friend and to receive your communications.
P. S. Nov 23d Malone
I arrived here to day and [. . .] found the men scatered all along the road [. . .] no officers who pretend to do any thing [. . .] Glassel. I have written to Genl Bloomfield to [. . .]aptains. I will soon have the men comfortable [. . .]