John M. O’Connor to Thomas Mann Randolph

My dear Colonel,

I seize the first leisure, to enjoy the pleasure and honor of writing to you; to assure you of my unchangeable esteem & to offer you my wishes for a happy meeting with your friends & family.

I hope you will have got on without much inconvenience, notwithstanding the bad roads & bad weather and that our General may find “les intriguans” awed either by a good cause, or great & virtuous talents. In the present incipient state of the public opinions & the well concealed efforts of the leaders, it is difficult with precision to ascertain the movements of the S— by the assertions of his friends & party. Since your departure nothing has taken place to alter the opinions then formed; I think it probable, that whatever might have been their original designs, they will undergo a great modification when they come to learn the fame & reputation of the Generals among their Troops, and the number of effectives & their quality, that were opposed to a superior regular force aided by a hordes of Militia. Should either one be assailed, a development of facts will take place, which it is the interest of all to prevent, and repair the damages & injuries sustained.—

General Armstrong has not yet arrived in Town; Major Lee is still here waiting his arrival, with an intention of getting orders for Carolina.

The news from abroad is, that the french Imperial Cause still fluctuates between Victory & defeat and that the worsted Legions of France have been thrust back upon the Weser: the mighty conflict must soon for a short time cease, as the approach of winter & the already debilitated state of both Armies weakened by sharp & bloody conflicts battles & excessive privations and fatigues, calls for repose. I think that by next June the affair will be decided most probably in favor of France, her resources will be at hand while those of the Allies are far removed from the present Theatre of action. The Allies will be much weakened by detachments necessary to observe the Garrisons that France will leave in every Fortress between the Oder & the Weser. From the Fortifications which were raised last spring at Konigstein Torgau, Havel & Hamburg, on the Elbe, it is evident as well as at Erfurth &c &c. it is very evident that Napoleon found a reverse of fortune and provided against it—

I am sorry to learn that the Recruiting goes on slowly: it will be utterly impossible to effect any lasting impression on the Enemy unless the ranks are filled by draughts from the Militia: You are near the Cabinet & as a Military man, an American & a patriot, you should impress this fact on their minds The Con Maxim must be—a Conscription & Canada, or No Conscription, No Canada. One Conscription will conquer both Provinces with little Expence of either blood or treasure & thus produce immediate peace. Otherwise the War will continue & the Nation be disgraced.—Nothing will do but a Conscription—

You were good enough to offer me y’r influence and friendly offices at Washington in an to further my views: they are this, I wish the appointment of Assistant Adjutant G[ener]al or Assist Inspector General, I prefer the former; in both capacities I have acted in a division of 4000 men at Sacketts Hr, discharging the whole duty of the Staff at the same time for nearly 3 2 months, of course am acquainted with the respective functions.—There are many vacancies & if I am appointed I wish to be assigned to the active Army & to the division or force that Majr Genl Hampton will Command next spring. From the flattering notice which the General bestowed on me I am sure he would be gratified to have in having an opportunity of obliging me, you may if you please explain to him my wishes. As I put no trust in the zeal of my acquaintances in Congress I shall make no application, leaving the accomplishment of my wishes to yr friendly offices & those of the Majr General. If you think it expedient & necessary to my success I will proceed to Washington at I shall therefore await your opinion & the prospect that opens upon us—

To the General remember me most respectfully & sincerely; I shall write him next Mail. Present my regards to Captain Randolph & be assured of the devotion & friendship of yours respectfully

J M OConnor
RC (MHi); torn at seal; addressed: “Colonel T M Randolph Comm’d of 20 Regt Infantry. Washington City”; in an unknown hand: “Washington City Milton V”; stamped; postmarked New York 6 Dec. and Washington, DC, 28 Dec.; endorsed by Randolph: “J. M. O.Connor: Dec. 5. 1812 1813”; with note by Randolph at top of first page: “Recd Jan. 10. 14.”
John M. O'Connor
Date Range
December 5, 1813