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Otsego Herald

November 27, 2013

American failure


From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Nov. 27, 1813

Compiled, with comments


How Our Generals Quarreled

The campaign, on the St. Lawrence, from which so much has long, confidently, and reasonably expected, has ended far short of its object. ... The main army has taken post near St. Regis, for the winter; and ... the division under General Hampton is hutting on the Saranac.

The abrupt and unexpected termination is openly ascribed to a difference of opinion said to exist between the Generals, Wilkinson and Hampton, in relation to their place of junction. The former directed Hampton to unite with him at St. Regis—the latter thought a point lower down would be better, and took measures accordingly....

We will say nothing at present of the conduct of either of these generals. There are authorities to which they are amenable, and which will no doubt do justice in the case. Our regrets, however, are not the less—Had we got Montreal this campaign, the war was substantially at an end—and that the getting it was a practicable measure, is admitted on all hands. The enemy’s effective force there, regulars, fencibles [local troops] and voltigeurs [riflemen], did not exceed two thousand men. – Albany Argus.

COMMENT: The conduct of the two leading American Generals, James Wilkinson (1757-1825) and Wade Hampton (1752-1835) was widely condemned as incredibly stupid and cowardly.


It is with mingled emotions of regret and disappointment that we learn the operations of our Northern Army are suddenly suspended. We have indeed been led to believe that our brave countrymen were making a rapid advance upon Montreal, with a force sufficient to overpower the enemy and take possession of that important post.

If the [the cause of the suspension in] the statement [above], is true, how contemptible must the two Generals appear in the eyes of their fellow-citizens. ... Their conduct will be judged by the public at large, and we trust that that judgement will pronounce them unworthy to command, if they have suffered local or personal jealousies to interfere with the faithful discharge of the duties they owe to their country. ...

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