American Presidents





William Henry Harrison
Letters

William Henry Harrison


In the following letter, Brigadier General Harrison writes to General Thomas H. Cushing from Camp Meigs, Ohio during the War of 1812.

Head Quarters Camp Meigs [Ohio] 24th. April 1813.

Dear Sir

No less than 3 of my Children have lost for ever as I beleive the Sight of an Eye--The efforts to [releive?] them Could only promise Success under my personal Care
I have received in the Course of the Winter Several Short official letters from you--which did not require a particular Answer--I have however almost weekly formed the determination of writing to you but as there was no absolute necessity for doing it by one mail More than another it has like many other good resolutions which I have made in the Course of my life been put off until the present moment- In a letter which I received from the Secy. of War (John Armstrong] 3 days ago he says that no returns have been made to your [Adjutant General's] office from this Army--this was certainly a mistake two monthly Returns were forwarded--In my last letter to the Secretary I explained the Causes which prevented them from being Sent More regularly. Major [Nathaniel F.] Adams is at Cincinnati when he [arrives?] the orders on this subject Shall be strictly attended to. But why are weekly returns required? it appears to be that it will be impossible to procure them from the several posts oftener than once a month! Will you write to Me on this Subject as Soon as your Convenience will permit?

I have been in daily expectation of an attack from the British & Indians Since my arrival here on the 12th. I am fearful that they have abandoned the Idea of attempting it altho I know that General Proctor [Henry Procter] declared that he would take this post or perish in the attempt--I am not without apprehensions for Some of my deposits in the rear. I have however taken every Means in my power for their Security--Lower Sandusky [Ohio] Must fall if attacked I have therefore ordered it to be evacuated if the enemy land a force for that purpose which from its position Can be easily ascertained.

The Secretary of War thinks of Crossing the troops over the lowest part of Lake Erie in Open boats--You have been Some time at Detroit do you not Consider it extremely hazardous? Above Sandusky Bay along the Chain of Islands it may be practicable.

The Secretary Mentions in a late letter to Me that he had assigned me my proportion of the Staff & then adds Captn. Adams is appointed Asst. Adjt. Genl. & Mr. Bartlett [John C. Bartlet] Dy Qr Master Genl. Am I to have no Inspector or Adjt Genl? This Army Certainly requires a larger proportion of Staff than any other because the officers are all inexperienced & the Men will be brought into the field before they have been taught the first principles of their duty--I Shall write to the Secretary on this subject & will thank you for any Aid you may give in supporting my application for a further allowance of Staff officers.

I left Cincinnati on the 1st. Inst. I was there but a few days & had not Seen my family for Seven months during the greater part of which they had laboured under aflictions which Are perhaps without a parrallel--No less than 3 of my Children have lost for ever as I beleive the Sight of an Eye--The efforts to [releive?] them Could only promise Success under my personal Care my wife as you know having a Very delicate Constitution & at present almost Sinking under the weight of Care which the almost Universal Sickness of her large family imposes--I had ordered Genl [Duncan] McArthur to Come on here supposing it possible for Me to Spare a few days After it Shall be ascertained that our friends at [Fort] Malden [Upper Canada, now Ontario) have given up their intentions of offensive operations--A letter from Genl. McArthur received to day informs Me that the Secy of War had directed him to remain where he is? Surely one Brigadier would be Sufficient to Superintend the Recruiting Service--No private Consideration Should draw Me from the advance posts as long as there was a probability of my being More useful there than in the interior. I Am persuaded however that I Could be More Serviceable as Soon as the above Mentioned alarm of attack Subsides in attending to the raising & organising the new Regts. than I Can possibly be at any one of the posts. In a letter received Some time Since from the Secy. he says that I would receive instructions from your office on the Subject of the organization of those Regts &c--but I have not yet received them--Nor do I know who the officers of my Devision are Genls. Mc.Arthur & [Lewis] Cass excepted of the new appointments--It is Said that Genl. [Benjamin] Howard is to Command on the Upper Mississippi [River] Is he to be within my [Eighth Military] District & yet not report to Me?

You See my Dear Sir I take the priviledge of an old friend in writing to you without reserve Will you do the Same with Me? I Should derive great pleasure & advantage from it & be assured that the frie[n]dship which existed between us almost from the hour of our acquaintance has never Ceased to exist in my breast during our long Seperation

I am Dr Sir yours Most

Sincerely


Willm Henry Harrison

P.S. Can you inform Me how it is intended that the newly appointed Major Generals shall rank--Genl. [James] Wilkinson will of Course be first--Genl. T[homas] H Cushing

[The above letter is reproduced exactly as written and was obtained through the Indiana Historical Society]


Created by America's Cable Companies.