July 10


The Committee to whom the Cartel between Brigadier-General Arnold and Captain Forster, and the several papers thereto relating, were recommitted, brought in their Report, which, was read, as follows:

That, having made diligent inquiry into the facts, they find that a party of three hundred and ninety Continental troops, under the command of Colonel Bedel, was posted at the Cedars, about forty-three miles above Montreal; that they had there formed some works of defence, the greater part of them picketed lines, the rest a breastwork of earth, with two field-pieces mounted:

That on Wednesday, the 15th of May, Colonel Bedel received intelligence that a party of the enemy, consisting of about six hundred Regulars, Canadians, and Indians, were on their way to attack his post, and were then within nine miles of it; that Colonel Bedel thereon set out himself for Montreal, to procure a reinforcement; whereupon, the command of the Cedars devolved on Major Butterfield:

That on Thursday, a reinforcement, under the command of Major Sherburne, marched from Montreal for the Cedars, while a larger detachment should be getting ready to proceed thither with Brigadier-General Arnold:

That on Friday, the 17th, the enemy, under the command of Captain Forster, invested the post at the Cedars, and for two days kept up a loose, scattering fire; that Major Butterfield proposed, from the very first, to surrender the post, and refused repeated solicitations from his officers and men to permit them to sally out on the enemy:


That on Sunday afternoon, a flag being sent in by the enemy, Major Butterfield agreed to surrender the fort and garrison to Captain Forster, capitulating with him, whether verbally or in writing does not appear, that the garrison should not be put into the hands of the Savages, and that their baggage should not be plundered:

That at the time of the surrender, the enemy consisted of about forty Regulars, one hundred Canadians, and five hundred Indians, and no cannon; the garrison had sustained no injury from their fire, but the having one man wounded; they had twenty rounds of cartridges a man, thirty rounds for one field-piece, five for another, half a barrel of gunpowder, fifteen pounds of musket-ball, and provisions sufficient to have lasted them twenty or thirty days: Major Butterfield knew that a reinforcement was on its way, and moreover, was so near the main body of the army that he could not doubt of being supported by that:

That immediately on the surrender, the garrison was put into the custody of the Savages, who plundered them of their baggage, and even stripped them of their clothes:

That Major Sherburne, having landed on Monday, the 20th, at Quinze Chenes, about nine miles from the Cedars, and marched on with his party, consisting then of one hundred men, to within four miles thereof, was there attacked by about five hundred of the enemy: that he maintained his ground about an hour, and then, being constrained to retreat, performed the same in good order, receiving and returning a constant fire for about forty minutes, when the enemy, finding-means to post advanced parties in such a manner as to intercept his farther retreat, they also were made prisoners of war:

That they were immediately put into the custody of the Savages, carried to where Major Butterfield and his party were, and stripped of their baggage and wearing apparel:

That two of them were put to death that evening, four or five others at different times afterwards, one of whom was of those who surrendered on capitulation at the Cedars, and was killed on the eighth day after that surrender; that one was first shot, and, while retaining life and sensation, was roasted, as was related by his companion now in possession of the Savages, who himself saw the fact; and that several others, being worn down by famine and cruelty, were left exposed in an island naked, and perishing with cold and hunger:

That while Major Sherburne was in custody of the enemy, Captain Forster required of him and the other officers to sign a cartel, stipulating the exchange of themselves and their men for as many of equal condition of the British troops in our possession; further, that notwithstanding the exchange, neither themselves nor men should ever again bear arms against the British Government; and for the performance of this, four hostages were to be delivered, which they, being under the absolute power of the enemy, did sign:

That on Sunday, the 26th, the prisoners were carried to Quinze Chenes, when it was discovered that General Arnold was approaching, and making dispositions to attack them:

That Captain Forster, having desired Major Sherburne to attend a flag, which he was about to send to General Arnold, for confirmation of the cartel, carried him into the council of Indians, then sitting, who told him that it was a mercy never before shown in their wars, that they had put to death so few of the prisoners; but that he must expect, and so inform General Arnold, that they should certainly kill every man who should thereafter fall into their hands:

That Captain Forster joined in desiring that this bloody message should be delivered to General Arnold; and moreover, that he should be notified, that if he rejected the cartel, and attacked him, every man of the prisoners would be put to instant death:

That General Arnold was extremely averse from entering into any agreement, and was at length induced to do it by no other motive than that of saving the prisoners from cruel and inhuman death, threatened in such terms as left no doubt it was to be perpetrated, and that he did in the end conclude it, after several flags received from Captain Forster, and a relinquishment by him of the unequal article restraining our soldiers from again bearing arms:

That the prisoners, so stipulated to be given up to the enemy, were not in the possession of General Arnold, nor under his direction, but were, at that time, distributed in various parts of the Continent, under the orders of this House:


That four hostages were accordingly delivered to Captain Forster, who were immediately plundered and stripped by the Savages; and on his part were delivered one Major, four Captains, sixteen Subalterns, and three hundred and fifty-five Privates, as specified in a certificate of Captain James Osgood and others, of whom no specification by their names or numbers has yet been transmitted; that he retained twelve Canadians, alleging, in his justification, express orders so to do; and that, living in a military Government, they were to be considered even in a worse light than deserters from his Majesty' s armies; these he carried away in irons, but afterwards released: that he permitted the Indians to carry into their countries several other natives of the United States, for purposes unknown:

That, during the time of their captivity, not half food was allowed the prisoners; they were continually insulted, buffeted, and ill treated by the Savages; and when the first parties of them were carried off from the shore to be delivered to General Arnold, balls of mud were fired at them, and at the last parties, musket balls.