PORTER TO MEIGS
Detroit July 28th. 1812
I have a Contract with the Government of the United States for the supply of all Rations which may be required by the Army at chicago, Michi- llimakinac, Fort Wayne and this place, and also all other places in the State of Ohio and Indiana Territory north of the 41st Degree of Latitude, and also in the Territory of Michigan.
This Contract was entered into by me in time, and with a view to a State of peace, and with an expectation that the Supplies might be furnish- ed as they have heretofore been, and transported in Vessels over the Lakes.
Previous to the declaration of War I had made large purchases of provisions along the shores of Lake Erie with the States of Ohio & Pensyl- vania and had Just commenced removing them to this place when War declared, the Navigation of that Lake is not shut against us by the Enemy, and of course, it is impossible for me to furnish the Army by water, There then remains no other means than to forward Supplies from the State of Ohio through the Wilderness for 150 or 200 miles, where the Roads are So bad that it is almost impossible for Waggons to travel and where no doubt the cheapest mode will be to transport by Packing on horses, In addition to these embarrassments, is that, of the hostile disposition of the Savages, who are daily committing depredations on Travellers on this route and will no doubt do all in their power to prevent Supplies from passing.
Under these circumstances you will See at once Sir that the efforts of an individual can produce but little effect, and that nothing Short of the energies of Government can furnish the necessary Supplies.
I Some time ago wrote to the Secretary of War on this Subject, and re- quested that he would devise means to overcome these difficulties, but have not received his answer.
Understanding that General Hull was about to addressyou on the Subject of an additional force to his Army and Supplies for that, and the force al- ready here, I am induced to make this communication.
There is one circumstance relating to these Supplies which I will men- tion, that is that the Army which came on with General Hull very soon after their arrival passed into Canada without the limits of my Contract, but notwithstanding have been Supplied by me, Since, as matter of necessity should an additional force come on I conclude they would also pass into Canada,,and of course placed out of the reach of any Government Contract for supplies.
I leave this tomorrow to proceed Eastward along the South Shore of Lake Erie with a view of sending on Some Supplies in Boats from New Connecticut but the Success of this attempt must be doubtfull and not to be relied on. I should wish that your Excellency might adopt Such mea- sures to furnish Supplies as your better Judgement may direct without con- sidering me as the Contractor.
I am Sir with great respect Your Obedient Servant
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