Our Dying Troops: Quebec Mercury, January 12, 1813, page 13
Our Dying Troops.
The following is from a late Boston paper; and from information received through correct channels, there can be no doubt, but it is literally true. The mortality is shocking, and owing to causes, which need not exist.
The Army of the North.
By a gentleman from Burlington, in whose intelligence and veracity the utmost confidence may be placed, we are informed, that a most shocking mortality prevails among the troops stationed at that place. From five to twelve every day; and in twenty four hors, ending last Saturday, it was stated, twenty had died.—In the 14th regt, the most healthy of any, consisting of 670 men, 450 including officers, were returned absent and unfit for duty; of which number the absent formed but a small proportion. The whole number of troops at Burlington is supposed to be about 1000 or 1200.—Those at Plattsburgh are equally sickly.
As that mortality does not extend beyond the soldiery, its causes must be found in something peculiar to them. Indeed it is not difficult to account for it in an examination of their past campaign, and their present situation.—They encamped during their stay at Plattsburg, in a low wet plain; the campaign was protracted to a most unfavorable season; and in the late march to Champlain the soldiers were exposed ten days, during which they experienced very cold and stormy weather, poorly clad and without a tent to cover them. On their return to Burlington, these were many lodged in barracks, of which the plaistering was still wet, and where the rooms even of the sick were not supplied with fuel. Add to all this, the nsufficiency of the surgeons, and, we regret to say, inattention of some of the officers. It would seem scarcely credible, that the dead are thrown into a hole in the sand barely deep enough to admit of their being covered, with only a blanket round them, sometimes six or eight together We forbear to relate the many instances which were mentioned to our informant, of apparent inhumanity exhibited in this scene of distress. Only one shall be told by a serjeant on the spot. When the army marched from Plattsburg seven men belonging to his corps were left sick in the tents. Having occasion to return to the camp in three days after thesr march, he found five of the seven men dead, and from their situation, it was not doubted they perished through neglect.
The militia had been nearly all disbanded and dismissed without a cent of pay.—The sick were found in every tavern and dispersed on every road begging their way homeward.