George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Philip Schuyler, 7 August 1776

To Major General Philip Schuyler

New York Augt 7th 1776.

Dear Sir

Before this I presume You have received a Letter from Congress inclosing sundry Resolutions of the 22, 23 & 24 Ulto among Which was One, Empowering their Commanders in Chief in every Department to Negociate an Exchange of Prisoners, upon the Plan there[i]n pointed out: There were two Others Mentioning the Case of Colo. Allen & the Persons taken with him.1

That the Views of Congress might be carried into Execution in these Instances as far as they could in this Department, & for the Enlargement of Mr Lovell whose Case lately have since mentioned,2 I wrote to General Howe, who has acceded to the several Propositions, I made him, as far as they came within the Extent of his Command. A Copy of my Letter & his Answer I have inclosed.3 By the Letter You will perceive, Prisoners made in Canada, are subject to General Carleton’s Determination & Pleasure. It is probable You have already wrote him upon the subject of an Exchange, But If You have not, I think You should propose It immediately both to him & General Burgoyne, & try to Obtain General Thompson for General Prescott,4 & Also One for the Other Officers & Men who are Prisoners in their Hands. Justice & a Regard to the Merit & Bravery of the Officers & Privates who were taken when General Montgomery unfortunately fell, require that Your Exertions should be directed to relieve their sufferings & procure their Enlargment among the first.

It may not be Improper to inform these two Gentlemen of what has passed between General Howe & Myself. Perhaps the Copies of our Letters will contribute in some Measure to facilitate the Work.

I was Yesterday Evening favoured with Your Letters of the 1st and 2d Instt, also with One from Mr Varrick.5

It is impossible to spare any Gunners or Mates from hence, our Posts being so extensive, that We are Obliged to draft upwards of six hundred Men from different Regiments to assist the Artillery. Colo. Knox informs Me You have four Companies of Gunners & Mattrosses at the Lakes as good as any here.6 You must draw What are Necessary from them & Other Parts of the Army. As to Seamen they are extremely difficult to procure, & I wish they may be got. As It is almost certain, they would not engage in the service, You want ’em for, Upon the Terms usually allowed here, There seems to have been a Necessity for Employing them on the best that can be had.

From Lt McMichels Report,7 Our Enemies seem determined to push Us on All Quarters. It is Nothing but what We may expect. Your Utmost Activity & Exertions must be employed to counteract their Designs & prevent their penetrating the Country. I hope fort stanwix ’ere long will be compleat & defensible against any Attack they can make, If they have any such Views. The Garrison should by all Means, have a proper Supply of Provision in Case It should be invested.

In Respect to the Articles in the List marked B in Mr Varrick’s Letter, All that can be procured here, are set down in the List subscribed by the Quarter Master General.8 As to the Cordage, lest a supply may not be Got in Connecticut, Mr Ivers has undertaken & will Immediately Set out for Poughkepsy in Order to Manufacture six or Eight Tons of Hemp he has there, into an Assortment of It, which will be forwarded to Albany, with all possible Dispatch, from thence.9 I hope the Other Necessaries will be Got by the Person sent to Connecticut & the Anchors &ca at the Forges Mr Varrick mentions. Captn Bacon sent in Pursuit of Seamen &ca by General Arnold is gone to Connecticut to see what he can procure, I advanced him Five hundred Pounds Lawfull, All the Money That was in the Paymasters Hands.10

Having represented to Congress the Expediency of Employing the Stockbridge Indians, as they are desirous of It, they have Authorized Me to do It, as You will see by the Inclosed Copy of their [Resolution passed the 2nd Inst., If Mr Edwards is at the Treaty you are now holding, Shew him the] Resolve11 & please to Inform him, That It is my Request, he should adopt the most Expeditious Mode of Raising them, Giving such of them that chuse It, Liberty to Join the Northern, & those that prefer Coming here, Leave to do It, In Case they incline to divide. If they do not, the whole may Go to which Army they please. Lest Mr Edwards should not be at the Treaty, I will try to write him by Another Opportunity to the same Effect.

Congress I see too, have ordered five hundred thousand Dollars to be sent Mr Trumbull for the Northern Army. I am hopeful they will be Attentive to the Necessary Supplies of Money in future.12

By two Deserters from the Enemy, just come to Head Quarters, We are informed General Clinton with his whole Army from the southward, Except three Companies, has arrived. they also add, That above One thousand13 of the Hessians have Got in; the Remainder Of the Foreign Troops they expect (about Eleven thousand) will be in, every Day. Those that have arrived, having parted with them in a Gale of Wind off the Banks of New Foundland.

Congress having resolved That Colo. Elmore’s Regiment should reinforce this Army, On the 1st Instt I wrote him, (supposing him in Connecticut, with his Regiment,) to repair here with all possible Expedition, But being informed that he is at Albany, with It or a great Part of It ’ere now, & fully Convinced, That he cannot be here in Time, to afford any Succour, I request that You will retain him & direct his Regiment to such Service as You may think necessary. I wrote him by this Opportunity, Countermanding my former Orders.14 I am Dr Sir, Yr most Obed. Servt

Go: Washington

LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; LB, DLC:GW; copy, NHi: Gates Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Hancock enclosed copies of these resolutions concerning prisoner exchanges in his letter to GW of 24 July and his letter to Schuyler of that same date, which is in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 4:533–34 (see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:599).

2The LB in DLC:GW reads “whose case they have since mentioned.” For Congress’s resolution of 24 July empowering GW to exchange Philip Skene for James Lovell, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:607.

4See also Congress’s resolution of 6 Aug. directing Schuyler to propose this particular exchange to General Burgoyne (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:633).

6At the end of this sentence, the LB in DLC:GW adds “which is a much greater proportion than we have.”

7For Edward McMichael’s intelligence report, see Schuyler to GW, 2 Aug., n.1.

8GW apparently is referring to the unidentified list of naval articles that he enclosed in his letter to Schuyler of 17 July (see note 9 to that document).

9This may be Thomas Ivers who was a rope maker in New York City in 1770 (New York Burghers and Freemen description begins The Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York. 1675–1866. New York, 1886. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 18. description ends , 231). For Ivers’s subsequent role in supplying rigging for two frigates under construction at Poughkeepsie, see the New York committee of safety to Augustine Lawrence and Samuel Tuder, 23 Nov., and Tuder to the New York convention, 9 Dec. 1776, in Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 7:253, 420. In 1779 Ivers contracted with the Continental quartermaster general to supply about fifteen tons of cordage (see Nathanael Greene to Udny Hay, 9 Jan. 1779, in Showman, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:152–54).

10On 6 Aug. GW gave Capt. William Bacon of Col. Elisha Porter’s regiment of Massachusetts militia a warrant for $1,666⅔ “to buy necessaries & Inlist Seamen for the Gallies on the Lakes” (Warrant Book no. 1, DLC:GW; see also GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 8 Aug.).

11The text within square brackets, which was inadvertently omitted in the LB in the Schuyler Papers, is taken from the LB in DLC:GW. For Congress’s resolution of 2 Aug. regarding the Stockbridge Indians, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:627. See also Hancock to GW, 2—c.6 Aug., and GW to Timothy Edwards, this date.

12Congress resolved on 2 Aug. to send $200,000 to Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., the deputy paymaster general of the northern department, and on 15 Aug. it resolved to send him another $500,000 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:627, 659).

13The LB in DLC:GW reads “about One thousand.”

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