George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 1 October 1776

From Brigadier General James Clinton

Fort Montgomery [N.Y.]
Octr 1st 1776

May it Please Your Ex[c]ellency

Inclos’d you have a Copy of a Letter and a Deposition sent to Me By the Chairman of the Committee of New-Windsor[.]1 the Prisoners Mention’d in the Deposition are both Confined in the Guard-House at fort Constitution And their Butter put in the Commissary’s Store & I have ordered an Exact account of the Quantity of Butter taken to be sent to me, But I have not yet receiv’d it. I Understand there is between 50 And 60 Firkins And Pails[.] it Appears that the said Connor has a Quantity of Flower in Collo. Ellison’s store, at New Windsor.2 But I have not heard how much. their Conduct has been very Suspicious ever since they Came in the Country tho’ the Evidence given against Connor is only what Montgomery inform’d the said Lightbody, if I were Convinc’d or had reason to beleive that the Butter &c. Was intended for Our Army at Kingsbridge I would be very unwilling to stop it. tho’ in my opinion it was intended for our Enemy’s I intend to keep them and the Butter untill I receive your Excellencys Directions about the Matter. Coll Snider who was appointed Coll of the New Recruits to assist in fortifying and Defending these Posts is lately Arriv’d here with part of three Company’s which Consists of about an Hundred Men including officers[.] there is part of Two Companys of the same Regiment at Fort-Constitution but I have no return of their Number as yet3—We have not a Sufficient number of entrenching Tools for to Carry on our Work[.] I have apply’d to Congress for them but I am not yet Supply’d. I am your Excellencys Most Obt Humble Servt

James Clinton Brigdr Gen.


1The enclosed deposition, which was made before the New Windsor committee of safety on 23 Sept., has not been identified. The committee’s covering letter of that date, which is addressed to GW and signed by Samuel Brewester as chairman, is in DLC:GW. The committee writes that it had decided to send GW “the Culprits with their property in order to be dispos’d of as you may Judge Proper. Mr Connor Alledges in his Favour that he hath for some time Past sold necessaries to our army in New York, And that he intented what he now possesses should be dispos’d of in the same way. But as Mr Connor purchas’d the Butter after he heard that our People evacuated the Town, And the ships of War hath proceeded some way up the North River the Committee was of opinion that he might design it for the enemy, as he Confess’d that he did design to stay in Town till the Regulars was on his back. It farther appear’d to the Committe that Montgomery sold a Quantity of Butter to Connor after he had heard said Connor Make the declarition as recited in the above Affadavit. By which the Committee are of opinion that Montgomery is Highly Culpable. . . . P.S. Since the Committee determin’d on the above, They receiv’d information that Connor hath a Qty of Flower in Coll Ellisons Store which they have not determin’d Concerning at present.”

2This store apparently was owned by Thomas Ellison of New Windsor, who had been colonel of the 2d Regiment of Ulster County militia during the French and Indian War. Although Ellison was reported in September 1779 to be “dangerously ill” and about to die, he apparently recovered (see Margaret Crooke to George Clinton, 15 Sept., and Clinton to Crooke, 24 Sept. 1779, in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 5:280–81).

3Johannes Snyder (1720–1794) of Ulster County was appointed by the New York convention on 7 Sept. to be colonel of the 600 militia levies that were to be raised in Ulster, Orange, Albany, and Dutchess counties to reinforce forts Constitution and Montgomery for two months (see N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:613–14). Commissioned major of the 1st Regiment of Ulster County militia in October 1775, Snyder was promoted to lieutenant colonel of that regiment in February 1776 and became its colonel in May 1776. During May he also was named a delegate to the provincial congress, and in 1777 he became a member of the state council of safety and the general assembly. Snyder served in the assembly until 1779 and as a militia colonel until the end of the war.

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