George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Israel Putnam, 19 June 1777

From Major General Israel Putnam

Peekskill [N.Y.] 19th June 1777

Dear Genl

I recd your Favour of 17th Inst. last Evening. I have dispatched Expresses to Govr Trumbull Col. Sheldon and Col. Chandler, respecting the sending forward the Troops as fast as raised, and properly Officered, in which last particular there has been much Neglect.

Cloathing has not yet arrived, I have sent an Express to Genl Schuyler, as you direct—Mr Young, (the Clothier sent for this Department,) is gone himself in Quest of the Cloathing expected from the Eastward.

What Men can be equipt, have crossed the River Genl McDougall will proceed with them tomorrow.

Great Part of Genl Glovers Brigade are so illy cloathed that they cannot possibly march, such as are able will be selected out and begin to cross the River Tomorrow—the Remainder will be detained under proper Officers till they can be sufficiently cloathed.

Parson’s and McDougall’s Brigades have a supply of Tents—What Troops are to remain at these Posts shall be put in Houses Barracks or Huts and all their Tents given to Glover’s Brigade, that there may be no Difficulty on this Account.

The increasing Necessity for Troops, and Inconvenience of the Season have induced me to put a final Stop to Inoculation in this Department, most of those who now have it, will be very soon fit for Duty, the Country with Care may be kept clear of the Infection and many of the Troops yet to have it are for the eight Month Service.

An Order has been issued for the Removal of the large Magazines of Provision from Fishkill, to some Place 20 Miles West of the Hudson, which Genl Clinton should point out—he has declined fixing on any Spot, on account of the Difficulty and Expence which will attend the Exportation, thro’ so broken a Country as that directed to the Uncertainty of drawing Supplies from such a Place (if fixed on) arising from the Scarcity of Teams—and the Insecurity of the Country unless strongly guarded—From these Reasons and the present apparent Intentions of the Enemy, I beg to know whether it will be thought unsafe, for the Provisions &c. to remain at Fishkill till other Movements render their Removal more necessary than appears to me at present.1

Our Boom is in some forwardness—most of the Logs are at the Spot and many Hands at work at the Chain which is to couple the Logs—it will be a Work of Time and much Expence.2 I am Dear Sir with great Respect your mo. Obt hume Servt

Israel Putnam


1Commissary Gen. Joseph Trumbull ordered the removal of the magazines from Fishkill, N.Y., in early June (see Henry Schenk to Clinton, 10 June 1777, 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 , 2:11), and they were stored temporaily at Newburgh (see Hugh Hughes to Clinton, 13, 16 June, and Andrew Taylor to Clinton, 18 June, ibid., 29–30, 34–35, 38–39). GW on 20 May had delegated to Brig. Gen. George Clinton the task of finding a suitable location for provision magazines on the west side of the Hudson River in lower Ulster County, N.Y. (see GW to Alexander McDougall, that date), but Clinton apparently was not apprised of the fact until early July (see Clinton to Andrew Taylor, 3 July, ibid., 73). When the oversight was discovered, Clinton ordered Col. William Malcom to look for a place on the west side of the Wallkill River “where there are Barns most convenient for stores, and where the Country is most defencible, any where between Ward and the new Hurly Bridge” (ibid.). Malcom settled on a farm in the Wallkill Valley about “six miles up the River from Wards bridge—perhaps about 20 miles or more from Hudsons & 30 miles by the Minisinck road to the Delaware River” (Malcom to Clinton, 5 July, ibid., 76), and Clinton approved of the location (see Clinton to Andrew Taylor, 6 July, ibid., 77).

2American efforts to obstruct the navigation of the Hudson River at Fort Montgomery apparently were completed during the second week of July 1777 (see Putnam to GW, 28 June, GW to Putnam, 30 June–1 July, George Clinton to Putnam, 9 July, ibid., 92–93, and Clinton to GW, 11 July).

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