George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Israel Putnam, 30 June 1777

From Major General Israel Putnam

Peekskill [N.Y.] 30th June 1777

Dear Genl

In Consequence of Letters just received from the Northward,1 I have ordered Genl Nixon to embark his Brigade with their Baggage & on Board the Transports prepared for that Purpose; I have been collecting Shallops, and believe there are sufficient Number, if not, there will be, before the Brigade can be in Readiness or can receive your Orders for March, which I shall expect the Return of the Express.

I herewith transmit you Copies of the Letters alluded to, least those sent you by Genl Schuyler may by any Accident have been detained.

I have not the Honour of any Letter from you since of the 25th. I am Sir with the utmost Respect your mo. Obt Servt

Israel Putnam

I wrote you in a former Letter that the Ship Montgomery was at the Chain,2 she has not the Complement of Guns, nor can I get any for the other Ship, I have sent two Expresses to Govr Trumbull on this Subject.3 The following is Part of a Letter received since sealing the above in Answer to mine, “I wish it were in my Power to furnish the Cannon requested; altho the Furnace hath been in Blast some Weeks, those already cast are only 6 Pds not bored, the 12 Prs now casting are engaged for the Ship Trumbull, so cannot at present give any Encouragement to supply you.”

I know of no possible Way left but to dismantle the Forts, The Guns wanted are 12 & 18 Prs.



1Putnam is referring to the intelligence that Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler enclosed in his letter to GW of 28 June 1777.

2A council of general officers meeting at Peekskill, N.Y., on 17 May 1777 recommended that the Continental navy frigates at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Montgomery and Congress, be outfitted to aid in protecting the Hudson River obstructions at Fort Montgomery (see the council to GW, 17 May 1777), and Putnam ordered the frigates to Fort Montgomery in late May (see Putnam to GW, 30 May 1777, and George Clinton to Pierre Van Cortlandt, 5 June 1777, in 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 , 9:24). The vessels apparently arrived at Fort Montgomery during the third week of June (see Clinton to Putnam, 15 June 1777, ibid., 118). The Continental navy frigate Montgomery is not mentioned by name in any of Putnam’s letters to GW, however.

3One of Putnam’s letters to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., was written on 21 June 1777 and reads in part: “You are perhaps acquainted that a chain is thrown across this River; for the defence of this chain and the farther security of the river, his Excely Genl Washington has ordered the ships and gallies to be stationed at the chain whenever they were compleated. One of the ships is brought down; but to complete her we were reduced to the sad necessity of taking guns from the forts. How we shall furnish the other ship I know not. The Salisbury furnace I am informed is now in blast, and the guns they are casting of exactly the same dimensions with those we had for the ships last fall. If you can direct me the method to obtain these guns for the use above mentioned, it would be rendring the public an eminent service; and no pains shall be spared on my part to secure them without delay” (Trumbull Papers description begins The Trumbull Papers. 4 vols. Boston, 1885-1902. In Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 5th ser., vols. 9–10; 7th ser., vols. 2–3. description ends , pt. 3, p. 60).

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