From the Continental Congress Evacuation Committee
York Town [Pa.] 7th February 1778
The Committee appointed on the 27th of August 1777 to collect evidence of the State of the Army in the Northern department & also the State of the Troops Military Stores & provisions at the Posts of Tyconderoga & Mount Independence before & at the time when the evacuation was determined upon—In obedience to an order of Congress of the 5th Inst. Copy of which will be transmitted by the President, now forward to Your Excellency in one Packet, an Orderly Book & two parcels of Papers which together with the Orderly Book, contain all the evidence the Committee have been hitherto able to collect.1
Your Excellency will be pleased to give timely Notice to the Gentlemen who are appointed to assist the Judge Advocate in conducting the Trial.2 We are Sir Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servants—By desire of the Committee
Henry Laurens, one of the Members
2. The committee appointed on 27 Aug. 1777 to investigate the causes of the evacuation of Forts Ticonderoga and Independence in July 1777 consisted of Laurens, John Adams, and Richard Henry Lee (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 , 8:683–86, 688; see also John Hancock to GW, 1 Sept. 1777). In a resolution of 5 Feb. 1778 that Laurens sent to GW in a separate letter on this date, Congress ordered “That the committee be directed to transmit the evidence by them collected to General Washington, and that he be authorized and directed to appoint a court martial for the trial of the general officers who were in the northern department when Ticonderoga and Mount Independence were evacuated, agreeable to the rules and articles of war” (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 , 10:125; see also Henry Laurens to GW, 18 Feb.). GW acknowledged receipt of Laurens’s letter of 7 Feb. in his reply of 8–14 Feb., but in another letter to Laurens on 27 Feb., GW wrote that he had decided not to appoint a court-martial because of the absence of “particular charges against the Officers, who are to be the Objects of the trial.” Congress appointed a new committee of investigation on 29 April (see ibid., 403). Major generals Arthur St. Clair and Philip Schuyler were brought to trial and acquitted in September and October 1778.