George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Edward Hand, 10 November 1778

From Brigadier General Edward Hand

Albany [N.Y.] 10th Novr 1778


On the 2d Inst. I set out from this place on a Visit to the posts on The Western Frontier, in order to satisfy myself fully as to their Situation and Supplies At 12 OClock on the Night of the 7th I received the Inclos’d Intelligence from Fort Schuyler, at Cherry Valley,1 if the Acct be true it is alarming, as Cherry Valley & Schoharry are very Scantily supplied with Provision & Amunition yet hope to be Able to make, the Necessary Provision in time, a Number of Parties are out from Schoharry, Cherry Valley & Connyiharry2 to make discoveries, I waited on the Comg Officer of the Millitia of Trion County3 who promised to Reinforce Col. Alden with 200 Millitia & to collect a Body at Connyiharry to Act Occasionally. The Commanding Officer of the Millitia of Albany County 4 has Ordered a Reinforcement to Schoharry, and Stores are now on the way from Senectaday and this place for Cherry Valley & Schoharry, the Enemys Rout must be within 25 or 30 Miles of Schoharry, so that Col. Butler must undoubtedly get in their Rear, if he does not find himself strong enough to Attack them in Front, have Ordered Col. Vanscaiks Regt to proceed as expeditiously as possible to Connyiharry from whence it is but 12 Miles to Cherry Valley. if the discoveries made before my Return which will be tomorrow warrent it, shall detain them, the more effectually to secure a warm Reception for the Enemy.

Your Excellency will likewise receive enclosed the Coppy of a Letter Received from Fort Edward Respecting the Appearance of an Enemy at or near Crown Point,5 their Numbers are trifling, and only meant as a Diversion if an Attack from Tioga be intended—Measures are taken to prevent their being Able to effect anything of much Consequence, on the Night of the 2d two men were taken & an House & Barn Burnt, near Johnstown, three of the Perpetrators of this Villany are known.

There are a Serjt and 10 Privates of Col. Aldens Regt at West point if your Excellency thinks proper will be obliged to you to Order them to the Regt. I enclose a Return of the Continental Troops in this Department6 & am with much Respect Your Excelly most Obedt Humble Servant

Edwd Hand

ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), WHi: Draper Collection.

1The enclosed copy of a letter from Col. Peter Gansevoort to Col. Ichabod Allen, dated 6 Nov. at Fort Schuyler, N.Y., where Gansevoort was in command, reads: “We were just informed by an Onyda Indian, that Yesterday an Onendago Indian had Arrived at their Castle from one of the Branches of the Susquehanna called the Tioga, that he was present at a great Meeting of Indians & Tories, at that place, and the Result of their Council was to Attack Cherry Valley, and that Young Butler was to head the Tories.

“I send this Information that you may make some preparation for their Reception. . . . P.S. it is expected that you will be attacked very soon” (DLC:GW). The feared attack came on 11 Nov.; see Hand to GW, 13 November.

2The Mohawk River settlement of Canajoharie was located about twelve miles northeast of Cherry Valley, N.Y.

3Since the death of Brig. Gen. Nicholas Herkimer in August 1777, Col. Jacob Klock of the 2d Regiment of Tryon County militia had taken de facto command of the militia from that county.

4Brig. Gen. Abraham Ten Broeck commanded the Albany County militia at this time.

5The enclosed copy of a letter from Capt. Simeon Smith to Hand, dated 5 Nov. at Fort Stark, N.H., where Smith was in command, reads: “This Moment Arived a person who was taken the 1st Inst. and carried to Crown Point, whear there was an Incampment of the Enemy (as he says) of three or four Hundred, and determined for three Different Routs, one to Otter Creek and one to Skeensborough, and one to this place—Supposed to Distress the Inhabitants.

“I have sent out three different Scouts, and if from them I receive any thing Meterial shall give your Honour the earliest Intelligence. “I have wrote to the Colonels of the Millitia at Saratoga and White Creek, to hold themselves in readiness, agreable to Genl Starks Orders.

“Sir I wate your Honours further Orders” (DLC:GW).

6The enclosed return has not been identified.

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