George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 23 May 1779

From Brigadier General James Clinton

Albany May 23rd 1779


Your Excellency’s Letter of the 9th instant with one for Col. V. Schaick hath been received yesterday—Mr Mitchell the Quarter Master at New Borough thought proper to enclose them all under Cover to Genl Schuyler, who was then at Saratoga, where they were sent, after lying in Albany some time—this Circuit was the Occasion of the Delay of which I informed your Excellency.1

As there are two light three Pounders at Fort Schuyler, which were taken during the Siege,2 & which are portable, I purpose to take them with me, leaving the Brigade Artillery at the Fort to supply their place, unless I shoud recive your Excellency’s Orders to the contrary.

There is now in this City an eight inch Mortar, which was found up at Saratoga, and brought down by a certain Mr Clute, whom I ordered one hundred Dollars for his Trouble; it shall be sent where ever your Excellency may think proper.

The onondoga Prisoners with a few other Prisoners of war are confined in this City—I have discouvered that there is a certain Major Wright of Col. Peters’s Corps, who was taken with a Permit from Genl Powell, dated Montreal April 23d 1778,3 as also four or five other Officers, some as high as Captains, who are out on Parole, I woud be glad to know what is to be done with them, as I do not conceive them to be safe after I march.4 I am with great regard Your Excel’s humble Servt

James Clinton B. Genl


2Clinton is referring to the unsuccessful British siege of Fort Schuyler in August 1777; see Horatio Gates to GW, 28 Aug. 1777, and n.1 to that document.

3Zadock Wright of Hartford, Vt., was commissioned major of Lt. Col. John Peters’s Queen’s Loyal Rangers in 1777, and was captured in the spring of 1778 while scouting near Albany. He was placed on parole in Albany in December of that year and remained a prisoner on parole as late as the spring of 1781.

Henry Watson Powell (1733–1814) began his military career in March 1753, when he was commissioned a lieutenant in the 46th Regiment of Foot. He was promoted to captain in September 1756 and to major in June 1770, serving successively in the 11th, 64th, and 38th Regiments of Foot, and in July 1771 he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 53d Regiment of Foot. Powell was appointed brigadier general in Canada in June 1776, and he accompanied Gen. John Burgoyne into New York in the autumn of 1777. He was commanding at Ticonderoga when Burgoyne was captured at the Battle of Saratoga, and he returned to Canada to take command at Montreal. He subsequently commanded at St. John’s, Niagara, and Quebec, returning to England at the end of the war.

4GW replied on 2 June (NNPM).

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