George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General James Clinton, 10 June 1779

To Brigadier General James Clinton

Head Quarters Smith’s Clove [N.Y.] June 10th 1779


I have received your two favours of the 28th of May and 6th of June1—I hope before this you will have received instructions from General Sullivan, respecting the precise line of conduct you are to observe. Whether your destination shall be up the Mohock River or to form a junction in the first instance with the main body at the Head of Susquehannah, is a point I have left to him to decide and to give you directions accordingly. But as the preparations on the Susquehannah are completed and the main body all in motion towards Wyoming, it is essential you should be ready to move either way at the shortest notice.2 Should there be any delay on your part, when you are required to commence your operations, the consequences may be very disagreeable.3 I therefore leave it with you to make whatever further preparations you think necessary to enable you to comply with a sudden call. The Quarter Master is directed to consult you and execute your orders.4 The providing teams or pack horses beforehand depends on the ease or difficulty of procuring them in a hurry—I leave it with you to do as you think proper; and I expect that you will be at all points prepared, instantly to comply with the orders you may receive from General Sullivan, for the purpose of a perfect cooperation either way.5

In respect to what Col. Van Schaik mentions of his being deficient in the means of rewarding the Indians for their services, if he should mean only a want of money, you will give him a warrant on the Pay Master for the necessary sum. If he means articles of Cloathing &c. you will be pleased to make an application to the Commissioners for Indian-affairs who I dare say will do every thing in their power to supply him.6

It is intirely agreeable to me that Capt. Graham should succeed to the vacancy to which he is intitled. You will be pleased to send me a certificate specifying the time and manner of the vacancy and that Capt. Graham is the oldest Captain in the New York line. This I will transmit to the Board of war, that his commission may be made out accordingly. In the mean time his appointment may take place by a brigade order.7

Major Popham, who I presume was your former Brigade Major may continue with you as Aide De Camp with the same rank and pay. I wish Major Fish’s health may permit him to accept the Brigade Inspectorship.8 I am with regard Sir Yr Most Obedt servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, NNPM; Df, DLC:GW; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to John Jay, 15 Aug. 1779, DNA:PCC, item 166; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Clinton’s letter to GW of 6 June has not been found.

2See GW to Clinton, 2 June, and n.2 to that document.

3At this place on the draft manuscript, which also is in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, the word “fatal” was written initially. Hamilton then struck out that word and wrote “disagreeable” above the line.

4A letter of this date from Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene to Col. Morgan Lewis, deputy quartermaster general of the northern department, written while in camp at Smiths Clove, N.Y., reads: “His Excellency General Washington has wrote to General Clinton to be in readiness for a certain movement. This expedition will require a great number of Waggons and Pack Horses. You will immediately apply to General Clinton for an estimate of what he will want and where he will have the things deliverd. This business will require the greatest dispach and therefore I hope your exertions will be propo⟨r⟩tionable to the exigency of the business” (Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:139).

5A letter from Clinton to his brother George Clinton, written at Albany, N.Y., on 15 June, reads in part: “Yesterday I received a Letter from Genl. Sullivan datted the 11th instant, and one from His Excellency datted the 10th—the former of which points out my rout from hence, untill I join the army under him, the latter only refers me to any orders I may receive from Genl. Sullivan. I have ordered one hundred Boats to be loaded at Schanectady and transported up the river by the 3d N.Y. Regiment and the Detachment under Col. [William] Butler, both which fleets have already sailed. I have ordered one hundred more Boats to be had in readiness immediately, as the Genl. has ordered me to embarke all the Troops, and take no P. Horses. I have ordered three or four hundred waggons to be collected at Connojeharie to transport the Boats and Stores across the carreing place to Lake Otsego, the place of embarkation where I shall wait farther orders to proceed. … P.S. I shall set off this day for Connojoharie” (Hastings and Holden, 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 5:86–87).

6For Col. Goose Van Schaik’s complaint, see James Clinton to GW, 28 May, and n.2 to that document.

7Clinton reported taking these actions in his reply to GW of 14 June. Capt. John Graham’s promotion to major in the 1st N.Y. Regiment was backdated to 26 March.

8Maj. William Popham became Clinton’s aide-de-camp, and Maj. Nicholas Fish became brigade inspector. Clinton had proposed their duties in his letter to GW of 13 May.

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