George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Goose Van Schaick, 19 May 1780

Albany May 19th 1780

Your Excellencys feelings must daily increase on account of the distressed situation of our Affairs relative to supplies for the Army & the naked situation of our Western & Northern frontiers for the want of Men & provisions. I have been backward in troubleing your Excellency with Alarms by report altho numerous & some that indeed have proved true by the carrying off the inhabitants into Captivity but I think it my Duty at present to enclose copies of two Letters just come to hand in their nature alarming & to represent that altho the Garrison of Fort-Schuyler is weak as your Excellency will perceive by the last return should an attack be made, they have only provisions & Meat for one Month, & that had we provisions to send them the Militia of Tryon County have as good as refused to turn out. Alledging that having no support; & oblidged to find their own provisions on Militia Duty they must defend their own property, the frontier settlements are breaking up fast & if some remedy is not soon applied Schonectady will be our frontier Settlement. I have the Honor to be very respectfully Your Excellencies obedient & most humble servant

G. V. Schaick

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


White Creek May 16th 1780

Dr Sir

As two of the Soldiers who were taken at Skeensborough this Spring having made their escape from Canada and informs that the Enemy intends to Attack Fort Schuyler soon. It was thought prudent to inform you of it.

They say that the Enemy were making great preparations for the Expedition & the Cannon was moved out of Montreal before they left it which was 18 days since. But they were informed that the Troops to the Amount of five thousand would March for the Fort on the 13th Inst. By them we learn that they with 12 others were taken at Skeensborough by fifty eight Indians, two Canadians, & one Tory, the latter was one Bettice from Stillwater that they were used well, and had a sufficiency of provision, but was close confined till they made their Escape which was by tying a Blanket at the Grates (after breaking out some of them) and letting them down in the Kings Garden adjoining the Provost in Montreal as to the number & strength of the Enemy they are ignorant off: One Vessel of the Enemy is at Crown point. remain your Most obedient & most humble servt

Joseph McCraken


Mr Savage of this place, who was with you last week informs that no provision had been procured for our Frontiers & that you made no doubt but men could be had & sent to Skeensborough provided they could be supplied with that article I take the Liberty of informing you that I can spare 20 Bushels of Wheat, & as much Rye & Corn others here can part with some & make no doubt but they will. I am about to see what can be procured, for if men are not sent to that Post we must leave our Habitations. remain your Friend

Jno. Williams



New Perth Charlotte County May 17th 1780


This night William Woodworth son to Captain Woodworth of Cambridge of Colo. VanWoert’s Regiment is arrived from Canada—He being one of the party who were taken the 21st of last March at Skeensborough—He says that during his confinement several Hessians of his Guard at different times told him that on the 15th of this Instant 5000 Indians, Regulars & Tories were to set out from Montreal in order to Attack Fort Stanwix & also a British Soldier who was in Confinement with him gave him the same intelligence. further that while in Provost at Montreal he from the Prison window saw them transporting a variety of Military Stores which he was informed they intended for said Expedition & from every circumstance both by intelligence & from what he seen, He believes them to be now on their March against said Post.

Said William Woodworth says that he & three others (who were taken at the same time he was) made their Escape from Provost & are all safe arrived after fifteen days Travel they escaped on the 29th of last April—As this information in our opinion will be of importance, we take liberty to Transmitt it to you with a Dispatch.

As the above informant say from what he could learn the Enemy designed some Depredations on this part of the Frontiers & as we are informed the only reason why Guards are not stationed to the North is the want of Provisions—upon Examination we find as much Grain can be spared in this Township alone, as would support 80 or 100 Men at Skeensborough for some Months.

We beg leave to add that as the within Informer has been well known to us before his imprisonment, so we think the variety of his intelligence is indisputable. We are sir Most obedt & Very Humble servants

Ebenezar Clerk

John Barns

P: S: we would have wrote the within information to Colo. Webster who is now at the Legislature that he might Communicate it to the Governor—but presuming you will either write the substance or Inclose this to the Governor we decline it.

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