George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Goose Van Schaick, 1 June 1780

Albany June 1st 1780


On the 22nd Ultimo Sr John Johnston with a party of five hundred & fifty whites & blacks surprised a small settlement in Tryon County known by the name of Caughnawaga thirty three Houses & other Buildings were Burnt, seven killed, & twelve made prisoners I immediately proceeded up into Tryon County to collect the Militia which I could not effect in season for a pursuit—As the rout Sr John came & must return, is from Lake Champlain a-cross the Country to the Mohawk River Governor Clinton being in Albany judged it practicable that Sr Johns retreat might be cut off has collected a number of Militia and crossed over Lake George to Ticonderoga on Tuesday last—This is the last account we have had from his Excellency. While I remained in Tryon County, I received accounts of Captures & Murder daily committed by the Savages in the upper parts of that County, & the disagreable account of which the enclosed is a report, I fear that Mutinys & Desertions will not stop here.

The Regiment have not received pay for seven Months last past & judge themselves much neglected in the article of Shirts, Shoes &ca—My endeavours to procure those articles have been wanting but have not been able to effect it—Your Excellencies favors of the 24th & 25th Ultimo I have the Honor to acknowledge—The hundred Barrels of Flour sent by Colonel Steward I have ordered to Schonectady and am making every other preparation for to throw large & timely supplies into Fort Schuyler. The Corn your Excellency mentions to have been near Albany I find on inquiry is partly used by the purchasing Commissary for the use of the Troops on the out Posts during the course of last Winter and the remainder is sent to the Foraging Department at Fish-kills this Spring.

Your Excellency may rest assured that no means will be left untried to accomplish your designs respecting the Post of Fort Schuyler for this purpose I have ordered the Boats to be got in readiness, & the Provisions deposited at Schonectady, When this is done nothing will be wanting but a Guard to the Batteaus.

I will advise with Governour Clinton on this subject when he returns, & trust the Governour will reinforce the Garrison.

In the present circumstances of Affairs with at least one hundred of the Levies raised in this State—I have the Honor to be most Respectfully Your Excellencies most obedient Servant

G.V. Schaick

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Albany May 31st 1780

On Saturday last being the 27th Instant I was directed by Lieut. Colonel Van Dyck, to proceed to Albany with all speed, & to report the following occurrences which happened at Fort Schuyler.

On Monday being the 22nd Instant at half past Ten at night, the Officer of the Guard observed that two of his Centinels did not call out the hour of the night, by which on viewing the Posts he found they had left them. which he immediately Reported to the Commanding Officer who instantly occasioned the Garrison to Parade and ordered the Rolls called, by which he found that Thirty one men were deserted vizt twenty seven of Colonel Van Schaicks Regiment & four of Captain Browns Company of Artillery—Colonel Van Dyck then (as he by the weakness of the Garrison thought not prudent to Detatch a party in pursuit of them) sent off express to Oneida requesting the Indians to collect their Warriors and pursue them which they complied with, and Tuesday about twelve O Clock arrived in Garrison forty Indians they requested an Officer to accompany them for which I was ordered. and the same day one O Clock we proceeded in pursuit of said Deserters, my orders together with the Indians from Colonel Van Dyck was to bring in of them as many prisoners as possible we could without endangering ourselves but if they resisted, to fight them till they surrendered. After we had proceeded on about two Miles from the Garrison we took their Tracks which we continued until night when we lay down to sleep about fifteen Miles from the Garrison. Next morning early we again continued their Tracks and about eleven O Clock (this being Wednesday) we came to the place where they had Slept the proceding night we hurried on & about half an hour sun we arrived at Grand River which we found they had Coursed down—we followed their path until sun setting we came up with them, we found them crossing the River with a little Raft they had made for that purpose—Three Rafts of them containing five at a time, had already got over: Sixteen remained yet on the near side, the fifteen that had got across on our approach hallowed to the rest that the Indians were coming on them, at which we crouded up in order to take them, at which one Conway the head of the Deserters fir’d at us which became General from the whole party, so that we were obliged to return it Killing thirteen of the Sixteen that remained on the near side, & took three prisoners—I than hallowed to them across the River to come and give themselves up an they should not be hurt they returned me no answer but continued firing, in the morning six Indians went across who found that, they had thrown down eleven of their Packs & ran off Precepitately different ways; the fifteen had then only four packs remaining with them which by all I could make out contained about three loaves of Bread which must answer the fifteen to March one hundred & fifty Miles to Oswagatchee their intended place—I enquired of the prisoners the reasons why they had Deserted, they told me they had been deluded off by Conway & some of the rest, but could give no other reasons—The prisoners also told me that the whole party had agree’d to be true to one another and that they would resist any party that should pursue them in order to take them—Our provisions fail’d or otherwise we would have followed the rest therefore next morning being Thursday we returned; a friday, About One O Clock arrived again in Garrison.

pr Abm Hardenberg Lieut.

1st New York Battl.

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