George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 3 July 1780

Poughkeepsie 3d July 1780

Dear Sir.

I was honored with the receipt of your Excellency’s Letter of the 27th on the Day following—I immediately communicated it to the Legislature; and am happy in being enabled to inform You that, altho’ within two Days of their annual Dissolution, they readily entered on the Business recommended to them and passed a Law for completing their continental Battalions. I dare not venture to pronounce that it will be as effectual as could be wished and the Importance of the Object appears to require: but considering the short time left them to deliberate on the Subject, the Embarrassments occasioned by their having previously adopted a different Measure and the mutilated and distressed Circumstances of the State I believe it to be the best that could be devised. I have it not in my Power to transmit a Copy of the Law by this Conveyance to your Excellency as I have not yet received it from the Secretary—It in Substance enables me to engage the present Levies to serve in the continental Battalions by a generous Bounty in Money or Wheat at their option; which I am authorized to offer them; and occasionally to make Detachments from the Militia to supply their Places, so as to keep the Quotas of 1575 always compleat—It was unfortunate that the Law was published and the Orders issued for raising the Levies according to the first Idea the Legislature formed of the Committee’s Requisition, before your Excellency’s Letter came to hand—otherwise Drafts might have been made to fill up the Battalions in the first Instance which would have reduced the Business to a greater certainty and been attended with much less Expence. I am however not without hopes that I shall be able to accomplish it with a Degree of punctuality on the present Plan. I wish to observe to your Excellency that the Levies to reinforce the Army are to serve, and not to be relieved, until the expiration of the Time mentioned in the Committee’s Letter; and I have reason to believe that they will be principally composed of Men who have occasionally been in Service during the War; and as I am not confined to the Militia for Officers I shall have it in my Power to engage Gentlemen to command them who are acquainted with Service; as many of the Supernumerary & other Officers of the Army who have resigned, have generously tendered their Services on this important Occasion—This I flatter myself will make them much more respectable and serviceable than an equal Force detached from the Militia in the ordinary Way.

The Accounts I continue to receive from the Northward and Westward (Copies of which and of a Speech of the Oneida Chiefs are inclosed) strongly indicate the Intentions of the Enemy to invest Fort Schuyler and desolate the County of Tryon this, with the apprehensions which the Oneida Nation express on this Occasion has induced me to believe it would be inexpedient to relieve it’s present Garrison, by the Levies on the frontiers. I have therefore thought it most advisable to delay giving Orders for this Purpose until I shall receive your Excellency’s further directions on this Subject—for besides the exposed situation in which it would have the frontier Settlements, I am persuaded the exchanging of the present Garrison, with whom these friendly Indians have contracted an acquaintance and have confidence in, for strange Troops of a less martial appearance would have an exceeding bad effect on their Minds and might lead them to relinquish their Attachment to us and join the Enemy—I also inclose a Copy of a Letter; which (on Receipt of your Excellency’s on the Subject of throwing into Fort Schuyler a more competent Supply of Provisions) I wrote to Colo. VanSchaick together with and of his answer thereto. Your Excellency may rest assured that I shall be ready to afford him any Assistance which may be requested to facilitate that Business. I have the honor to be with sincere Respect and Esteem Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servant

Geo: Clinton

P.S. I forgot to mention that your Excellency’s Letter of the 30th June was received & laid before the Legislature a few Minutes before they rose—I have also to thank your Excellency for your confidential Letter of the 27th.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


A Speech of the Oneida Chiefs to Lieut. Colonel Van Dyck delivered Sunday evening 18th June 1780

18 June 1780


We will now acquaint you with our situation and request a judicious answer—an Onondago chief Warrior called Wagondenaye has lately came from Niagara, and as he passed through Kanaghseraga prevailed on several famelies to move off for Niagara since which the whole Town have left their Habitations & gone to the Enemy. Also two famelies of the Oneidas with all the Onondagos—This strange and sudden movement has alarmed us very much—we are informed by those who had an interview with Wagondenaye that he said the whole Oneida Nation should be taken prisoner in a short time except such as immediately repaired to Niagara or Oswego.

Brothers—we are in a great Consternation reports from various quarters confirm the above account, we scarcely know who to trust among us in this critical situation—Yesterday the last of the Kanaghserages and Onondagos left us. I say that our Town must be destroyed to open the Road to the Mohawk River and after the Oneidas are secured the Enemy intend to lay waste the Mohawk River so far as Schenectady or Albany.

Brother—Our Women are much terrified with the view of their approaching ruin—they have concluded to move down into the Country and seek a place of safety among the inhabitants of the united States—many of the Wariors approve of their determination. So soon as the Women & Children are secured the Wariors will return to your Garrison & be at your Command.

Brother—we now request your best advice if you approve of our going down the Country you will point some place & make provision accordingly—we are not able to defend ourselves at Oneida against the force we are sure will come against us—what can be done for us.

Pray advise General Schuyler and the officer Commanding at Albany of our situation.

The Wariors stand in great need of a little powder.








Kingston 29th June 1780


Previous to Brigr Genl Clinton’s leaving Albany I transmitted him an Order, which his Excellency Genl Washington had inclosed to me, for 100 barrels of Beef, on any Commissary to the eastward, to be forwarded to Fort Schuyler for the use of that Garrison—From a Letter I lately received from his Excellency I have Reason to believe that this Supply has not been received as he informs me that 40 barrels only were forwarded by my Brother and requests that I would correspond with you on the Subject of throwing in a more ample Supply for that Garrison. I have therefore to request that you will be pleased to inform me whether you are possessed of that Order, how far it has been executed and what Measures have been taken or are now pursuing for the above Purpose and whether my Assistance is necessary to facilitate this Business.

I have directed Brigr Genl Van Rensselair to repair to Tryon County & take the command of the Militia which may be collected to oppose the Designs of the Enemy in that Quarter & I have to request that you will give him your Advice and assistance. I am &c. &c.

Geo: Clinton



Albany July 1st 1780


I have the honor to acknowledge the Receipt of your Excellency’s favor of the 29th Ulto—The Order your Excellency mentions for the hundred barrels of Beef or Pork on any Commissary to the Eastward I have received from Brigr Genl Clinton previous to his leaving Albany—This Order was immediately after receiving it sent to Mr John Watson of Hartford a principle Agent in the State of Connecticut with a Requisition to Mr Watson to make or cause diligent enquiry to be made and if the Provisions abovementioned could be found to forward them with out delay to the nearest Place on the North River giving at the same Time notice thereof to me and if the Provisions cannot be had Mr Watson is to return the Order to me—If the Provisions are obtained or the order returned I shall in either case advise your Excellency of it immediately—We had a few Days ago a prospect of obtaining a supply of fresh Beef from Connecticut but I find by a Letter Mr Jacob Cuyler received last Night from that Quarter that we shall be disappointed—There being at present three hundred of the Levies to the Westward I have made the following Disposition & Colo. Harpur has posted them accordingly—eighty at Schoharie—forty at Johns Town—forty at StoneArabia—forty at Fort Plank—fifty at Fort Herkeimer—& fifty at Fort Dayton. I shall feel myself happy in giving all the Advice and Assistance in my Power to Brigr Genl Van Rensselaer agreable to your Excellency’s Requisition. I am &c.

G.V. Schaick


c.3 July 1780

Johannes Cole says that himself together with Henrick Hoff Rolef Jansen and 10 Indians being Catts Kill Indians Came from Niagara on or about the 22d May last—that they were sent out by Coll Guy Johnson and Coll Bolton to go to Catts Kill to Allarm that place and take John Beonck if posible—that they Came Down to Aghquaga and from thence to the place Caled Cook house—that when they Came there himself and Hoff went to the forks of Delaware and from thence Came to Paghkataghbran and from thence went to about half way to Schohary hills untill they Came upon the Esopus Creek and then Down the same untill they where met by the Scout above Shendaken—that they brought along 2 Horses belonging to Hoff and had taken up another at Canocasag[   ] that himself and Hoff had left the party at Cook house to go to the Hellebergh where was a Number of Brants men who had been with Brant last Summer to Persuade them to Join the Party of Indians who were to Come Down to a place under the [Blau] Mountains at one Jacob Leemans—that they had Agreed to meet the party under the [Blau] Mountains in 12 Days and from that place to Come Down to Catts Kill—to Allarm the same to keep the Militia from Going up to the Mohawk River As an Army was to Come Down to Attack fort Schuyler Consisting of the Troops at Niagara being about Seven Hundred Men Regulars and Levies and the Troops at Buck Island whoes Numbers he has not heard that this army where to have Cannon and Mortars—that Several parties had Gone from Niagara to Allarm the Country to keep Back the Militia—that the Intintion of the Party was to begin their Depradations at Wessel Salisburys at Catts Kill and so Down the Catts Kill—that himself and Hoff had left the Cook house 7 days when they where taken—That Brant with a Party of Indians was to Come to Schokary at the Same time when Fort Schuyler was to be Attacked—that their orders where not to burn or Destroy but to take besides John Bronch, William Salisbury Capt. John A Wi[ltrom] and Samuel Van Veshten.

Names of Persons at Pittsburgh of Brandts Party

Wm Mey

Christian Pleto

Clemant Freeligh

Abraham Freeligh

Jacob Freeligh

Arent Hallenbeck son of Jacob

John Buys

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