George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Clinton, 16 April 1781

Albany April 16th 1781


Yesterday I received an Express from Lt Colo. Cochran commanding Fort Schuyler; which informed me that on the 9th inst. a small Scout from the Garrison had been fired upon by a Body of the Enemy by which two were killed and one wounded—our Party retired toward the Fort precipitately. the Enemy pursued and took two Prisoners—Col. Cochran immediately detatched a Company of light Infantry and one field piece: but the Enemy appeared so numerous that it was thought imprudent to pursue them thro’ the Woods, where they retired to—This accident, togather with that of the 2d Ulto and a number of Men being furlowed by Coll Cortland have reduced the Number of the Garrison below, what was recommended by your Excellency, and the Scarcity of Provision, and Uncertainty of Supplies render it absolutely improper to send any Reinforcement at present. As soon as I am enabled to send an Escort of Provision, I shall order another Company up.

I had flattered myself with hopes that the State Agents would have been able to have purchaced flour for the Use of the Troops in this Department; but I find there are a Number of Gentlemen purchacing for the French Army, for Specie, which will effectually counteract our Exertions—and there is not now (independant of Fort Schuyler) three days Provision in the Whole Department for the Troops in case of an Alarm—nor any Prospect of procuring any.

The Recruits of the new Levies as fast as they come in, I cannot receive, because I have nothing to give them—The Canadian Families, I have been obliged to deprive of their scanty Pittance, contrary to every Principle of Humanity—The Quarter Masters Department is totally useless—The public Armory has been [shut] up for near three Weeks past—And a total Suspension of every military Opperation has ensued. I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s most Obedient Servt

James Clinton

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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