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To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 15 July 1775

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Saratoga [N.Y.] July 15th 1775.

Dear Sir

Since I did Myself the Honor to write Your Excellency from New York Nothing very material occurred until Yesterday, when I received the Inclosed Letters, the Accounts contained in that marked Number 1 are truly alarming in the present defenceless State of the Counties of Tryon and Albany, and Especially as the Assistance I can afford them either of Men or Money is next to Nothing, the few Troops at Tionderoga &ca being at too great a Distance and not more than sufficient to guard the Posts they occupy. I should have been at Tionderoga this Day had not the Information from Tryon County arrived, which may make my Presence there absolutely necessary. If it should be confirmed; I therefore propose remaining here untill to Morrow, when I hope to be farther informed;1 I wish I may be able to proceed to Tionderoga as I am very much wanted there, the Greatest Confusion having taken Place in the Controversy between the Officers claiming the Command in that Quarter, some have taken the Liberty to disband Troops. Others refused to serve unless this or that particular Person Commanded. The Sloop is left without either Captain or Pilot, both of which are dismissed or come away, Much Provision wasted or embezzalled, and on the Seventh instant only one Barrel of Flour at Tionderoga; I shall have an Augean Stable to clean there.2

I do Myself the Honor to inclose a Return of the Forces in this Colony. It is doubtless imperfect as I have been under a Necessity of forming it out of Returns which were evidently so, I hope soon to send You a more compleat one.3

Be assured my General that I shall use my best Endeavours to establish Order and Discipline in the Troops under my Command. I wish I could add That I had a Prospect of much Success in that Way. It is extreamly difficult to introduce a proper Subordination amongst a People where so little Distinction is kept up.

Our Accounts of the Disposition of the Canadians and Canada Indians continue to be favorable, tho’ the Intelligence is not very Authentic. I am your Excellency’s Most Obedt & Most Humble Servt

Ph: Schuyler

LS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers.

Schuyler owned a large estate at Saratoga, which included a dwelling house, a store, and mills for lumber, flour, and flax. He left New York City on or shortly after 3 July and on 9 July arrived at Albany. He proceeded a few days later to Saratoga on his way north to Ticonderoga.

1Copies of two letters were enclosed: one of 13 July 1775 from the Tryon County committee of safety to the committees of safety at Albany and Schenectady, signed by Christopher P. Yates, and one of 14 July 1775 from the Albany committee to Schuyler, signed by Abraham Yates, Jr. Both are in DLC:GW. The letter from the Tryon County committee (marked number one) reported that the committee had heard “that Coll [Guy] Johnson was ready with eight or nine hundred Indians to make an invasion of this County that the same Indians were to be under the Command of Joseph Brandt and Walter Butler and that they were to fall on the inhabitants below the little falls in order to divide the people in two parts—and were to march yesterday or the day before. . . . We have sent off a party of people by way of a scout to find out if possible the Rout of the Indians and to give us early intelligence. Our ammunition is so scant that we cannot furnish three hundred men so as to be able to make a stand against so great a number—In these deplorable circumstances we look up to you for Assistance both in men and ammunition to save this Country from slaughter and desolation which we beg you will not be backward to afford us as soon as possible.” The Albany committee forwarded copies of this letter to both the New York provincial congress and Schuyler. In its covering letter of 14 July to Schuyler, the Albany committee inquired “whether it will not be advisable to let the Company of Capt. Van Dyck [Cornelius Van Dyck] (which we find you have ordered up to Lake George) March up the Mohawk river towards their Relief—And as that Company has no ammunition (and we have here about three hundred weight) whether you will think it proper to furnish them from the store here And whether you will not think it necessary to send up some of the Remainder to furnish the Inhabitants.” Schuyler agreed to all three of these suggestions (Schuyler to Hancock, 15 July 1775, DNA:PCC, item 153). Early on 16 July, however, Schuyler learned that the reports of an impending Indian attack were unfounded. He left Saratoga later that day and arrived at Ticonderoga on 18 July.

2The command of Ticonderoga and Crown Point was disputed between Col. Benedict Arnold, who commanded a force of Massachusetts volunteers at the posts, and Col. Benjamin Hinman, who arrived in the area with Connecticut reinforcements on 17 June. Arnold refused to yield the command to Hinman, but six days later a committee from the Massachusetts provincial congress appeared with new instructions which put him under Hinman. Arnold angrily resigned his commission on 24 June and disbanded his little force of two to three hundred men. He arrived at Albany on 11 July and at Schuyler’s request wrote a report on the conditions at Fort George, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point.

3The return, dated 15 July 1775 and signed by Schuyler, reports a total of 2,857 officers and men stationed between New York City and Crown Point. In addition, there are eleven staff officers on the return, and ninety men listed as dead, deserted, discharged, or not joined (DLC:GW).

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