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To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 31 July–2 August 1775

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Tionderoga [N.Y.] July 31st[–2 Aug.] 1775

Dear General

Since my last I have been most Assiduously employed in preparing Materials for building boats to Convey me across the Lake—the progress has hitherto been Slow as with few hands I had All the Timber to Cut, Mills to repair, to Saw the plank, and my draught Cattle extreamly weak for want of feed the drought haveing Scorched up Every kind of Herbage. I have now one boat in Stocks which I hope will carry near three hundred men, another is putting up to day, provisions of the Bread kind are scarce with me and therefore I have not dared to order up a thousand men that are at Albany least we should starve here.

I have had no Intelligence from Canada since my last to you, Major Brown has been gone nine days and I Expect him back If all is well by Saturday next.1

August 2d[.] I have not had a return from General Wooster Since my Arrival[.] I am therefore under the necessity of Makeing you a return of the troops here only.

Inclose your Excellency Copy of two Affidavids made by per[s]ons from Canada. I have transmitted other Copy’s to the Congress.2

I am extreamly Anxious to hear from your part of the world, reports prevail that a body of troops have left Boston and are Gone to Canada. If so I fear we shall not be able to penetrate Into Canada or Even Attack St Johns with Success, tho. at all Events I am ordered to go there.3 I am Your Excellencys Most Obedient & Most Hume Servt

Ph: Schuyler

I wish I could make you a regular return Even of the troops at this place and Crown point, but I have not yet got these people to be regular in any thing and therefore beg you to dispence with the following State—Fit for duty—1 Colonel 3 Majors 9 Captain 1 Captain Lieutenant 21 subalterns 34 serjeants 18 Drums and fifes 933 Rank and file 1 Chaplain 2 Adjutants 1 Quarter Master 1 Surgeon & 2 Mat⟨es⟩—Sick—1 Lieutenant—4 serjeants 2 Drums 103 Rank and file.

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

1John Brown (1744–1780), a lawyer from Pittsfield, became a member of the Massachusetts provincial congress in October 1774 and the following March went to Montreal as an emissary from the Boston committee of correspondence to elicit support for the revolutionary cause from sympathetic Canadians. Although he found the Canadians unwilling to join the Continental association or to send delegates to the Continental Congress, he gathered much useful intelligence about Canada and Ticonderoga. On 6 July 1775 Brown was commissioned major of Col. James Easton’s regiment, and on 24 July Schuyler sent him to reconnoiter the British forces in Canada. Brown returned on 10 Aug. to report that the British were building an armed schooner at St. Jean and that the Canadians would welcome an American advance. See Brown to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 14 Aug. 1775, in Trumbull to GW, 21 Aug. 1775, n.6. Brown participated in the ensuing Canadian campaign and became lieutenant colonel of Easton’s regiment in July 1776. A quarrel with Benedict Arnold apparently caused Brown to resign from the Continental army in February 1777. He subsequently served as a Massachusetts militia colonel and was killed in an ambush in the Mohawk Valley on 19 Oct. 1780.

2The affidavits, both dated 2 Aug. 1775, contain intelligence furnished by two men who had recently come to Ticonderoga from St. Jean: John Duguid, a cooper employed by the British commissary at St. Jean, and John Shatforth, a farm worker whose parents lived near the town. Both men describe in some detail the defensive works at St. Jean and at nearby Chambly, the troops and Indians at those posts, and the two armed schooners that were under construction at St. Jean. They also attest that provisions were in short supply in Canada and that the Canadians desired to remain neutral in the struggle between the colonies and the mother country. The copies of the two affidavits that Schuyler enclosed to GW are in DLC:GW. Schuyler also sent copies to John Hancock in a letter of 2 Aug. 1775 (DNA:PCC, item 153).

3For Congress’s resolutions of 27 June directing Schuyler to move into Canada, see Hancock to GW, 28 June 1775, n.1.

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