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To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 18 July 1775

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Tionderoga [N.Y.] July 18th 1775

Dear Sir

I do myself the Honor to inform Your Excellency of my Arrival at this Place early this Morning; and, as a Person is just going to Hartford, I sit down to give you the little Information I have procured.

A Canadian, who twelve days ago left St Johns, advises me that General Carlton has about four hundred men at that place; that he has thrown up a strong intrenchment, covered with Chevaux de Frise; picketted the ditch, and secured it with an Abbatis;1 that he has an advanced post of fifty men, intrenched a league on this side; that there are many Indians in Canada, but believes neither they or the Canadians will join him: the latter he is sure will not unless compelled by force.

You will expect that I should say something about this place and the troops here. Not one earthly thing for offence or defence has been done; the Commanding officer had no orders: he only came to reinforce the garrison, and he expected the General:2 But this, my dear General, as well as what follows in this paragraph I pray may be entre nous for reasons I nee⟨d⟩ not suggest. About ten last night I arrived at the Landing pla⟨ce⟩ the north end of Lake George; a post occupied by a Captain and 100 men. A Centinel on being informed I was in the boat quitted his post to go and awake the guard, consisting of three men, in which he had no success. I walked up and came to another, a serjeant’s Guard. Here the centinel challenged, but suffered me to come up to him, the whole guard, like the first, in the soundest sleep. With a penknife only I could have cut off both guards, and then have set fire to the blockhouse, destroyed the stores, and starved the people here. At this post I have pointedly recommended vigilance and Care; as all the stores from Fort George must necessarily be landed there—But I hope to get the better of this inattention. The officers and men are all good looking people, and decent in their deportment, and I really believe will make good soldiers as soon as I can get the better of this non-chalance of theirs. Bravery I believe they are far from wanting. As soon as I am a little settled, I shall do myself the Honor to send you a return of my strength both on land and water.

Inclose your Excellency a Copy of a letter from Col. Johnson, with Copy of an Examination of a person lately from Canada, contradictory of the accounts I gave you in my last from Saratoga. You will perceive that he is gone to Canada.3 I hope Carlton, if he should be able to procure a body of Indians, will not be in a hurry to pay us a visit. I wish to be a little more decently prepared to receive him—in doing which be assured I shall lose no time.

I have no way of sending you any letters, with a probable hope of their coming to hand, unless by express, or by the circuitous rout of Hartford; by which only I can expect to be favored with a line from you.

Generals Lee and Gates share with you in my warmest wishes. I shall devote the first hour I can call my own to do myself the honor to write them. I am Most sincerely, Your Excellency’s Obedient, and Humble Servant,

Ph: Schuyler

Permit me, Sir, thro. you to enquire the health of Colo. Read, Major Mifflin and Mr Griffin.

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

1An abatis is a defensive obstacle formed by felled trees with sharpened branches facing the enemy.

2The commanding officer at Ticonderoga was Col. Benjamin Hinman (1720–1810), who arrived in the area on 17 June 1775 with 1,400 Connecticut troops. On 7 July Hinman wrote to Schuyler: “I wait Sr with Impatance for your Arivel as I find myself very unAble to stere in this Stormy Cituation[.] Sumtimes wee have no Flower and a constant crye for Rum and want Melases for bear which was engagd to Our people[.] the falliour of those who provide gives grate Uneasayness to the Men[.] hope for better times on your Arivel” (DNA:PCC, item 153).

3Col. Guy Johnson’s letter, dated at Ontario on 8 July, is addressed to the president of the New York provincial congress, Peter Van Brugh Livingston. “I trust,” Johnson wrote in response to insinuations that he was inciting Indians to attack the colonists, “I shall always manifest more humanity than to promote the destruction of the innocent inhabitants of a Colony to which I have been always warmly attached a declaration that must appear perfectly suitable to the character of a man of honour and principle who can on no account neglect those duties that are consistent therewith however they may differ from sentiments now adopted in so many parts of America” (DLC:GW). The enclosed examination contains statements made to the Albany committee of safety on 15 July by Gerrit Roseboom, an Albany resident who left Montreal on 26 June and was at Oswego about 7 July. Roseboom reported that the British authorities in Canada were failing in their attempts to secure the services of either Indians or Canadians. At Oswego he observed Guy Johnson holding a council with several Indian tribes and learned that Johnson intended to go to Oswegatchie [Ogdensburg, N.Y.] to confer with Canadian Indians. The Indians at Oswego told Roseboom that they did not intend to fight against the Americans, but in his opinion, “Considering the Fickleness of their Disposit⟨ion⟩ and probably the Over Persuasion of our Enemies no great Dependance can be made on their Assura⟨nces.⟩” Both enclosures are in DLC:GW.

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