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

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Tionderoga [N.Y.] August 31st 1775

Dear Sir

I arrived here last night and Immediately renewed my orders for Sending you the lead (my former ones having not come to hand) It will leave Crown point this Afternoon and be forwarded without Loss of Time to you.1

Gen: Montgomery leaves Crown point to day with twelve hundred Men, and four twelve pounders, I follow him this Evening and have ordered the whole Strength I can Spare to Join me at Isle-au-noix with out delay. When they arrive there which I hope will be in five days, I Shall then be near two thousand Strong2—I am Still of opinion that the Canadiens and Indians will be friendly to us, unless the Imprudence of a Capt: Baker who without my Leave went upon a Scout and Contrary to the most pointed & Express orders Seeing some people in a boat that Belonged to us, Attempted to fire on them but his Gun missing he was Instantly Shot, thro. the head and Expired, his party Consisted of five men, and the other of an Equal number, one of which an Indian was only seen to paddle of,3 I will neither detain Your Excellency nor waste my time (which is precious) in giving you a detail of the many wants I labour under, I hope they will Serve for an Evening Chat at some future day.

You would have Cause to blame me for not Sending a return of the forces under my Command, but I cannot get one that may in the least be depended upon, I know the reason, but so Critical is my Situation that I sacrifice every thing to the Grand Object. I have sent on only four twelve pounders[.] I expect to have no more than Six because, but I have promised not to Complain. Adieu My Dear General. I am with the most respectful Sentiments Your most Obedient Servant

Ph: Schuyler

My situation will apoligize for this blotted Scrawl. Since writing the above I have received the papers of which a Copy is inclosed.4

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

1For GW’s request for lead, see GW to Schuyler and GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., both 14 Aug. 1775.

2Montgomery set out to invade Canada from Ticonderoga on 28 August. Sailing north on Lake Champlain with his troops aboard a fleet of galleys and small boats, he arrived the next day at Crown Point, where adverse winds prevented him from resuming his voyage until the morning of this day. Two days later Montgomery reached Isle La Motte near the north end of Lake Champlain, and on the morning of 4 Sept. Schuyler joined him there. Later that day the entire army landed at Île aux Noix, a swampy island in the Richelieu River about twelve miles south of the British fortifications at St. Jean, the first objective of the American invasion.

3Remember Baker (1737–1775), one of the leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, was killed on 22 Aug. on the Richelieu River near Île aux Noix. The stolen boat was one that Baker and his companions had hidden while they reconnoitered on foot. A Canadian scout and several Caughnawaga Indians discovered the boat and started down the river toward St. Jean with it. Encountering that party, Baker asked for the return of his boat and was refused. In the ensuing skirmish, not only was Baker killed but two of the Caughnawagas were wounded as well. Schuyler subsequently sent an apology to the Iroquois, who agreed to forget the incident.

4The enclosure is an undated copy of a letter to Schuyler from James Livingston (1747–1832), an in-law of General Montgomery who lived near Chambly. “The Canadians have waited with the utmost Impatience your Coming & begin to despair of Seeing You,” Livingston wrote, “Tho’ I hope to revive their Spirits by sending Circular Letters to the Captains of the different Parishs of your Coming soon to relieve them . . . & shall endeavour to join (the Party You propose sending this Side the River) with what Men I can muster to block up the Communication from Montreal to St. John’s &ca.” The fort at St. Jean, Livingston went on to report, was well supplied with men, cannon, ammunition, and provisions, but “the Soldiers are much harrassed and would be Glad of Your Arrival & make no Doubt Numbers will desert upon the Sight of Your Army” (DLC:GW).

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