George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 18 May 1781]

18th. Received Letters from Generals Schuyler and Clinton giving an acct. of the threatened Invasion of the Northern Frontier of this State from Canada, and of the unfavourable prospects from Vermont and of the destruction of the Post of Fort Schuyler—the indefensible State of the Works occasioned thereby & submitting for considn. the propriety of removing the Garrison to the German Flatts which he (that is Clinton) was requested to do if it appear’d to be the sense of the Governor & other principal Gentn. of the State that it would be eligable.1

Set out this day for the Interview at Weathersfield with the Count de Rochambeau & Admiral Barras. Reached Morgans Tavern 43 Miles from Fishkill Landing after dining at Colo. Vandebergs.2

1After his resignation from the Continental Army in 1779, Philip Schuyler (1733–1804) was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New York 1779–80 and served in the New York Senate 1780–84. Although at this time Schuyler was involved principally in the management of his New York estates and his business affairs, his advice was frequently sought about military matters in northern New York. In Mar. 1781 he was appointed state surveyor general and in an unofficial capacity was active in procuring supplies for the army in New York State (GERLACH description begins Don R. Gerlach. “Philip Schuyler and the New York Frontier in 1781.” New-York Historical Society, Quarterly Bulletin 53 (1969): 148–81. description ends , 156–59). Schuyler’s letter, 15 May 1781, is addressed to Brig. Gen. James Clinton and was enclosed, with other correspondence, in Clinton’s letter to GW, 16 May 1781 (DLC:GW). At the beginning of May 1781 the barracks at Fort Schuyler had been partially destroyed by fire and further devastated by a heavy rainstorm which followed. On 27 May, GW informed Congress that the post had been abandoned and the garrison and stores removed to German Flats (in the area of present-day Herkimer, N.Y.), since a post at that location “would be more easily supported, and equally advantageous to the security of the Frontier” (GW to Samuel Huntington, 27 May 1781, NjP: De Coppet Collection).

2The Connecticut assembly was meeting at Hartford, so the conference with the French was held at nearby Wethersfield. Morgan’s tavern was probably the establishment kept by Gideon Morgan, who was licensed in 1781 as a tavern keeper in Washington, Litchfield County, Conn. (CROFUT description begins Florence S. Marcy Crofut. Guide to the History and the Historic Sites of Connecticut. 2 vols. New Haven, 1937. description ends , 1:442). Also in GW’s party were Brig. Gen. Henry Knox (1750–1806), chief of artillery for the Continental Army, and the French engineer Brig. Gen. Louis Le Bègue Duportail, who had been serving with the American forces since 1777.

Index Entries