George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Philip Schuyler, 14 August 1775

To Major General Philip Schuyler

Camp at Cambridge August 14th 1775:

Dear Sir

I received your Favor of the 31st July informing me of your preparations to cross the Lake, and inclosing the Affidavits of John Shatforth, and Deguid—Several Indians of the Tribe of St Francis, came in here Yesterday, and confirmed the former Accounts of the good Disposition of the Indian Nations and Canadians to the Interests of America. A most happy Event, on which I sincerely congratulate you.1

I am glad to relieve you from your Anxiety respecting Troops being sent from Boston to Quebec: those Reports I apprehend took their Rise from a Fleet being fitted out about 14 Days ago, to plunder the Islands in the Sound of their live Stock: An Expedition which they have executed with some Success and are just returning: but you may depend upon it, no Troops have been detached from Boston to Canada or elsewhere.2

Among our Wants (of which I find you have your proportion) we feel that of Lead most sensibly, and as we have no Expectation of a Supply from the Southward, I have concluded to draw upon the Stock found at Ticonderoga when it fell into our Hands. I am informed it is very considerable, and that a part of it may be spared without exposing you to any Inconveniency.3

In Consequence of this I have wrote to Governor Trumbull, to take the Direction of the Transportation of it, supposing the Conveyance thro’ Connecticut the most safe and expeditious, I expect he will write you on the Subject by this Opportunity.4

I have Nothing new my dear Sir to acquaint you with—We are precisely in the same Situation as to the Enemy as when I wrote you last, nor can I gain any certain Intelligence of their future Intentions—The Troops from the Southward are come in very healthy and in good Order: To Morrow I expect a Supply of powder from philadelphia, which will be a most season-able Relief in our present Necessity.5

God grant you Health and Success equal to your Merit and wishes. Favor me with Intelligence as often as you can and believe me with great Truth & Esteem Your most obedt & very humble Servant

Go. Washington

LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; Df, NHi: Joseph Reed Papers; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The letter-book copy in DLC:GW and the Varick transcript are dated 15 Aug. 1775. The letter-book copy in the Schuyler Papers and the draft are dated 14 Aug. 1775.

1On 14 Aug. Joseph Reed wrote to James Otis, Sr., president of the Massachusetts council: “The Bearer is accompanied by an Indian Chief of the Tribe of St Frances in Canada who has come down upon a friendly Errand. In a Conference this Morning it has been concluded that he Should leave some of his Company in this Camp & Return with one of our Stockbridge Indians by Way of Ticonderoga, when he will have an Oppy of Seeing General Schuyler, & making the Tender of his Service, which we have not the same Occasion for—The Person at whose Instance His Visit is made can give a more Circumstantial Account of him and his Business than the Limits of a Letter will admit—As it might be agreeable to the Members of the Honble Court to know from themselves their Sentiments towards the Colonies—His Excellency approved of their waiting on them personally, & directed me to Communicate what has passed here” (DLC:GW). A joint committee of the General Court was appointed on 16 Aug. to confer with Swashan, the chief of the St. Francis Indians. He declared his readiness to take up the hatchet on behalf of the Americans. “As our Ancestors gave this Country to you,” Swashan said, “we would not have you destroyed by England; but are ready to afford you our Assistance.” Asked by the committee if he feared retaliation from Gov. Guy Carleton, Swashan replied, “We are not afraid of it—he has threatened us; but if he attacks us, we have Arms to defend ourselves” (Mass. House of Rep. Journal, July–Nov. 1775 sess description begins A Journal of the Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Watertown, Mass., 1775. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends ., 75, 80–81). See also GW to Schuyler, 20 Aug. 1775.

2For the British raids on Fishers and Gardiners islands, see Norwich Committee of Correspondence to GW, 7 Aug. 1775, and Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to GW, 7 Aug. 1775, n.2. For the return of the transports to Boston, see Loammi Baldwin to GW, 16 Aug. 1775.

3Samuel Freeman, clerk of the Massachusetts house of representatives, wrote to Joseph Reed on this date, informing him that about two tons of lead were at Crown Point (DNA: RG 93, Miscellaneous Numbered Records [”Manuscript File”]).

5The troops from the southward were the riflemen raised in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The gunpowder was the 6½ tons sent by the Continental Congress’s order of 25 July 1775. See Richard Henry Lee to GW, 1 Aug. 1775, n.3, and Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to GW, 8 Aug. 1775, n.3.

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