George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 3 May 1776

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Fort George [N.Y.] May 3d 1776

Dear Sir

Since I did myself the honor to address Your Excellency on the 27th ult: I have had no Intelligence from Quebec.

Mr Carrol in a letter of the 28th April dated at St Johns has advised me of the safe arrival of himself and his Brothers the Commissioners at that place on the preceeding day. He adds that twenty four Batteaux with troops had Already passed that place and that the remainder were momently Expected as the wind was fair.1 It Continued so the 29th & 30th so that I have great reason to believe the whole together with the heavy Cannon are arrived before Quebec.

In hopes of a supply of Ammunition from below I sent on all that was here and at Every other post. Mr Wisner in a letter of the 29th April Informs me that I may Immediately Expect about three tons of powder I will detain no more here than what may barely Suffice and Send the rest on to Canada Your Excellency will please to order some lead to be forwardd to me.

Colo: Greatons and Pattersons regiments are arrived at Tyonderoga the former is to move thence to day and the Latter to Morrow. Colo. Bond’s arrived here last evening and Crosses lake George to day. Colo. Poors which I Expect to Morrow will not be detained a moment. I shall Attend General Thompson to Tyonderoga and arrange matters in that Quarter and then hasten to Albany to push on pork which comes on very Slowly as the Waggoners refuse to Ride untill they are paid off and we have not a farthing of Money I have written to Philadelphia for It but I fear the Service will suffer before I can procure It from thence.2 Is It not possible to Send some from the Military Chest with you.

Besides Several deserters which we have in Custody Capt: Romans and Some of his men are expected here against whom heavy and numerous Complaints by the Inhabitants are lodged, and I fear too well founded.3 on the former I am under the necessity of ordering Court Martials to Sit altho I know It is not Strictly Military whilst your Excellency is in this department but the Occassion I hope will Excuse me with you. I wish Your direction for my future Conduct in such Cases.

Our Army In Canada will Expend near fifty Barrels of pork per day and before any fresh provisions Can be procured there It will be necessary to Send Seven Thousand Barrels of pork which they will expend.

I have not heard any thing from Colo: Wynkoop. I need him much at Tyonderoga.

Be pleased to present my Compliments to the Gentlemen of your Suit. I am Dear Sir with Every Affectionate wish Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

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

1Charles Carroll of Carrollton in his letter to Schuyler of 28 April also reported that “Carpenters are much wanted here [St. Johns] to build row galleys to prevent the enemy’s vessels from coming up the St. Lawrence” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 3:597, n.1).

2See Schuyler to Hancock, this date, DNA:PCC, item 153.

3Bernard Romans (c.1720–c.1784), a Dutch-born engineer and cartographer, was captain of the Independent Pennsylvania Artillery Company, which had recently joined the army in Canada. On 24 July 1776 a court of inquiry investigated Romans’s conduct in a dispute with his lieutenant and apparently found the evidence against him insufficient to warrant a courtmartial.

Talented but irascible, Romans made enemies almost everywhere that he went during his long and varied career. He came to America in 1756 from England where he had studied botany, mathematics, and engineering. In 1766 Romans became a deputy surveyor in Georgia, and two years later he was appointed deputy surveyor for the entire southern district. He was dismissed from office in 1770 after quarreling with his superior. Romans subsequently explored the Floridas on his own and from 1771 to 1772 worked as a surveyor in West Florida. In 1773 he went to New York to publish his Florida maps and a natural history of the area. His work soon gained him entry into the New York Marine Society and the American Philosophical Society.

Settling in Wethersfield, Conn., Romans volunteered at the beginning of the Revolutionary War to organize an expedition to seize Ticonderoga. When Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold subsequently shouldered him aside and took over that enterprise, Romans set out on his own, and in May 1775 he and sixteen volunteers “captured” Fort George from its elderly caretaker. In August 1775 the New York commissioners in charge of fortifying the Hudson Highlands engaged Romans as their engineer. Heated arguments about his powers and his designs for the works on Constitution Island obliged him to quit the following winter (see Stirling to GW, 1 June 1776). Unable to obtain the Continental commission of colonel that he sought, Romans accepted the captaincy of the Pennsylvania Independent Artillery Company in February 1776. Despite his troublesome personality and the fact that in January 1777 his company numbered only twelve men including officers, Romans continued to command it until he resigned in June 1778. According to a pension application filed by his wife in 1846, Romans was captured by the British in 1780 while sailing to join the southern army and apparently died at sea in 1784 on his way home from Jamaica where he had been held prisoner. See Diamant, Bernard Romans description begins Lincoln Diamant. Bernard Romans: Forgotten Patriot of the American Revolution: Military Engineer and Cartographer of West Point and the Hudson Valley. Harrison, N.Y., 1985. description ends , 138–43.

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