George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 10 June 1776

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany June 10th 1776.

Dear Sir

At Nine this Morning I arrived from Fort George having left that Yesterday in Consequence of the Information Contained in a Letter & Paper sent Me by the Committee of this City & County, Copies of which I do Myself the Honor to inclose You.1

I was apprehensive That Something of this Kind would happen, as Your Excellency will perceive by recurring to some of my former Letters, I shall do Every Thing in my Power to prevent the Savages from Succeeding, and If Daytons Regiment with the Militia of Tryon & this County drive them off as I hope they will, I propose to take Post at Fort Stanwix as soon as I shall be in a Condition to do It, by the Arrival of Cannon Ammunition & Intrenching Tools, having None of Either here.

I am informed that Captain Foster his Troops & the Indians that Joined him, retired on General Arnold’s Approach, failing of Success, their Necessity will oblige them to turn Elsewhere in Search of Subsistance, probably the Mohawk River.

Your Excellencys Favor of the 7th instant I have this Moment received, I am happy that Captn Wilkinson’s Conjectures were not realized.

I assure you my Dear Sir That I do all in my Power to forward & arrange Matters; Such a Variety of Business crouds upon Me, That I hardly know which to take in Hand first, a steady Perseverance will however I hope Carry me thro’, And If I can find Time I will repair to Canada, Tho I hope and beleive General Sullivan will put our Affairs in good Order, seconded by Generals Arnold & Thompson who are also indefatigable. Genl Thomas died on the Second instant.

So far from being able to procure two Thousand Indians to join Us I shall be extremely happy If we can prevent them from acting against Us, and I beleive Nothing will do It but the spirited Measure I proposed in my last of the 8th instant to Congress & the taking Post at Fort Stanwix.2

If any Militia should come up, I shall Certainly Employ them on the Communication & send on the Troops, I have Already Ordered three Companies of Van Schaicks from Tyonderoga, As the Exchanged Prisoners were to be Employed there.3 But if the Militia should take It in their Heads to leave Fort George, Tyonderoga &ca. It will be difficult to Carry on the Provisions for the Army.

Yesterday Morning upwards of an hundred Barrels of Flour left Fort George, I suppose thrice that Quantity left It to Day & by Saturday next I expect fifteen hundred Barrels will be sent, together with three hundred Barrels Pork lately arrived here,4 After which None will be left unless a fresh Supply comes from New York, which I hope will be the soonest possible.

I do not wish That Lady Johnson should be permitted to go to any Place where she may Escape, as her Detention may induce her Husband to seek an Accommodation. I am Dr Sir with Every Sentiment of Esteem & Respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Humble servt

Ph: Schuyler

I believe I shall be under the necessity of going Into Tryon County myself.

LS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 14 June 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DLC: Hancock Papers.

1The Albany committee of correspondence wrote Schuyler on 8 June that it had received alarming news “of an intended Attack of the upper Indians against our Western Frontiers” and enclosed its chief source of intelligence, an extract of a letter dated 7 June from Col. Frederick Pellinger of German Flats to Col. Frederick Fisher. “This Minute,” Pellinger wrote Fisher, “an Express came from one of the best Indians with the news That a Great number of the far Indians arrived at Oneida & being on their March down so We sent an Express Yesterday to the Commanding Officer at Johnstown with the news which we got Yesterday from Fort Stanwix but could get no Assistance.” The Albany committee asked Schuyler for both advice and assistance in “Opposing the Attempts of the savages & their more savage Instigators” (DLC:GW).

2“I am fully sensible of the Necessity of taking post at the place where Fort Stanwix formerly stood,” Schuyler wrote to Hancock on 8 June. “The least Acquaintance with that part of the Country points out the Importance of the pass, and that it ought to be occupied by us, to prevent its being done by the Enemy, which they will most assuredly attempt, should they recover possession of Canada, as to that place they can send provision &c. by water and form a Magazine for the Supply of the Indians in their Interest, and would also so effectually have those that are still our Friends in their power that they would not long remain so.” Schuyler proposed calling a conference with the Six Nations at German Flats to tell them “that since some Indians have now openly joined the Enemy it becomes our Duty to request that such of them as are our Friends should declare for us, and that we and they should enter into mutual Engagements to defend each other, . . . that in order to secure ourselves and our Indian Friends, we mean immediately to take post at Fort Stanwix and erect a Fortification there,” and “that they would see that it was owing merely to our Confidence in them that we had neglected to take possession of Fort Stanwix, and not to a want of Ability, for that in ten Days Time we shall have a Fort there, and keep a Body of Men sufficient to cut off any parties that may attempt to distress our Frontiers.” Indians also should be warned, Schuyler wrote, that if they supported the British, “they must never expect to return to their Families, or ever hope for a Reconciliation with us. I do not think any part less decisive will keep the Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas and part of the Onandagas neuter” (DNA:PCC, item 153).

3Schuyler is apparently referring to the prisoners who were captured at the Cedars in May and subsequently exchanged. See Schuyler to GW, 11–12 June 1776.

4The following Saturday was 15 June.

Index Entries