George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 12 June 1776

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany June 12th 1776 4 oClock P:M:

Dear Sir

The Letter which I had the Honor to write You Yesterday I delivered to General Wooster who sailed this Day.

I have within this half Hour received a Letter from General Arnold of Which the inclosed is a Copy1 I fear the next will announce the Evacuation of Canada by our Troops, probably with Loss, as I fear that not a sufficient Attention has been paid to a Recommendation of Mine, to bring all the Batteaus that could possibly be spared from Sorel to st Johns.

I shall immediately dispatch an Express to Fort George to send Batteaus to st Johns but after all the Number will be very small for Want of Men to navigate them, I suppose one hundred and twenty at least are at Lake George.

I am not under the least Apprehension That the Enemy will be able to cross Lake Champlain, provided that our Army is able to retreat into that Lake, that Ammunition is speedily sent up, And a farther Supply of Pork forwarded Without Delay, to this Place.

Your Excellency will perceive that General Arnold informs me That the Enemy have the Frames &ca for Gundolas on Board, We should therefore build a Number of these Vessels with all possible Dispatch, One is now on the Stocks but We want People that understand the Construction of them, I have some Time ago begged Congress to send one Express, let me intreat that some more capable Persons may be sent up & twenty Shipwrights with them.

As I fear the Saw mills will Not be able to saw a sufficient Number of Plank, I wish to have a Dozen of Whip Saws & Files sent up with all possible Dispatch.

I shall order all the Batteaus that do not go to St Johns out of Lake George to Tyonderoga that they may be ready at that Place to be sent to Skenesborough to convey the Militia should they be sent up. I am with Every Respectful Sentiment Your Excellency’s most Obedient Humble servant

Ph: Schuyler

LS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 16 June 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DLC: Hancock Papers.

1Arnold wrote to Schuyler from Montreal on 6 June: “I this Moment received a Letter from General Sullivan at Sorel dated at 4 OClock Yesterday Evening, informing me that a Body of the Kings Troops & a Number of Ships were between him & three Rivers & that he soon expected to be attacked. I have sent Every Man that could be spared to his assistance, but am fearful he will be obliged to abandon his Post: If the Enemy land on that Side I am fearfull they will endeavor to possess themselves of Chambly & st Johns, If they come up on this side (on which they are at present) we must Evacuate this Town; some Days since the Sick & Baggage have been removed, to st Johns, I am now removing a Parcel of Goods I have seized for the Use of the Army; I expect to have all over this Evening, I shall retain only four or five hundred Men to Garrison the Place, until I receive Orders to leave It or am obliged to quit It by a superior Force; Out of upwards of Eight Thousand Men in this Country not five thousand Effectives can be mustered, The small Pox has broke & divided the Army in such a Manner that It is almost ruined[.] Our Want of almost Every Necessary for the Army & repeated Misfortunes & Losses has greatly dispirited the Troops, Our Enemies are daily encreasing & our Friends deserting Us; Under these Discouragements & Obstacles with a Powerful Army against Us, well disciplined & Wanting in no one Article to carry on their Operations It will be a Miracle If we keep the Country. My only Expectation is to secure our Retreat to st Johns or the Isle aux Noix, where It will doubtless be thought Necessary to make a stand, For which Purpose all the Batteaus & Vessels on Your side the Lake that can be spared should be sent Over, Our Gondolas we shall be Obliged to destroy, Others ought immediately to be taken in Hand to secure the Lake[.] The Enemy I am well informed have brought Over a Number with them, Framed and done to put up in a short Time: The Want of a little Attention in Time has lost Us this fine Country, I hope for better things on Your side & that in the Rotation of Fortune, something better will turn up for Us here” (DLC:GW).

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