George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 26 October 1776

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Saratoga [N.Y.] October 26th 1776

Dear Sir

Mr Harrison’s Letter of the 20th Instant, I received Yesterday, and a few Minutes afterwards I received a Letter from General Gates, Copy whereof I do myself the Honor to inclose.1

I am in great Hopes that General Carlton will not be able to dislodge our Army from Tyonderoga, but should such an Event unfortunately take place, such Measures will be taken as I think will certainly prevent them from penetrating into the Country on this Side of the Lakes—The Change of Commissaries, has very considerably interrupted the Supplies for the Army2—I have however got every Thing again in such Train that a very considerable Quantity of Flour is now on its Way up, and I believe it impossible for the Enemy to prevent its reaching the Army even if they should make their utmost Efforts to intercept it.

On the 28th September the Army had forty Days Flour, on the 22nd Instant it was reduced to sixteen but on that and every succeeding Day, I hope considerable Quantities arrived—Be assured my dear General that I shall take every Measure that has a probable Tendency to promote the Service and secure the Country.3

I congratulate your Excellency on the Success of our Troops at East Chester—I hope it will soon be succeeded by a more decisive Blow in our Favor, so as to frustrate the Enemy’s Intention of forming a Line between you and us.4 I am Dear Sir with every respectful Sentiment Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

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

1Robert Hanson Harrison’s letter to Schuyler of 20 Oct. is a reply to Schuyler’s two letters to GW of 16 October [1] [2]. GW, Harrison writes, “reposes the Utmost Confidence in the Measures that You, Genl Gates &c. will take to baffle the Designs of the Enemy from Canada, and Hopes Notwithstanding our Misfortune in the Loss of our Fleet, that if they attempt to cross over, that they will meet with a Total repulse. To this End he is certain that Every Exertion will be used. He would have wrote You himself, but was just going out to our several Posts, when the Express arrived & bad me mention, that he should think It of material Consequence in Case there is Reason to believe that the Enemy intend to pass over, to have all the Waggons & Horses in the Part of the Country near the Lakes brought away to prevent them from having their Use in Transporting their Cannon &ca from thence. His Excellency also desires Your Utmost Attention to have as Great a supply of Provisions possible thrown into the Garrison, where our Troops are, and at Places Contiguous to It from Whence supplies may be drawn and Where It will be secure from the Enemy. These Precautions he hopes have been taken or perhaps the Situation of Affairs now will not admit of ’em” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

The enclosed copy of Gates’s letter to Schuyler of 24 Oct., written at Ticonderoga, informs that “General Carleton keeps very close at Crown point, his Navy at Anchor upon his Flanks. I have Scouts continually down both Sides of the Lake—I apprehend by this Time his Force is all collected and expect this Stilness will immediately be succeeded by a grand Attack—Heaven grant he may be defeated! The Army here are in good Spirits & think only of Victory.” Gates also requests Schuyler to send him spades, nails, and more provisions, especially flour which “seems to be more in Request than Meat” (DLC:GW).

2In early September Schuyler’s protégé Walter Livingston had been displaced as deputy commissary general for the northern department by Gates’s protégé Elisha Avery (see Schuyler to GW, 1 July 1776, n.2, and 31 Aug. 1776, n.6).

3Harrison replied to Schuyler for GW on 1 Nov.: “His Excellency is Glad to find that You are under but little or no Apprehensions about proper Supplies of Provision for the Northern Army, & from the Copy of General Gates’s Letter, which You were pleased to inclose him, that our Troops are in such high Spirits. he hopes their most sanguine Wishes will be more than fully Crowned in the Repulse, if not the Total Defeat of Mr Carlton’s Army. Either of these Events are much to be wished for, as our Affairs will then have a much more pleasing Aspect than they now have. the latter most probably would ensure Success to the General Cause.

“The Quarter Master Genl has been spoke to About Spades & Nails, he says he could furnish some Nail Rods provided they could be got up. he will use his Endeavours to releive General Gates’s Wants, as far as It shall be in his Power, but the Situation of Things will not allow him to afford but very little Assistance if any” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

Harrison enclosed in his letter the court-martial proceedings on the cases of Lt. Col. Anthony Walton White and captains John Ross and Thomas Paterson that Schuyler’s aide-de-camp Maj. Henry Brockholst Livingston recently had sent to GW for his approval. Tried at Albany sometime in September or October by a court-martial over which Col. Goose Van Schaick presided, those officers from the 3d New Jersey Regiment had been acquitted “with honour” of the charge of stealing “certain effects belonging to Sir John Johnston” (see Gates’s general orders, 12 Nov., in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:876–77). GW, who on 24 Aug. had directed Schuyler to court-martial the three officers, approved their acquittals. GW also requested, Harrison wrote Schuyler on 1 Nov., “that in future You will consider Yourself as authorized to reject or Affirm the Sentence of Every Court Martial in Cases Which respect the Army in the Northern Department without referring them to him. Indeed he thinks it will be much more proper, than for him to interfere” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

4Harrison’s letter to Schuyler of 20 Oct. includes a short account of Col. John Glover’s skirmish near Pell’s Point on 18 Oct. (see Harrison to Hancock, 20 Oct., and note 3), and it briefy discussess Howe’s efforts to outflank GW’s army and the anticipated British advance on White Plains.

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