George Washington Papers

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

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany November 3d 1776

Dear Sir

I do myself the Honor to inclose you Copy of a Letter, which I received Yesterday from General Gates, with Copy of a paper inclosed.1 If Sir John Johnson did actually begin his March at the Time mentioned by the Deserters, he must have met with such Difficulties as has obliged him to return, for he could not have subsisted so long a Time in the Woods; but least he should have delayed his Departure, and marched some Time since, I have ordered two Regiments from Tyonderoga to Tryon County and one to Fort George; about a thousand of the Militia are also in Tryon County, which with their own, and what Troops are there now will something exceed two thousand—I do not apprehend that General Carlton will attempt our Lines—It is to be wished that he did; as it is almost certain, if he does, that he will experience a Repulse.2

A Report prevails here that your Excellency has had a capital Engagement with the Enemy, in which they greatly suffered, and that they also made an unsuccessful Attempt on Fort Washington[.] I hope for the pleasure of a Confirmation of this agreeable Intelligence.3

Be pleased to forward Copy of General Gates’s Letter and of the other paper to Congress, as I have not wrote them on the Occasion.4

If General Carlton does not mean to attack, he must soon return, as the Inclemency of the Season will not suffer him to remain long encamped—Should that Event take place, I shall immediately thereafter draw the Troops from Tyonderoga, leaving about two thousand five hundred Men as a Garrison. I am dear Sir with great Esteem and Respect Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

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

1Gates’s letter to Schuyler of 31 Oct. contains an account of the approach of Carleton’s fleet and army to the outer defenses of Ticonderoga on the morning of 28 Oct. and their withdrawal without attacking late that afternoon. “By the Information I receive daily,” Gates writes, “I find that General Carlton continues in his post [at Crown Point] and that three large Vessels are anchored near putnam’s point, a little below which all the Light Infantry, Grenadiers and a large Body of Indians and Canadians are encamped—Chimney point and Crown point are also occupied by the Enemy” (DLC:GW).

The document enclosed by Gates is a copy of the letter that Joab Hoisington wrote to him on 12 Oct. from Newbury, Vt., conveying intelligence “given by four Deserters from Canada” that “Sir John Johnson with the Indians and Canadians and 8th Regiment had marched to attack the Inhabitants on Mohawk River and meet General Burgoyne at Albany, who has ordered all the Force from Chamblé and Sorrel to St John’s with the Marine[s] and Train of Artillery and Sailors to but three Men in each Vessel—Likewise as they passed on the East Side of Lake [Champlain] on Sunday the 6th Instant heard a very heavy Cannonade on the Lake, supposed to be with the Fleet” (DLC:GW).

2In a letter to Robert Hanson Harrison of 4 Nov., Schuyler writes: “I am happy that I can reiterate the Assurances I gave his Excellency [GW] in a former Letter [of 26 Oct.] with Respect to the Supplies of the Northern Army, for altho’ the Change of Commissaries had caused such a Stagnation in the Transportation, that the Army was reduced to about seven Days of Flour, yet such a Quantity is on its Way up (part of which is already arrived) that there will be no Want of that necessary Article, and they have Beef in plenty.

“I fear General Carlton, if I may judge from a late Manoeuvre of his, will not give us an Opportunity of repulsing him at Tyonderoga nor can any part of his Army penetrate to the Mohawk River, without being discovered in such Time, as to give us an Oppertunity to meet them with a considerable Force, we having a Number of Scouts incessantly traversing the Country from Tyonderoga to Fort Stanwix” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

3At eleven o’clock the next morning Schuyler received Robert Hanson Harrison’s letter to him of 1 Nov., which includes a brief account of the Battle of White Plains on 28 Oct. (NN: Schuyler Papers). In his reply to Harrison of 4 Nov., Schuyler says: “If any decisive Engagement should happen with you, I shall be greatly obliged by the most early Account of it—I can easily conceive that his Excellency on such an Occasion must have his Time so totally engrossed, that he will not be able to write after an Engagement” (NN: Schuyler Papers). Harrison agreed to Schuyler’s request in his reply to him of 9 Nov. (NN: Schuyler Papers).

4Other copies of these documents were enclosed with GW’s letter to Hancock of 9 November.

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