George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 11 November 1776

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany Novr 11th 1776

Dear Sir

On Tuesday the 4th Instant no Sign of the Enemy was seen forty Miles North of Crown point—General Gates has sent a Flag with Lieutenant Evans; by the Return of which he will know if the Enemy are really gone into Winter Quarters, if so we shall do the like1—I am in Hopes that in three Weeks, at farthest, we shall have Barracks sufficient for what Troops may remain in the Service—I propose 2500 at Tyonderoga and Mount Independence; 100 at Skenesborough, 100 at Fort Ann, 400 at Fort George, 1000 at Saratoga, 500 in this place[,] 500 in Schenectady, about 100 at John’s-Town[,] 100 at Fort Dayton2 and 400 at Fort Schuyler—I hope this Disposition of the Troops will be agreeable to your Excellency.3

Congress has referred to me for approbation or Disapprobation the proceedings of the Court Martial on Colonel Campbell—General Gates informs me that they are sent to your Excellency—will you be pleased to order them to be transmitted to me.4 I am Dr Sir very affectionately & with perfect Esteem Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

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

During the next several weeks Schuyler corresponded with Robert Hanson Harrison instead of GW, who was concerned with more pressing matters. On 13 Nov. Schuyler wrote Harrison: “I have sent ten or eleven Batteaus to Fish Kills, to be forwarded to the army, which have probably arrived there this Day—Six more, of a larger Size, go to Morrow, and Yesterday, I dispatched Colonel [Morgan] Lewis to Lake George to bring fifty from thence, and I leave this [Albany] at four to Morrow Morning to go and expedite them—As the Enemy are certainly retired into Canada, I have order’d such of the pennsylvania and Jersey Regiments whose Times of Enlistment are expired from Tyonderoga—They will probably leave it to Morrow, and I make no Doubt, but that they will chearfully continue to serve with his Excellency [GW] for some Time—It is what I have requested of them” (DLC:GW).

Harrison replied to Schuyler on 20 Nov. from Hackensack, N.J., that the contents of his letter of 13 Nov., which arrived that morning, had been communicated to GW, “& [I] have to inform You that there is no Necessity for the Batteaus You mention, coming to Fish Kills, All the Troops belonging to the States South of Hudsons River & which were in the Army under his immediate Command, having already crossed & there being a sufficient Number of Vessels there to Answer such further Transportations as may be necessary at this Time. As the Enemy have returned to Canada, his Excellency hopes No Inconveniency will result from the Return of the Pennsylvania & Jersey Regiments, at the same Time he would have been more happy to have heard of their enlisting again & Continuing in the Service. he fears a Similar Conduct will be observed by the Rest. As the Term of their Inlistment is expired, they had a Right to claim their Dismission, & he does not apprehend that an Attempt to restrain or continue ’em against their Inclinations, would have been attended with any Valuable Consequences. they may be of some Service here. from the present Appearance of Things, their Aid may be extremely seasonable, if they will give It” (NN: Schuyler Papers; see also notes 3 and 4).

Schuyler wrote Harrison on 26 Nov. from Saratoga, N.Y.: “Before my Orders for moving the pennsylvania & Jersey Troops reached Tyonderoga, they were already prepared to come away, the Time they had agreed to stay beyond the Term for which they were enlisted being expired—General Gates (who is now at Albany[)] before he left Tyonderoga ordered all the Troops, except about 2500 Men, from that post—part of them are now at Albany and will embark immediately to join his Excellency altho’, I fear, it will greatly retard the recruiting Service as very few incline to re-engage until they have been at Home” (NN: Schuyler Papers). For further correspondence between Schuyler and Harrison regarding the sending of those troops to GW’s army, see GW to Hancock, 27 Nov., n.1.

1This news came from Gates’s letter to Schuyler of 8 Nov. (see Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 607). The previous Tuesday was 5 November. Lieutenant Evans has not been identified.

2Fort Dayton, which had been built recently by Col. Elias Dayton’s troops, was on the north side of the Mohawk River at German Flats (now Herkimer, N.Y.).

3Harrison replied to Schuyler on 20 Nov.: “In Respect to the Disposition You propose [for] quartering the Troops, His Excellency doubts not but that it is perfectly good & such as will be well adapted to their Accomodation & the General Security” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

4Donald Campbell, former deputy quartermaster general for the northern army, was cashiered by a court-martial during July 1776. Later that month Gates sent the proceedings of Campbell’s trial to GW, and in August GW forwarded the proceedings to Congress for its approval or disapproval (see Schuyler to GW, 1 July 1776, n.4, and GW to Hancock, 12 Aug. [second letter], and notes 1 and 2). “The Proceedings of the Court Martial upon Colo. Campbell,” Harrison says in his letter to Schuyler of 20 Nov., “were transmitted to Congress & never returned to his Excellency. All we have heard of the Matter since, is, that by a Resolve of the 16th Ulto the Commander in the Northern Department is desired to affirm or reject the Sentence, as he shall judge proper upon Mature Deliberation” (NN: Schuyler Papers). Congress referred that decision on 19 Aug. specifically to Schuyler and on 16 Oct. to “the commanding officer in the northern department” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:667, 6:882). The matter was decided ultimately by Gates, however. On 12 Jan. 1777 Gates wrote Hancock that Campbell should not be cashiered (DNA:PCC, item 154), and Congress subsequently agreed to permit Campbell to continue in the service (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:29, 45, 114).

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