George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 30 May 1777

From Major General Horatio Gates

Albany 30th May 1777.


Late last night the Inclosed from General poor, was brought me Express from Ticonderoga.1 I also inclose Your Excellency a General Return of the Garrison at that post dated the 24th Instant, by which You will perceive the shameful deficiency in the Numbers proper for it’s defence.2 Artillerists are likewise much Wanted; I always expected Six Companies: Two, is as many as can be said to be there. The bad weather of late, has so cut up the Roads, that the Transportating of Stores, Cannon, and provisions, has been extremely delay’d. I am this Moment sending Expresses to the Eastern States, with a Copy of General Poor’s Letter to each, and a pressing Requisition, for an immediate Reinforcement of Men, either by Corps of Militia, or a Draught to Compleat the Regiments now at Ticonderoga.3 Your Excellency, And Congress, may be Assured, that every thing possible for the Safety, and preservation of that Important post, shall be Attempted; but at the same time, it is to be wish’d, the Means may be found Adequate to the End. I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt

Horatio Gates

LS, DLC:GW; copy, NHi: Gates Papers; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 2 June 1777, DNA:PCC, item 154; copy, enclosed in Gates to the President of the Massachusetts council, 30 May; M-Ar: Revolution Letters; copy, DNA:PCC, item 171.

1In the enclosed copy of the letter that Brig. Gen. Enoch Poor wrote to Gates at 10:00 P.M. on 27 May, Poor says that a reconnaissance party sent up Lake Champlain the previous night had returned to Ticonderoga “and Informs us, that they this Morning landed at Split Rock, about break of day, within one hundred & fifty yards of the Enemy’s Advanc’d Boat, which the Approach of day discover’d, together with two Schooners, And Six Gondalos, all within three hundred yards of them; he observ’d on the West Shore about forty batteaus, but as there was a thick fog he could only discover the forms of the Vessells, And a number of fires; a very heavy Morning Gun was discharg’d lower down the lake, he thinks at Schuylers Island; As this report Induc’d the Strongest Suspicions of the Enemys Approach, I thought it my duty to forward it to you as Speedily as possible, And shall be proud to receive your Commands, you know the Strength of the Garrison by the last general return, If the Post should be Invested, which I firmly believe, I much dread we shall Suffer for Provisions” (DLC:GW).

2The enclosed return of 24 May, which is accompanied by a copy of Poor’s brief covering letter of that date, shows that the Continental infantry regiments at Ticonderoga consisted of 182 commissioned officers, 34 staff officers, 278 noncommissioned officers, and 2,437 rank and file, of whom 1,654 were present and fit for duty. The militia at Ticonderoga consisted of 43 commissioned officers, 11 staff officers, 56 noncommissioned officers, and 477 rank and file, of whom 437 were present and fit for duty. The artillery detachment at Ticonderoga consisted of 15 commissioned officers, 4 staff officers, 70 noncommissioned officers, and 131 matrosses, of whom 108 were present and fit for duty (DLC:GW).

3See Gates to the president of the Massachusetts council and to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., both this date, NHi: Gates Papers.

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