George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 9 June 1777

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany June 9h 1777.

Dear Sir

I do myself the Honor to enclose you a Letter under flying Seal for the president of Congress—I have Nothing farther to communicate than what your Excellency will find contained therein.1

I should be extremely happy if only one Troop of Horses could be spared for this Department.

As we have not any Field pieces in this Department, I have applied to Colonel Mason at Springfield for twelve, to be sent here—I hope this Requisition will meet with your Excellency’s Approbation; If it does, will you be so good as to order General Knox to give Directions that it may be complied with?

A principal Seneca Chief, with four others, have been here some Time waiting my Arrival—They were sent by that Nation in Order to visit your Excellency, that they may report the Situation of our Affairs, on their Return—Mr Ryckman, the Bearer hereof accompanies them, he is a decent Citizen of this City, and made his Escape last Year from Niagara.2

Your Time is so much engrossed that I cannot expect to be often favored with a Line—permit me however to beg the Favor of you to give Directions to some of the Gentlemen of your Suit to advise me of any material Occurrence that may arise. I am Dr Sir with the most unfeigned respect & Esteem Your Excellencys most Obedt Humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

LS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers. The closing of the LS is in Schuyler’s writing.

1Schuyler says in his letter to John Hancock of 8–9 June that he arrived at Albany on 3 June “and found that an account, which I received on my Way up, that the Enemy were approaching Tyonderoga was without Foundation.” Schuyler also says that having learned that General Gates intended to leave the northern department, he had sent Gen. Arthur St. Clair to take command at Ticonderoga and had instructed him to make Mount Independence on the east side of Lake Champlain “the primary Object of Attention.” Mount Independence, in Schuyler’s opinion, could be held by two to three thousand men, but the lines west of the lake would require more men to defend them than were available in the northern department. “I have in View,” he writes, “the drawing part of the Army to this Side of the Lake . . . because I think it rather imprudent that the greater part of our army should occupy a post which, if the enemy should be able so to invest as to cut off the Communication with the Country on this Side, we might possibly experience a Disaster similar to that at Fort Washington.” Other parts of Schuyler’s letter to Hancock concern troop returns, provisions for Ticonderoga, smallpox, staff officer appointments, intelligence efforts, Canadian refugees, Indian affairs, and his need of blankets (DNA:PCC, item 153).

Schuyler in his second letter to GW of 10 June writes: “After having in my Letter [to Hancock of 8–9 June] mentioned the Reasons that might induce to a Removal of Part of the Army from Tyonderoga, I concluded with Intreating the Direction of Congress on the Subject, I ought surely to have intreated Yours likewise, This Inattention I beg Your Excellency will not construe as designed, as I assure You it was not, and I now make that Request, which It was my Duty to have made then” (LB, NN: Schuyler Papers).

2For Peter Ryckman’s escape from Niagara, see Schuyler to GW, 20 July 1776, and note 5. Schuyler in his second letter to GW of 10 June writes: “I mentioned in my last that It would be delivered to Your Excellency by Mr Ryckman, he could not get ready in Time to carry It, I therefore sent by Gibson & Ryckman is the Bearer of this.”

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