George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 30 June 1777

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany June 30h 1777

Dear Sir

I am just now informed by a person from Tryon County, that the Enemy are actually got to Oswego with a considerable Body to make an Attack on Fort Schuyler, that I shall have authentic Information this Day—The Garrison is weak and but poorly supplied with Cannon—I have requested General Herkemer to keep his Militia in Readiness to march to their Support1—I have as yet only been able to march Colonel Bailey’s Regiment consisting of 255 Rank & File—Half of it is to reinforce Fort George and the other half Fort Edward—None of the Militia are yet moved.

Should our Troops at Tyonderoga fall into the Enemy’s Hands, I fear they will be able to march where they please, unless a greater Force is sent me than what your Excellency at first intended.

I shall be greatly distressed for Shelter for the Militia—If any Tents can be spared I beg your Excellency to order them up and whatever Cartridge paper you can, for we have next to none on this Side of Tyonderoga.

Inclose you Copy of Mr Trumbull’s Letter to me of the 21st Instant together with my Answer. I beg the Favor of your Excellency to peruse it and cause it to be delivered.2

If it to be true that we may be so plentifully supplied with fresh Beef as Mr Trumbull positively asserts, his Agents manage badly, for we have none, and hardly any Thing else of the Meat Kind on this Side of Tyonderoga, altho’ I ordered his Deputy to send for Cattle to every Quarter soon after my Return from Philadelphia.

If any intrenching Tools can be spared, I wish to have two hundred Spades, and as many Shovels and pick axes sent up, and if any Field Artillery is sent up, be so good as to let it be accompanied by a Detachment of the Artillery, with a Sufficiency of fixed Ammunition. I am Dear Sir most respectfully Your Excellency’s obedient humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

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

1Nicholas Herkimer (1728–1777), a French and Indian War veteran from Herkimer, N.Y., was a brigadier general in the New York militia. Herkimer was wounded during the bloody ambush at Oriskany, N.Y., on 6 Aug. 1777 and died ten days later.

2The enclosed copy of Joseph Trumbull’s letter to Schuyler, written at “Camp Middle Brook” on 21 June 1777, reads: “His Excellency Genl Washington has favored me with a Sight of your Letter to him of the 16h Instant from Fort Edward and requested me to answer that part of it relative to the Commissary Department. As to Salt, I had all that was used last Fall to import myself from Abroad and no orders for doing that till it was late—I succeeded even beyond my most sanguine Expectations, but not till late in the Season owing to the lateness of the Orders—I then purchased Meat where it could be had and cured it—I got as much Meat to Tyonderoga as the Want of Snow would permit—I could not create either of the three Articles, nor could all of the first that was in the public Store be used for the public, but was issued to the people without my Knowledge or Consent by those who ought to have had more Respect to the public Interest—By the late Returns from Tyconderoga & the posts between that and Albany there was much more salted Meat on Hand than we have here for the main Army in proportion to our Numbers and theirs—As to your Fears of the Provisions being bad, I believe you will find them groundless, and as to Fresh Beef—I have supplied the main Army and the Command at Peek’s Kill with 150 Head fat Cattle per Week for three Weeks past from New England and not gone into the Limits allotted for the Supply of the Northern Army with that Article—I dare undertake to say that that Department may be supplied in the same proportion which will be 5 Days in 7 & the Distance to drive no farther than to this place—As soon as it can be hauled some more salted provisions shall be sent forward from that part of the Country alloted to supply the Northern Department—As to the Flour &c. not being forwarded from Post to Post as it should be, I hope that Inattention will not be laid on the Commissary Department, tho’ the Tenor of your Letter seems to look that Way and I know that the Commissary at Albany has done much of the Quarter Masters Business, and has even been denied by him to be furnished with proper Transportation—I have directed Mr Avery to apply from Time to Time to the Quarter Master General for such Transportation as may be wanted and if it is not furnished he must be answerable” (DLC:GW). GW sent Schuyler’s reply to Trumbull on 5 July (see GW to Schuyler, 6 July 1777).

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