George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 20 August 1777

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Albany August 20th 1777

Dear Sir

Last Evening Gen: Gates arrived at the Camp and this morning I shewed him the different passes, gave him an Account of the disposition of the troops, The posts they Occupied, and the Orders I had given with Such Information as he required, or that occured to me and then Came down to this place.

Inclose Your Excellency a return of the Army, Copy of a letter from General Lincoln and Copy of Gen: Burgoyns Instructions to Lieut. Colo: Beam who Commanded the Enemy near Bennington.1 It appears to me that Gen. Burgoyne Expects Gen: Howe will attempt to come up the River.

General Arnold advises me that some Oneida Indians were waiting his Arrival at the German Flatts In order to Join him, If the Siege of Fort Schuyler Should be raised I hope to be able to Induce two or three hundred Indians to Join our Army. I am Dear Sir Most Sincerely & respectfully Your Excellency, Obedt Hume Servant

Ph: Schuyler

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 25 Aug. 1777, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1The enclosed return of Continental troops under Schuyler’s command, dated 17 Aug., indicates a total strength of 5,900, including 332 commissioned officers, 60 staff officers, 501 noncommissioned officers, and 5,007 rank and file. Deputy Adj. Gen. James Wilkinson signed the return and noted that some militia troops had been included inadvertently (DLC:GW).

The enclosed copy of Benjamin Lincoln’s letter to Schuyler of 19 Aug. from Bennington, Vt., reads: “As early as matters can be settled here, I am fully with you in sentiment it will be best to move towards the Enemy, I am happy to hear that the Militia are turning out with spirit, and of the friendly disposition of the Onida Indians, I hope we shall soon be able to check General Burgoynes progress—The inclosed is a Copy of the Instructions to Lieut. Colonel Baum and is now forwarded by express. . . .Lieut. Colo. Baum died of his wounds Yesterday” (DLC:GW).

Burgoyne’s instructions to Baum of 9 Aug. read: “The Object of your Expedition is to try the Affections of the Country to disconcert the Councils of the Enemy, to mount the Riedesels Dragoons, to compleat [John] Peters Corps, and to obtain large Supplies of Cattle, Horses and Carriages. . . .

“You are to proceed from Battenkill to Arlington, and take Post there till the Detachment of Provincials under the Command of Capt: [Justus] Sheerwood [Sherwood] shall join you from the Southward.

“You are then to proceed to Manchester where you will again take Post, so as to secure the Pass of the Mountains on the Road from Manchester to Rockingham, from hence you will detach the Indians and light Troops to the Northward towards Otter Creek on their return and also receiving Intelligence that no Enemy is in Force on the Connecticut River, you will proceed by the Road over the Mountains to Rockingham, where you will take Post, this will be the most distant Part on the Expedition and must be proceeded upon with Caution, as you will have the Defile of the Mountains behind you which might make a Retreat difficult, you must therefore endeavor to be well informed of the Force of the Enemies Militia in the neighbouring Country. Should you find it may with Prudence be effected you are to remain there while the Indians and light Troops are detach’d up the River, and you are afterwards to descend the River to Brattlebury [Brattleboro] and from that Place by the quickest March you are to return by the great Road to Albany. . . .

“It is highly probable that the Corps under Mr [Seth] Warner now supposed to be at Manchester will retreat before you but should they contrary to expectation be able to collect in great force and post themselves advantageously, it is left to your discretion to attack them or not, always bearing in mind that your Corps is too valuable to let any considerable Loss be hazarded on this occasion.”

Other parts of the orders concern security measures, treatment of inhabitants, and impressment procedures (DLC:GW; see also Nickerson, Turning Point of the Revolution description begins Hoffman Nickerson. The Turning Point of the Revolution, Or Burgoyne in America. Boston and New York, 1928. description ends , 235–38).

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