George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Stark, 14 July 1778

From Brigadier General John Stark

Albany 14th July 1778

Dear General

I Embrace this opportunity by Colo. Lewis, to Inform your Excellency the Situation we are in at this Quarter—we are threatned on all sides—by Express from Fort Schuyler, I am Informed, that there is an Army Coming against that place—there is another Body of Indians, & Torys, Gathered at a place Called Unidillo, about Sixty Miles from Mohawk River—the Enemies Ships is at Crownpoint.1

this is my Situation, & not so much as a Guard to this place—there is a few (of this States) Militia, on the Frontiers—but they are only Raised for a month at a time, & then March off, often Leaving the posts they Occupy, Destitute of any Guard—I fear if there is not some Troops sent that can be Depended on—this Whole Country will be Deserted—I had but one Regiment with me and that I was oblidged to send to Fort Schuyler, to Reinforce that Garrison, so that at present there is no Guard for the Stores, nor fort, but the City Militia, & about 50 of Beedles Regiment, & neither Can much be Depended on2—I have Represented the Affair to General Gates, & Requested men,3 but the Express has not yet Returned. I am Sir with Great Respect Your Obedient Humble Sert

John Stark

N.B. I am Informed by Express, that Arrived last Night, from Fort Schuyler, that all the Onandagos, & Senecas, are Gone to the Susquehannah, to Join that Body of Indians & Tories, (Mentioned in my Letter) in order to fall on the Frontiers of this State, & the Back Settlements of Pensylvania. I should Recommend Detaining those Senicas that went to you till the Event is Known.4 as before J.S.


1For the reported threat to Fort Schuyler, see Horatio Gates to GW, 13 July, n.3. The village of Unadilla, near the confluence of the Unadilla and Susquehanna rivers, was burned by American troops in October 1778.

2On 11 July, Lt. Col. John Wheelock wrote Col. Timothy Bedel from Albany, describing unrest in Bedel’s regiment. The men had “Expected to be absent but a few weeks, but were now to be detained as unlimited Continental soldiers” and moreover had not received pay and clothing promised them. In consequence, “a considerable party determined to quit the place” until Stark ordered a regiment paraded to “secure the obstinate.” While the men were “cheerfully willing to serve here during the term proposed,” they had not been mustered as Continental troops (Hammond, Rolls of Soldiers description begins Isaac W. Hammond, ed. Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775, to May 1777. . . [vol. 1]; Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, May, 1777, to 1780 . . . [vol. 2]; Rolls and Documents relating to Soldiers in the Revolutionary War . . . [vols. 3-4]. New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vols. 14–17. Concord and Manchester, N.H., 1885–89. description ends , 4:239–40).

3For Stark’s letter to Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates of 9 July, see Gates to GW, 13 July, n.3.

4Regarding the delegation of Seneca warriors that visited GW’s camp and subsequently Congress in June 1778, see Commissioners of Indian Affairs to GW, 9 June, and GW to Benedict Arnold, 21 June (first letter).

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