George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 24 July 1778

From George Clinton

Poughkeepsie [N.Y.] July 24th 1778

Dear Sir

I have received your Letter of the 23d instt inclosing one to General Schuyler which I immediatly forwarded to him—I am sensible, that however distressing the Situation of our Western Frontier may be, that your Excellency has taken every Method to Afford it Security that is in your Power consistant with the general good of the Service—I wou’d not wish therefore that any Representation of mine shoud occasion a Demunition of your present Force, And as Colo. Grahams’s Regiment is composed of Men who are intimately acquainted with every part of the Country between the Enemies Lines and yours, and may be of peculiar Service where they now are—I beg leave to Submit to your Excellency’s farther consideration whether it would not be most Adviseable to continue it with you at present in which Case I will endeavour to call out a larger proportion of the Militia for the Defence of the Frontiers. This I think the Militia ought chearfully to submit to, as, if they were not required for that Service it would be but reasonable that they should March to Reinforce the Army under your Excellency’s immidiate Command—I have already Ordered out one fourth part of the Militia of Orange and Ulster to the Western Frontier of those Counties who will Amount to near 600 Men, and have directed them to take their Stations so as to secure the most important Passes leading into the Settlements—If they do this and are vigilant I trust that Part of the Country will experience a Degree of Safety—In Addition to this I have Issued positive Orders to Brigadier General Ten Broeck and the Commanding Officers of the several Regiments in Tryon County to Detach one fourth of their Militia (such Regiments as may be necessary for the safety of the Northern Frontier excepted) for the Protection of the Western Frontier in that Quarter, and to Act under and Assist Colo. Butler in any Offensive Operations which may be thought necessary to be carried on by him against the Enemy—Colo. Butler (whose March on receiving the Intelligence I lately transmitted to your Excellency I wished to be hastened,)1 was this Morning at New Windsor and will proceed directly to Albany, and from thence to Schohary or Cherry Valley as General Starke (whose Department he will then be in) shall direct,2 and if Joind by Aldons Regiment and the Detachment of Militia which I have Ordered out, will form a pretty respectable Force in that Quarter—In the mean time If I should receive any new Intelligence that may render its Augmentation necessary, It shall immidiatly be communicated to your Excellency3—I propose if nothing extraordinary happens to prevent it, to do myself the pleasure of waiting on your Excellency next week. I am with the highest Esteem & Respect Your Excellencys Most Obedt Servt

Geo: Clinton

LS, DLC:GW; copy, CtY: U.S. Presidents Collection. Clinton’s signed note on the cover indicates that this letter was sent “favoured by Colo: Willit.”

2The community of Cherry Valley in Otsego County, N.Y., about seven miles east of Lake Otsego and about fifty miles west of Albany, had a small garrison at the newly constructed Fort Alden. The settlement was burned by a mixed Tory and Indian force on 11 Nov. 1778.

3Some additional intelligence is given in a letter of this date from Col. Peter B. Vroman at Schoharie to Brig. Gen. Abraham Ten Broeck: “Capt. Harper a Gentleman of varicity gives me Intelligence that the Enemy are at Unidilla, very Strong amounting to nigh Three Thousand, and by one of my Scouts which arrived this afternoon brings Intelligence, that they saw four Indians within fourteen miles of this place, going from this which they supposed to be a Scout, and I believe it is very Likely, the Scout also Informs me that they staid last night in sight of one Services, a great Enemy to the Country upon the Susquahanna where they heard frequent Yellings of the savages” (DLC:GW). How and when that letter was transmitted to GW has not been determined, but another copy is in Clinton’s papers (Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 3:538–84).

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