George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Stark, 8 August 1778

From Brigadier General John Stark

Head Quarters Albany 8th August 1778

Dear Sir

since my last1 nothing Extraordinary has Turned up, in this Department, Except Seven Deserters from Canada, who shall be sent to you as soon as possible—Colo. Butler has sent four Torys from the frontiers—I Inclose you a Letter found with one of them, & am in hopes by this time that the Writer is a Prisoner Likewise.2

I am Informed that forty Indians, from the Enemitical Tribes, are on their way to this place, to make a Treaty with us, while their young men are Cutting our throats3—I think untill their Insolence, is Chastised in a Severe Manner, we never can Expect peace in this Quarter.

the Bearer hereof Majr Quackingbush,4 h⟨as⟩ found 55 Shells, 12 Boxes Musquet Balls, one Vice, & one pair Handscrews, in the River, near Saratoga, it is Reported that the Enemy Sunk some Cannon in the River, before their Surrender last year, should think a further Search would be Necessary, but by Reason of the Scarcity of men, in this Department, it has been Neglected. I am Sir with Great Respect Your Humble Sevt

John Stark


2In the enclosed letter from Charles Smith to Joseph Brant, written from Harper’s Patent, N.Y., on 27 July, Smith explained that the harvest had retarded his efforts to raise troops for Brant: “But know as Most of them has got thare grane Taken Care of I Expect Maney To Cum With Me But hare is one thing that hinders tha are a frade that the Reabels Will Ruen them Before We Cum to thare Asistence and tha are a frade to Leave home But I gives them the gratest of Incuragements as I Think it My Duty So to Do But them Men that Left younedelle [Unadilla] has Discuraged the pepel and Sayd that We Sufferd for preavisons and that the Indens Took thare plunder from them and for that Reason hinderd Maney from Cumming to Joyn Us But it Being My Duty I Told them it Was fals and No Truth in it But that We had the Best of yousege givin and grate Plenty of preavisons and What We Wanted Was that the frinds of goverment Might Cum and Show thare Selve that tha Might Not Suffer With tha Reabels I Was a Cumming out to Se you But Meting Archabl Tomson I have Now Reaturned to Bring out My Men and Joyn as Soon as posabl I Bring them from Basick and from the Bever Dam and from the Healeaborake [Helderberg] and them parts But I am Oblidged To Say More then the Truth to Incurage them to Cum out I Shall give you to Under Stand that tha Expect you at Schoharra and Makes all the preaprarasons tha Can But the Cuntry is in grate Confuson and But few Men to Be had for tha are all Struck With Tarrow and Tha Expect the Shipping Up the River Soon and the Nothern Armey I Under Stand has gaven them a Sad Stroke and tha Sent Word to albany for More Men or Elce Tha Must Surander I Shall See you Soon I hope and I Shall March in the frunt of My Men panted and Sum or all of My Men So ples to give Notice To My Breathern of it” (DLC:GW; see also New-York Journal, and the General Advertiser [Poughkeepsie], 17 Aug. 1778, and other newspapers). Lt. Col. William Butler’s troops “Kill’d Smith & Brought in his Scalp” (Butler to George Clinton, 13 Aug. 1778, in 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 , 3:631). The prisoner with the letter was Archibald Thompson, who settled in Niagara after the war and was awarded a small sum by the Loyalist claims commission for lost property. For more about the deserters, see John Taylor to Clinton, 9 Aug., ibid., 3:616–17.

3A letter from Albany dated 9 Aug., published in the Connecticut Courant, and the Weekly Intelligencer (Hartford), 25 Aug., stated that “Forty Indians came in here yesterday, under the conduct of Mr. Deane, (the Agent and interpreter appointed by Congress for the Indian department) to sue for peace, some Oneida’s, who are true hearts, some Onondoga’s, and some Tuscurora’s, whose designs are suspicious. These treaties serve only for a decoy, whilst some of their tribes are executing the most diabolical designs. They will meet with a very cold reception.” At the Indians’ meeting with the commissioners on 15 Aug., the Onondaga delegation reported that they had been unable to get other tribes to come to a treaty meeting but pledged that they would maintain peace, although they acknowledged that fifteen of their warriors had joined the enemy (DNA:PCC, item 166).

4Stark may have been referring to Nicholas Quackenbush (1734–1813), an assistant deputy quartermaster general with the rank of major.

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