George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Edward Hand, 20 October 1778

From Brigadier General Edward Hand

Poughkeepsie [N.Y.] 20th Octr 1778

Sir

His Excelly Gouvernor Clinton having information that the Settlement at Anaquaga is already Destroyed, & that the Enemy has retired to Chemung a Settlement 56 miles distant from thence, on the Cayhuga River, where agreable to Col. Hartleys Account they are fortifying themselves, he has drawn the Outlines of an Expedition against Chemung to be executed this fall or early in the spring as your Excelly thinks most Adviseable, with which Genl Clinton waits on you1—for my own part Considering that the Navigation of the waters leading to Chemung cant be depended on later than the middle of November, I am very Apprehensive it is too late to think of it at this Advanced Season.

Gouvernor Clinton has made Application to me in favour of the distressed inhabitants of the German Flats Settlement who have lost their All by the late depredations of the Enemy,2 importing that these people must undoubtedly evacuate that valuable part of the Country unless Supplied with Provision—they were for some time Allowed Rations at the expence of the Continent which Genl Stark has lately withheld. I cant think my self at liberty to continue that indulgence without particular Instructions, but as the military operations in that part of the Country would be much impeded by the desertion of that Settlement, have proposed to the Gouvernor to Supply them for the present by the way of loan, to be replaced by the State of N.Y. provided Congress do not direct otherwise, & that it meets your Excellys Ascent.3

I intend waiting here untill I can hear farther from your Excy as it will be Absolutely Necessary that I be fully inform’d of the plan that is to be followed in the reduction of Chemung.

The Inhabitants of the German Flats Occupied Forts Daton & Karkimer4 at the time there Settlements were destroy’d, & it is represented by them that they Still hold these places which must be Garrisoned by Continental Troops if the Inhabitants move away. I am Sir your Excellys most Obedt and most Hble Servt

Edwd Hand

ALS, DLC:GW. The extract of this letter that GW enclosed in his letter to Henry Laurens of 22–23 Oct. has not been found.

1Hand is referring to Col. Thomas Hartley’s letter to Congress of 8 Oct., a copy of which Henry Laurens has enclosed in his letter to GW of 13 Oct. (see note 4 to that document) and which GW had enclosed in his letter to George Clinton of 19 October. For Clinton’s plan of 20 Oct. for an expedition to the Iroquois village of Chemung, which was located on the Chemung River, a tributary of the East Branch of the Susquehanna River, see Clinton to GW, 21 Oct., and note 2 to that document; see also the report on that subject from Clinton, Hand, and Philip Schuyler, 22 Oct., in GW to Henry Laurens, 26–27 Oct., n.6. For the recent destruction of the Iroquois village of Oquaga by an American expedition led by Lt. Col. William Butler, see John Stark to GW, 18 Oct., and note 1 to that document.

2For the burning of German Flats on 17 Sept. by an Indian and Loyalist force, see George Clinton to GW, 20, 24 Sept., and note 1 to each of those documents.

3Washington approved this arrangement in his reply to Hand of 21 October. Hand wrote Gov. George Clinton from Albany on 18 Nov.: “The Commissary at the Garman Flatts has Represented to me, that much imposition is practised in drawing Provision for the Inhabitants. He says that many who are very Opulent & have Provision of their Own to sell to the Commissary, are permitted to draw the same from him as Rations, at the Public Expence” (Hastings and Holden, 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 , 4:297–99). Col. Peter Bellinger, however, wrote Clinton on 22 Nov. from German Flats: “I must beg leave to inform you, that the poor distressed inhabitants [of German Flats] has been without Provision, now for fourteen Days, not having any Flour to serve them” (Hastings and Holden, 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 , 4:304).

4Hand is referring to forts Dayton and Herkimer.

Index Entries