George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Philip Schuyler, 16 February 1779

To Major General Philip Schuyler

Middle brook Feby 16th 79.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 4th is this minute come to hand, and at the instant an Express was setting out for Fish kill—I will not delay a moment therefore in yielding my entire consent to your ordering an additional number of Batteaux—sufficient for the purposes mentioned in the above letter—that in case events should invite—& circumstances justify the extension of our views in the course of the Campaign we may not be at a stand for the means.1

I have to thank you much for your sentiments on the intended Expedition; and shall beg that you will continue to furnish me with your observations as they may, from time to time occur, I shall stand in much need of information, and can depend upon yours.2

I thank you also for the order given respecting the Forage, and the Timber for the 20 Gun Ship; could you provide plank for it also, with the Carpenters now engaged, without impeding the building of Batteauxs, I shall readily consent to it; altho it is a deviation from the general line I am to pursue.

I highly approve of your reason for establishing a Post at Fort George, & wish you to dispose of the other force in that Quarter in such a Manner as will facilitate the ends in view—this will comprehend, as far as the strength there will enable you, a Post for the security of Stony Arabia3—I shall take up no more of your time at present than to assure you, that I am with every sentiment of esteem & Affection Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt & Obligd

G. W——n

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW is responding to items that do not appear in the surviving extract of Schuyler’s letter to him of 4 February.

1In a letter of 17 Feb. from Middlebrook, Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote to his deputy in the northern department, Col. Morgan Lewis, how he had seen on the previous day a letter from Schuyler to GW “wherein he informs him that the materials are prepar’d for building a large number of Batteaux, in which Letter he also suggests the propriety of making a sufficient number for the purpose of the first expedition—He offers two reasons for the measure—one is, that it will be attended with little additional expense—The other is, that boats will be in readiness for any other offensive operations that the change of circumstances may render necessary to persue hereafter—His Excellency appear’d fully satisfy’d that the business of the Batteaux building go on, providing circumstances are as General Schuyler has hinted. you will persue it therefore until you hear further from me, and in the mean time, give me a full account of the state of the Materials provided for the purpose” (DNA:PCC, item 173; see also Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:271). Writing again to Lewis on 27 Feb., Greene said that GW “informs me he has directed General Schuyler to get as many Battaeux made as may serve for the original plan of the Indian expedition.

“He also informs me he has given the General full instructions respecting you and that you are to follow his directions.

“You will take his orders accordingly notwithstanding any thing I have wrote upon the matter” (DNA:PCC, item 173; see also GW to Greene, 24 Feb.).

2In a letter of 20 Feb. from Philadelphia, New York delegate James Duane wrote to Schuyler, saying in response to a letter of 5 Feb. from him that GW “has a great Esteem for, and writes confidentially to you. I need therefore say nothing on the military preparations you mention. Every Department & Detachment of the Army are put under his immediate Care, and Congress have the most unlimited Confidence in his Wisdom & Judgement as well As his Zeal and Integrity. Congress I believe wish to give all his Operations what none have had hitherto, the advantage of Secrecy: for which Reason they have not been the subject of debate, & I fancy you are one of a very few with whom they are entrusted. I do not say this on account of Caution: to you it is unnecessary. I have Reason to think the General while attending Congress, or rather a Select Committee of five, expressed to many Members his Reluctance at your quitting the Army” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:97–98).

3For a recommendation that a post of 150 men be established at or near Fort George at the southern tip of Lake George, N.Y., see Schuyler to GW, 30 Nov. 1778. Stone Arabia is about fifty-eight miles southwest from the location of Fort George.

Index Entries