George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Goose Van Schaick, 21 August 1780

From Colonel Goose Van Schaick

Albany August 21st 1780


When I had the Honor of receiving your Excellencies favor of the 31st Ultimo, I was in Tryon County where I met General Van Rensselaer returning from Fort Schuyler1—The enemy while the General was marching up with the State Levies, & the Militi⟨a⟩ of Tryon disappeared from before Fort Schuyler & proceeded down to Canajohary, burnt near one hundred houses, & as many Barns, captured thirty four Women & Children, Massacred twelve, from thence they returned towards the Susquahanna,2 & in a few days after made a Descent on Schohary; here they burnt twelve Houses, & have by information taken and killed a larger number of the Inhabitants than at the former place, & it is expected the remainder of Schohary will share the same fate.3 The Indians are seen daily in small parties, & take prisoners & Scalps, Schonectady is threatned & the Inhabitant⟨s⟩ are moving their Effects to Albany with all dispatch seeing no appearance of support, & numbers going off to the enemy daily—The impress Warran⟨t⟩ transmitted me by Governour Clinton I put immediately in the hands of those persons appointed by the State Agent to procure supplies for the Army these have as yet brought forth nothing, & it is the General opinion, that plan will not have the desired effect. Three hundred & Seventy of the Massachussets Militia have arrived & gone to the Western Frontiers,4 & the Militia of this City are returned much chagrined to see so fine a Country given up to the destruction of the enemy, who take burn & destroy, all before them; setting aside the sufferings & distresses of the unfortunate Inhabitants The fine Crops which are lost would have amply paid the expence of a respectable body of Troop being kept on the Frontiers, which would have been a Check to every thing but small scouting parties. By a Letter I have received from Fort Schuyler of the 16th5 I find the minds of that Garrison are more disaffected to their situation & circumstances than ever; the true reason of Brant with his parties appearing before the Garrison was, the fullest assurances had been given him, that they would join him to a Man, indeed from their Situation & the great deficulty I have been under in procuring only a few pair of Shoes, it is what I have expected daily to hear, & they are made to believe they are to remain until their three Years are finished.6 I am most respectfully Your Excellencies most obedient humble servant

G. V. Schaick


1For the threat to Fort Schuyler, N.Y., see Van Schaick to GW, 29 July (both letters [letter 1; letter 2]), and the notes to those documents.

2For another report of the attack on Canajoharie, N.Y., see Philip Schuyler to GW, 10 Aug., and n.2.

3For more on this raid on Schoharie, N.Y., see George Clinton to Albert Pawling and Anthony Van Bergen, 10 Aug., in 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 , 6:93–94.

4For the order diverting this militia to the New York frontier, see GW to John Fellows, 31 July.

5This letter has not been identified.

6In his reply of 28 Aug., GW informed Van Schaick that although no Continental army troops were available to reinforce the frontier, he was ordering the New York levies under Col. William Malcom to march to Fort Schuyler to relieve Van Schaick’s 1st New York Regiment (DLC:GW).

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