George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Philip Schuyler, 10 January 1781

To Philip Schuyler

New Windsor Jany 10th 1781

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 5th I have had the pleasure to receive.1 The event, which I have long dreaded would be the consequenc⟨e⟩ of keeping the Army without Pay, Cloathing, and (frequently without) Provision, has at length come to pass. On the Night of the first instant a general Mutiny of the Non Comd & private⟨s⟩ of the Pensyla line (near Morris town[)] took place—in attempting to suppress which, some Officers lost their lives, & others got wounded—to little effect. The Mutineers Marched off in compact & regular order by Platoons, after possessing2 themselves of the Artillery and stripping3 the Magazine of its Stores; declaring it to be their intention to go to Congress, and demand a redress of their Grievances.4

Genl Wayne who Comd & the Colonels R. Butlar & Stewart, after finding all authority and influence at an end, determined to keep with them & try lenitives; which, by what I can learn, they have practiced5 to as little effect6 as either of the other two. The line have halted at Princeton, discovering no inclination to go further; which has a bad aspect, as it is (to them) a favourable intermediate point between Congress and the enemy—and in that view very fit for their purpose of7 Negotiation.

Some powerful considerations, not proper to be communicated in a letter (—liable to Miscarriage) and the advice of the General Officers at this Post against the Mea[sur]e Strengthned by Governor Clinton’s opinion, restrained my setting out for the revolted Troops upon the first notice I had of them—In five Minutes I shall step into the Boat for West point, where I have appointed the commanding Officers of Corps to Meet Me, & think it very probable I shall proceed thence to Morristown &ca.

Mrs Washington thanks Mrs Schuyler, as I do both of you for your kind & friendly invi⟨ta⟩tion to Albany8—The distresses of the Army are too great & comp⟨li⟩cated, for me to think of private gratifications9—Our best wishes attend you, & all around your fir⟨e⟩side, and I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt & affecte Hble Serv⟨t⟩

G. Washington

P.S. I have this instant receiv’d authentic informn that the Mutineers have delivered up one of Sir Henry Clintons Emissary’s (with his guide)10 charged with written propositions very favourable to the revolted Troops tho witht any intn I am perswd of fulfilling them11—This is an unequivocal proof of their having no intention to go to the Enemy—A Comee of Congress are with them.12

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

1This letter has not been found.

2GW originally wrote “having siezed” but crossed that out and replaced it with this word.

3GW first wrote “robbed” before replacing it with this word.

4See Anthony Wayne to GW, 2 Jan., and the source note to that document.

5GW originally wrote “applied.”

6GW first wrote the words “good purpose” but crossed them out and wrote this word in their place.

7The following struck-out text appears at this point on GW’s draft: “One of their demands, as I am informed, is, that the Soldiers of 1776 and 7 shall be discharged.”

8GW wrote and marked out the following text preceding this sentence: “I need not tell you that My letter is wrote in haste—th⟨e⟩ Marks of it are sufficiently evident.”

9Schuyler presumably offered this invitation in his un-found letter to GW of 5 January. Martha Washington eventually visited the Schuylers in Albany (see Schuyler to GW, 3 April, and GW to Catharine Littlefield Greene, 22 March, both DLC:GW).

10GW wrote and struck out after this word: “who was conducting of him.”

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