George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 15 January 1781

From Brigadier General James Clinton

Albany 15th January—1781


I have been honor’d with your Excellency’s two favours of the 19th & 26th Ultimo.1 I wish it were in my power to inform your Excellency that our supplies in this Quarter were either more regular, or our prospects more flattering than they are. But a general deficiency of every article necessary for the Troops is the melancholy Fact—I have repeatedly and in the most pressing terms applied to the State Agents in this department for the necessary supplies, particularly for Fort schuyler—But instead of collecting a Quantity for that post, the Troops quartered in Schenectady—Saratoga and this place, have not been supplied with Flour scarcly half the Time. I beg leave to refer your Excellency to the enclosed copy of a Letter from one of the Agents in Answer to my last Requisition.2 I have directed the Quarter Master to afford Mr Shepherd every possible Assistance agreeably to your Excellency’s instructions, but there are several Articles which cannot be procured without cash.3

Colonel Courtland is ordered to march to Fort Schuyler with the next Convoy, as I had, previous to the receipt of your Excellency’s favour of the 26 Ult. directed Lieut. Col. Cochran to relieve L. Col. Wisenfelt.4

The returns of the two Regiments as they now stand in the new Establishment should have been sent down by this Express, but waiting to hear the determination of Lieut. Col. Bruyn and Major Logan, if it should meet your Excellency’s approbation, I will send them down as they stand.5

Major Fish who has acted some time past as Deputy Adjutant General at West point is much wanted in this department I have written for him, but he declines coming up—I wish to know if it is your Excellency’s pleasure that he should continue at the point or join his Corps—I have the honor to be with great Respect Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servant

James Clinton

P.S. I wish to know how the Supernumery non Commissioned Officers are to be returned on the new Arrangement.

LS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys wrote “Not ansd” on the docket.

1See GW to Clinton, 19 Dec. (first letter), and 26 Dec. 1780, found at Clinton to GW, 20 Dec., n.3.

2The enclosed letter from Isaac Stoutenburgh to Clinton, written at Albany on this date, reads: “In answer to your Honor’s Letter of this Day I am sorry to say that although we have made use of every exertion in our power we conceive it will be impossible to supply Fort Schuyler and the other posts in this department even during the present Winter, unless we are supplied with Cash to purchase, or are assisted with supplies from our principal, we have lately wrote to him on the subject, but have not as yet received his answer, The Troops at Schenectady Saratoga and this Post are with the utmost dificulty supplied from Day to Day with Flour from the Wheat drawn from the Inhabitants by assessments a mode which it is unnecessary to mention is so disagreeable to the Country in general that we fear we shall not be able to draw in the small quantities now due without the interposition of the Military—but even this supply if we were now possessed of the whole would be greatly inadequate to what is necessary for satisfying your Honor’s present demands” (DLC:GW).

3In his first letter of 19 Dec., GW asked that Clinton’s quartermaster give his assistance in repairing the armory at Albany to facilitate the repair of damaged arms.

4GW had directed Clinton to order Col. Goose Van Schaick of the 1st New York Regiment to Fort Schuyler to relieve Lt. Col. Frederick Weissenfels (see GW to Clinton, 26 Dec. 1780, found at Clinton to GW, 20 Dec., n.3). Col. Philip Van Cortlandt and Lt. Col. Robert Cochran were the senior officers in the 2d New York Regiment.

5Returns listing the names, ranks, and dates of commission for the officers in the 1st and 2d New York regiments, dated 1 Jan. 1781, are in NNebgGW. For the new establishment of the Continental army, see General Orders, 1 Nov. 1780.

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