George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Clinton, 22 May 1781

Albany May 22d-23 1781.


I have been honoured with your Excellencies favour of the 18th Inst. agreeable to the Governors Advice I consulted Generals Rensselaer and Gansevoort, the Mayor in Council, and several other Gentlemen whom I could confide in respecting the abandoning Fort Schuyler, and establishing a Post at the German Flatts, who were unanimous in opinion that under our present Circumstance the Fort Should be evacuated and the Garrison removed to Fort Herkermer. I have this day given over accordingly as will appear by a Copy of a Letter herewith inclosed to Colo. Cochran --If we errect works at the German Flatts an Engineer will be much wanted for that Purpose. Last night I received an Express from Genl schuyler which contains all the news I have at present from the Northward; for the information of which I refer your Excellency to his Letter.

I am confident the Enemy intend something serious against our Frontier. we have but few men to the Northward, as Colo. Cortlandt’s Regiment with part of the new Levies will be for a Considerable time employed to assist in the evacuation of Fort Schuyler. I would wish to have the other six Companies of the Brigade which are at west Point could I see any prospect of Supplying them with Provisions. I have been able to procure a Quantity of Flour by impress, the Chief of which appears to be purchas’d for the use of the French Army which is Considerable amounting to near three thousand Barrels. I have not been able to procure one Barrel of Beef or Fish. the Flour I have not yet removed but the Purchasers have promised not to send it off without my Notice or Consent.

23d May

Since yesterday I have detain’d my Letter expecting to receive farther intelligence from the Northward. Last Night Hagenbottom the pretended deserter, and, M[eaker] of the first New York Regiment were brought to Town. they are both in Irons and Close Confined; at the [same]time a Second Letter for your Excellency from Genl Schuyler was received which was left open for my Perusal, and contains all the news at present from that Quarter. I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s most Obedt Humbe servt

James Clinton

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Albany May 22d 1781


My Express has returned from Head Quarters. I have thought proper to abandon Fort Schuyler, you will therefore immediately on receipt hereof convey down the Magazine, Stores &c. with all possible dispatch to Fort Herkermer, demolish the works, march down the Garrison, and take post at Fort Herkermer. I have ordered Colo. Cortlandt to return with his Boats who will give You all the assistance in his power. I suppose the Boats will not be able to convey the stores all in one Trip they must therefore continue untill they have compleated the evacuation. the most valuable stores you’ll send off first with some of the provisions the remainder you will detain untill the last. I shall order up some Tents and advise post to be taken on Franks Hill, on the South side of the River where I recommend works to be thrown up and Cannon mounted. as there will be a Quantity of Ammunition I wish you to send down some of the[m] together with the most valuable artillery, to schonectady untill the works can be [made] Tenable; as I have reason to apprehend the Enemy will make an incursion on our Frontier perhaps both from the west and [North].

After you have removed the stores you will make an entire demolishment of the works, march the Garrison to Fort Herkermer, as first directed, and wait for further orders. I am &c.

James Clinton

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