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General Schuyler to the President of Congress



Ticonderoga, November 27, 1775.

SIR: In my letter of the 20th instant, I observed that about six hundred and fifty or seven hundred of the troops raised in Connecticut remained in Canada. I have not had a return from thence, but, from the best information I have been able to procure, and from former returns, I am convinced they do not exceed two hundred. The enclosed state, though imperfect, will exhibit nearly our force in Canada.

It may be asked why Warner' s Regiment were suffered to come away, and some other of the troops raised in this Colony, as the term for which they were engaged would not expire until the last day of next month. The unhappy cause is this: at St˙ John' s the Connecticut troops were so very importunate to return home, that General Montgomery was under the necessity of promising that all those that would follow him to Montreal should have leave to return. This declaration he could not confine to the Connecticut troops, as such a discrimination would have been odious. It might have been expected that men influenced by a sense of liberty would not have required such a promise, and that others, to whom it was not immediately intended, would not have taken the advantage of it; but all this flows from the same unhappy source with the other disorders too prevalent in our troops — a want of subordination and discipline, an evil which may prove fatal to us.

Few of the troops now in Canada will be able to come away until they can cross upon the ice; but as soon as that happens, I believe the greater part will return; and should we not be able to possess ourselves of Quebeck, which it is probable we will not if Colonel Arnold met with any opposition, as the weather has been so exceedingly severe that no troops could lie out, the consequences may be very deplorable. Perhaps it may be thought necessary, all circumstances considered, to raise three thousand men in Pennsylvania and New-Jersey, and order them to rendezvous with all possible despatch at Albany, to prepare and be ready to march as soon as the lakes are passable, conducted by whatever officer Congress shall appoint to command in that quarter.

General Washington writes me that he is in very great want of powder, lead, mortars, cannon, and most sorts of artillery stores, and begs that I will send him all that can be spared from this quarter. What operations Congress may intend to carry on this way, I do not know, and consequently cannot determine if any can be spared; but at present none can be sent, as we must wait until lake George is frozen over, in order to transport them. The little powder here is going to New-York, agreeable to the order of Congress. Lead we have little left, and all the ordnance and military stores in Canada are either carried off or destroyed by General Carleton, except what was taken at St˙ John' s, and what was sent from hence.

As the Ministry seem determined to carry on the war with spirit, would it not be advisable, as soon as there is good sledding, to remove all the prisoners from Connecticut


to some of the interior Towns in Pennsylvania; both because it will enable the former Colony to oppose more men, and save the expense of transporting provisions from Hudson' s River for the supply of the eastern Armies, which I think I can foresee must be the case in the next campaign.

27th, two o' clock. — I have this moment received a letter from General Montgomery, copy of which I do myself the honour to enclose you. In a note of the 20th, he advises me that he hoped to proceed towards Quebeck the next day; but complains that the troops leave him in great numbers, and of the Green Mountain Boys especially, who had promised to go down with him.

I could wish Mr˙ Mason to be confirmed as Postmaster at Montreal. I shall make a temporary appointment of one at Albany; but I did not think that the army letters should pay postage, and have therefore wrote to Mr˙ Hazard to deliver them gratis, until he receives orders from the Postmaster-General on this head.

I am informed that all the vessels in which Mr˙ Carleton had embarked himself, his troops and stores, have surrendered by capitulation; that Carleton got on shore, and was gone towards Quebeck. I believe it to be true, and hope soon to give you authentick intelligence of it.

The schooner and row-galley taken at St˙ John' s are just arrived here, together with our sloop and schooner, full of prisoners and their baggage. I am much distressed to get them on, my cattle fairly worn nut, and only six horses, which I sent for from my own stables, and the boats that go from the landing to Fort George do not return above once in eight days from thence, as I have few men there, and the troops that are going home will not by any means send a few hands to bring them back.

I have issued warrants for raising three Companies. I hope they will be up before the first of January, as I cannot get any of the few men here to re-engage.

The gentlemen of the Committee are not yet arrived.

28th. — At four this afternoon I was agreeably surprised with the sight of Brigadier-General Prescott and the officers taken with him from on board the vessels. Enclose you the several returns sent me by General Montgomery, who was so hurried with his preparations for descending to Quebeck, that he could not find time to send me the terms which he gave Prescott.

I am happy to learn by the gentlemen of the Committee, who arrived here at seven this evening, that Congress has ordered the prisoners to Pennsylvania. As those still here and on their way from Montreal will not be able to go down Hudson' s River in vessels, I propose sending them to Ulster County, for the present, as the expense of wheel carriages runs very high, and that they may be moved thence in sleds at a much cheaper rate, as soon as we have a fall of snow.

General Carleton stole from on board the vessels with six Canadians, and dressed like one of them; in this disguise he hopes to get into Quebeck; but if he does, the weather has been so severe that I trust he will not be able to leave it, and then he must fall into our hands in the course of this winter, if not immediately.

I find that it is the intentions of the New-York Congress that the troops raised in that Colony should pay for their underclothes that were given them. I cannot learn that the troops expected to have any thing stopped out of their wages on that account. The greatest part of them are now in Canada, and I fear that few of them will remain in the service if that should be the case. I could wish, therefore, for the immediate determination of Congress on this head.

I am, Sir, with sentiments of the most profound respect, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq˙, &c.