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General Schuyler to Elisha Phelps


[No˙ 3.]

Ticonderoga, November 7, 1775.

SIR: Your letter of the 31st October, with the accounts it enclosed, was delivered me on the 5th instant, by Mr˙ French.

You say you have examined Mr˙ French' s account, which you now send me, and find nothing in it but what is fair and reasonable. I have also examined it, and believe


it to be just; and in the enclosed state you will perceive that, after every charge is made, with the addition of £27 for transporting baggage for the troops under Colonel Ritzema, his whole account, up to the 11th September, inclusive, amounts to no more than £1,233 10s˙ 1d˙ Why, then, did you charge in your account Mr˙ French' s bill for provisions, boating, and wagons, £1,638 15s˙ 8d˙, the particulars of which were then in your possession, as Mr˙ French has here frankly acknowledged, in the presence of three gentlemen; and, indeed, that you knew the exact quantity of provisions he had forwarded, I had sufficient proof of before, from under your own hand, of which I have convinced Mr˙ French.

I know that it is difficult to ascertain the loads of baggage that have been rid; it is not even necessary, except in the accounts; but why, out of the money which I have given you, have you not paid such wagoners as produced their certificates? Does my warrant express that it was for any particular payments? Had I any more than your first general account when I gave that warrant? Did not that warrant reach Albany about the very time, or even before you arrived at this place with the particulars of your account; and did not I tell you here, that the baggage wagons should have twelve shillings per day? You know I did, and in the presence of gentlemen who recollect it.

You say, when you drew up the first stating of your accounts, they were in a manner incorrect and uncertain. It is as evident as that two and two is four, from the very face of the first account, that you had the bills for the articles purchased, as also those for freight, and those for keeping the sick. I have already observed that you had Mr˙ French' s, and that I can prove it; and I have it from under your own hand, that you knew, at the very time you made that account, the exact number of carriages that had carried provisions to Fort George, as well those charged in Mr˙ French' s account as part of the £1,638 15s˙ 8d˙, as those charged in your account to the amount of £2,635 10s˙; and the remaining articles were of trifling amount.

You go on, Sir, and say "you made an accurate cast of the wagons and ox teams employed to carry provisions to the lake, which, if you remember right, was about three hundred wagons and fifty ox teams; and, from the best accounts you had, you thought the baggage wagons might amount to as much more, and about twenty ox teams," for which reason you included them; this is not only a curious, but a very extraordinary assertion. You made an accurate cast. Here you confess that you had it in your power to know exactly what provisions went, and you thought the baggage wagons might amount to about three hundred, and about twenty ox carts. This would be a round sum, nothing less than £1190, if they had not been detained one day. But you knew, Sir, that Mr˙ French had charged for carrying up Colonel Waterbury' s corps, which consisted of one thousand men, complete, and that it amounted only to £106 2s˙, including £33 18s˙ for carrying the provisions Colonel Waterbury had with him. You are then, Sir, a most wretched calculator to suppose that the other troops that were sent up previous to the 11th September, and which you will find, on examination, not to exceed fifteen hundred men, at most, should have amounted to such a sum.

But, Sir, the assertion is not true, that you made a charge of baggage wagons in the first six hundred and five, for these reasons:

First. Because you confess you have no account of them, and these six hundred and five wagons were charged as per receipts.

Secondly. Because I can prove, from under your own hand, by your own returns, that you had forwarded provisions to that amount, including what you delivered to Mr˙ French; and that you included all that in your account, although you knew that Mr˙ French had charged it in his.

And lastly. Because you here confessed, in the presence of Mr˙ Bedford, the Muster-Master General, Captain Buell, and Captain Varick, that you were convinced there was an overcharge, but did not know how it happened; protesting then that you were innocent of any intentional fraud, which, for your sake, I hope that you will fix on the persons that were.

The other trifling charges which you mention to have


made by mistake, I can conceive to be very possible: they are to be rectified.

The baggage of General Wooster' s Regiment is upon a footing with all the other, and to be paid as those of the New-York Regiments, without any discrimination, for which I shall give order.

You have, Sir, by this time received the copy of my letter to the Committee of Albany. I enclose this to that respectable body, and beg them, after reading it, to deliver it to you.

I have found you, Sir, to say the least I can, incompetent to the charge that was conferred on you. I dare not give you a warrant for any more money; and you are, therefore, to observe the enclosed orders, which I expect you will not make the least delay in complying with, that the publick creditors may be immediately paid, and the service not suffer; and that I may in future have no complaints that the people remain unpaid, who have become the honest creditors of the publick.

I am, Sir, your humble servant,


To Mr˙ Elisha Phelps, Deputy Commissary.