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Letter from General Schuyler to the President of Congress



[Read 13th September. Referred to Board of War.]

Albany, September 8, 1776.

SIR: I did myself the honour to address Congress in a letter of the 16th August. As I humbly conceive Congress could have decided on that part of it which respected my disagreeable situation with very little interruption to those momentous concerns of the publick which claim their attention, I have reason to believe that either my letter or the answer to u has miscarried; and as the calumny against me daily increases, I take the liberty to enclose a copy of that letter, and again request that a committee or court may be instituted to inquire into every part of my conduct since I have been honoured with the command in the Northern Department; for, however little the publick may be interested, it is of some moment to a man conscious of the rectitude of his conduct, that he should be justified and his character cleared from aspersions that may involve him and his family, in this jealous day, into a variety of difficulties.

In obedience to the resolutions of Congress of the 6th July, I have stated the late General Montgomery' s accounts as far as I was capable to do it, with the papers transmitted to me from Canada by General Wooster; amongst which there is not any book or memorandum in which it is noted what money the deceased General received either from me or any other person. I have, therefore, only charged what money he received from or through me, and struck the balance, against which is to be put the money he received in Canada from Mr˙ Price, or others; and what that is, may probably be determined by Congress. Copy of the General' s account of disbursements I lodged in the pay-office here; and I believe most, if not all, that was advanced as pay to officers and soldiers is stopped by the Paymaster-General; but I believe very little of that for contingent expenses is yet accounted for.

When I received General Montgomery' s papers, I caused my Secretary and Assistant Secretary to open, examine, and make schedules of them, as you will see by their certificates endorsed.

As the Commissioners appointed to settle accounts in this department are not furnished with copies or abstracts of disbursements made by the several commanders in Canada,


and by Mr˙ Price and others, they will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to liquidate the various accounts that will become the subject of their inspection. They should also be furnished with what money sent me by Congress, and which I stand charged with, and with what has been sent to the Paymaster-General in this department; for although I can give credit for what I have received, yet that may not be satisfactory to them. I have mentioned this to the gentlemen that are here, (Mr˙ Wells and Mr˙ Carter,) and desired them to apply for the necessary papers.

Every kind of clothing for the army, but shoes and stockings especially, are so absolutely necessary, and such great demands are daily made for them, that a mode of supply claims the most early attention. Could not yarn socks, to rise as high as the ancle, be procured in Pennsylvania I The leg-part might be supplied with Indian stockings, which, as they are much more lasting and more comfortable for the men in cold weather, would ultimately be cheaper.

As the publick labours under such difficulty for a supply of shoes, and that the demand will increase in a future campaign, perhaps Congress may think proper to appoint persons to erect a tan-yard in some part of the country where the materials for tanning can be most handily procured, and to which the hides from both armies in this Colony can be the easiest and most expeditiously conveyed. This, though perhaps not the cheapest mode of supplying the army, would conceive, be the most effectual.

General Trumbull has sent to the amount of £2,206 6 lawful, in clothing, to the Northern Army, and was trying to procure more, as also tents for the troops. He has desired me to advise Congress of this.

The season advances so fast that it is time to think of preparing the Winter quarters for such troops as are not to be kept in garrison. The commander in this department should be advised of the intentions of Congress on this head the soonest possible, that barracks may be prepared at such places as Congress may direct, and magazines of fuel, straw, &c˙, provided in time. Perhaps it would be best not to canton the troops too far from Ticonderoga, as it may be supposed that an attempt will be made by the enemy in the course of the Winter on that post, or at least they will try to burn our navy in order to ensure their passage over the Lake in a future campaign. The barracks in this place will not contain above five hundred men, (if the Hospital is not occupied as a barrack, and I fear it will be wanted for the use of the sick.) If new ones are to be built, would it not be best to erect them in such parts of the country above, where the soldiers can at once have the advantage of purchasing vegetables, and where a plenty of firewood can be procured at a rate so easy as to make it an object worthy of attention, and where the materials for building are to be procured greatly cheaper than in town ? Stillwater or Saratoga might be proper places. The amazing quantity of nails that were necessary for so many batteaus and vessels as we have built, has most effectually drained the country of that indispensably necessary article. All we can now get are from the blacksmiths, at a most immoderate price. I wish to have a quantity sent by way of Hackinsack to Hudson' s River, and forwarded as soon as possible to this place. A very onsiderable quantity of glass will also be wanted, and cannot be procured anywhere nearer than Philadelphia.

As there is no appointment of a Deputy Adjutant-General in this department, Colonel John Trumbull now acts as such under a temporary appointment of General Gates. As he is active, discreet, and sensible, I beg leave to recommend him to Congress to be confirmed in that post.

The originals of the enclosed from Colonel Dayton came to hand on the 6th instant. I have requested the Committee of this County to order all the Militia to march into Tryon County; but before they can be ready, I expect further information from Colonel Dayton.

I have requested a further supply of ammunition from General Washington, which I shall soon have if he can spare any; but lest he should not have any to send, I must entreat Congress to forward both powder and ball in considerable quantities.

Since writing the above, a letter from General Gates, of the 5th instant, is come to hand. He observes that "as the fleet is large and mounts a number of cannon, and the body of troops here very considerable, it is immediately


necessary that fifteen tons of powder, ten of lead, with flints and cartridge-paper in proportion, should be sent to this post." I have not any of the articles here, and must entreat that they may be sent with all expedition. My Secretary and Aids-de-Camp have hitherto mustered the troops as they passed. I deferred making a temporary appointment, as I was in hopes Congress would have sent a muster-master; but the necessity is now so pressing that I have requested General Gates to appoint one if he can find a person fit for it; if not, to advise me thereof, and I would try to procure one here. Since I received the resolution of Congress that no officer should hold double commissions, I have attempted to procure a proper person to reside at Fort George as an Assistant Deputy Quartermaster-General in the room of Lieutenant-Colonel Buel, (of Burrell' s,) who was appointed one last Spring; but I have not yet succeeded. Persons fit for such employments, where judgment and activity are both so essentially necessary, are not easily procured, especially where so many of them are wanted. I mention this lest Congress should imagine that I had wilfully omitted obeying the resolution.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient, humble servant,


To the President of Congress.

P˙ S˙ Colonel Dayton cannot be short of salt provisions, as he mentions, unless the Commissary at his post has made a false return. He has had a constant supply of fresh meat since his last return, copy whereof I now enclose,