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General Schuyler to President of Congress



[Read October 31, 1775.]

Ticonderoga, Wednesday, October 18, 1775.

SIR : Since my last of the 5th inst˙, General Montgomery has favoured me with several letters, extracts whereof I do myself the honour to enclose you.

The General' s complaint, in No˙ 1 , that he wants men, is too well founded; the enclosed return will show how much the Army is reduced by sickness, &c. At that time, all the men that I could send were on the way to join him, and they arrived on the 9th, as you will see by No˙ 2 . It is too true that very few of the men he sends to this post return. The greater part of them are so averse to going back that they pretend sickness and skulk about; and some, even officers, go away without leave, nor can I get the better of them, although I do not suffer a ration of provision to be issued unless I countersign the order, and the sick, or pretended sick, do not get half allowance.

What little money I have been able to procure at Albany, I have sent on. I fear the want of specie will be fatal to us, should every thing else go well. The Canadians have suffered much by paper currency, and a burnt child dreads the fire.

Two hundred and fifty-three of General Wooster' s Regiment came across Lake George on Sunday, but the General is not yet arrived, and they do not choose to move until he does. Do not choose to move! Strange language in an Army; but the irresistible force of necessity obliges me to put up with it. This morning I gave an order to Lieutenant-Colonel Ward to send a subaltern, a sergeant, corporal, and twenty privates, in two batteaus, to carry powder, artillery stores, and rum. The Colonel (who is a good man) called upon me to know if he would not be blamed by General Wooster for obeying my orders. I begged him to send the men, and urged the necessity. The men, I believe, will condescend to go. I could give many instances of a similar nature; but General Montgomery has most justly and emphatically given the reasons: "Troops who carry the spirit of freedom into the field, and think for themselves," will not bear either subordination or discipline.

If there is any foundation in the report that the garrison intend quitting St˙ John' s, I conjecture it must arise from


intelligence that Mr˙ Carleton may have received of Colonel Arnold' s approach. Should the garrison effect their escape, it may go hard with Arnold, whose numbers, in so long and fatiguing a march, must be considerably diminished. I have therefore requested General Montgomery to send immediate intelligence of his situation and prospects, that Colonel Arnold may govern himself accordingly.

I am deeply impressed with the necessity of putting this place in a proper posture of defence. I have wrote on the subject to Congress before; but I have now only sixty-five effectives here, (exclusive of General Wooster' s,) who are insufficient for the necessary works carrying on.

I cannot help observing that the reasons General Montgomery gave in support of his opinion, for having a battery on the west side, appear to me so cogent that I wonder the Council of War should be opposed to it; but he was certainly right to acquiesce in their determination, as I am morally sure, if he had not, that the men would have been troublesome.

I have no prospect of getting my health re-established at this place; but in the present critical moment I dare not leave it. Much, very much, is to be done, whether we succeed or fail in Canada. The distance between this and Philadelphia is so great, and the season so far advanced, that the least delays may be attended with the most fatal consequences. I therefore humbly submit it to Congress, if it would not be best to send up a Committee with full powers to direct our future operations; to me, such a measure appears highly necessary.

General Wooster is just arrived here. As he was appointed a Major-General by the Colony of Connecticut, and as I did not know his sentiments with respect to the rank he considered himself in, in the Continental Army, my intentions were to have him remain at this post; but assuring me that his Regiment would not move without him, and that although he thought hard of being superseded, yet he would most readily put himself under the command of General Montgomery; that his only views were the publick service, and that no obstructions, of any kind, would be given by him; this spirited and sensible declaration I received with inexpressible satisfaction, and he moves tomorrow with the first division of his Regiment.

Mr˙ Bedford has mustered such of the New York troops as he possibly could; they were so scattered that it was morally impossible he could see the whole. He has done every thing in his power to fulfil his duty, without being able to complete it. The reasons of this failure are various. He will inform the honourable Congress why the Connecticut troops were not mustered. I have directed him to return to Philadelphia, and report what has been done. Previous to his departure, I desired him to deputize Mr˙ McPherson, my Aid-de-Camp, in case it should be possible to make another muster, which, I believe, will hardly take place this campaign.

I am, Sir, with the most respectful esteem, your and Congress' s most obedient and most humble servant,


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