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Letter from General Schuyler to General Washington



Albany, August 18, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Your Excellency' s favour of the 13th instant was delivered me about nine last evening.

I am very confident that you have pursued every measure in your power to relieve our wants in this quarter, and to facilitate the works going on to the northward. We have people in every quarter attempting to procure the variety of articles that are wanted; but after all, we shall fall considerably short. Nor did I ever doubt but that your Excellency had communicated to Congress the difficulties we laboured under for the want of money. I assure you that I always have and shall continue to advise them in time of the necessity of supplies of cash.

The resolves you mention have not been sent me, nor any about raising troops for three years, except that the officers are to have the same allowance for recruiting.

I cannot, upon recurring to my letter of the 6th instant, perceive that I intimated the least doubt of your Excellency' s not having communicated to Congress such parts of my letters as were necessary for them to know. I shall strictly comply with your order, and advise you of any information which I at the same time send you and them.

If your Excellency will please re-peruse my letter of the 6th instant, I believe you will find that it is in no part suggested that a Court of Inquiry or Court Martial was convened at New York, upon the subject alluded to. I was informed that a Council of Officers had convened at New York; I was advised of what was their decision; I was chagrined; and had the information been true, as I thought it, I believe your Excellency will do me the justice to think that I should have had too much reason to be so.

As the movement of the Army from Crown Point to Ticonderoga was so generally condemned at New York, it is more than probable that Congress must have heard it, and I therefore wish that everything I have said on the subject


should be communicated to them. I frankly confess that I first moved the matter, and that were the question to be again agitated, I should still continue of the same sentiments, unless better reasons could be given against it than those I have adduced in support of my opinion, and then I should have most readily acquiesced; or if your Excellency, without having given any reasons for it, had ordered me to move the Army back to Crown Point, I should have obeyed without hesitation or a murmur, well knowing that the orders of my superior officer are on no account to be contested.

I assure you, my dear sir, that I very reluctantly entered on a command in which I foresaw as many difficulties as I have experienced. I easily conceived, that a people whom it had been necessary to inspire with jealousy of the men in power in Great Britain, and those employed by them in this injured country, would also be easily induced, by artful and designing men, to transfer part of that jealousy to the servants of the publick here. My conjectures were well founded, for suspicion and envy have followed me from the moment I came to the command. I have experienced the most illiberal abuse in many of the Colonies, and even in the Army I commanded; and if any accident should happen to the northward, the same spirit that has imputed the misfortunes in Canada to me, will impute that also to me. I have entreated Congress to cause a minute inquiry to be made into my conduct, and I trust if it is done, that I shall not only be honourably acquitted, but that judicious men will discover in me the honest man and the faithful American. But as envy, even in that case, will not cease, nor malevolence withhold its slander, I am determined to quit the Army as soon as my conduct has been inquired into, and evince myself in private life, what I have strove to do in publick, the friend of my injured country.

Soon after Colonel Dayton' s regiment marched to Johnson-Hall, some of the officers broke open the doors and carried away a very considerable quantity of effects, contrary to mine and Colonel Dayton' s orders. Soon after my arrival at the German-Flats, I was informed of this by some of the officers, who wished an inquiry, that the innocent might not share the scandal with the guilty. I ordered a Court Martial on Lieutenant McDonald, witnesses with respect to his conduct being on the spot. He was tried and broke. In the course of his trial it appeared that a number of others were concerned; and I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel White and Captains Ross and Patterson down from Fort Stanwix. The two Captains delivered me the paper No˙ 1, in answer to which I advised them candidly to narrate the whole transaction. No˙ 2 is their narrative; and No˙ 3 contains an account of what they took; No˙ 4, with the paper enclosed in it, is what Colonel White delivered me. As I was apprehensive that a publick conviction of so many officers would reflect too much disgrace on our troops, I chose to defer any further proceedings until I should advise with your Excellency. Permit me, therefore, to entreat your opinion, whether it will be prudent for me to accept of the concessions they offer to make at the head of the regiment, and thus to bury the affair, or whether I ought to have them tried. Please to return the papers above alluded to, as I have not time to make copies of them.

Enclose your Excellency copy of a letter from Colonel Dayton, with copy of a paper enclosed in it. He has changed the name of Fort Stanwix. The Messesaga Indians mentioned in the paper, live on the west side of Lake Ontario, and of those the savages who made our people prisoners at the Cedars, were chiefly composed.

Only five quires of cartridge-paper could be procured, which I have sent Colonel Dayton. We are greatly in want of that article. Captain Varick informs me that he has written to your Excellency for it. It is not to be had anywhere nearer than New York. General Gates also presses me, in a letter of the 16th instant, for that article. Please to order it to be sent with all expedition. I also enclose a copy of a letter from General Arnold.

As I cannot possibly find time to make two copies of the transactions at the late treaty, I have mentioned to Congress that I had sent one to you, to be transmitted, after perusal, to them. Also enclose copy of a letter from General Arnold, which gives me a state of our naval force on Lake Champlain.

Your Excellency' s letter of the 10th instant to Captain


Varick, has just come to hand, but not any of the articles mentioned in the return are as yet arrived.

I am, dear sir, with unfeigned esteem and respect, your Excellency' s most obedient, humble servant,

To His Excellency General Washington, &c.