Primary tabs

Letter from Lord Stirling to General Schuyler



New-York, March 20, 1776.

MY DEAR GENERAL: I had the honour of receiving your letter of the 16th instant, this day. The important intelligence received within these last three days from General Washington, of General Howe' s preparations for embarking his Army from Boston, I have not communicated to you, as I concluded that the same intelligence would reach you at Albany at least as soon as it came to this place; and, indeed, it was almost impossible for me to write you sooner than this moment, as my whole time has been employed in making the necessary arrangements for the defence of this place. As to the troops here, they consist of the First Battalion from New-Jersey, about five hundred, sick and well; two Regiments from Connecticut, about five hundred each, whose time of service expires on Monday next, and I am fearful I shall not be able to persuade them to stay longer. We have about five hundred Minute-men and Militia from the Counties of Westchester and Dutchess, and about two hundred Militia from New-Jersey. This is our whole army at present. I cannot now send you the exact return of the whole, as some of the latter have arrived only this day, and I have not yet received from the reviewing officers the report of them. The whole of these, excepting the necessary guards, are employed on fatigue, on this and Long-Island, in executing the fortifications agreed upon between General Lee and myself. In these works we are assisted every day by about one thousand of the inhabitants of the city, who have turned out, on this occasion, with great alacrity — the inhabitants and the Negroes taking their turn of duty regularly. I have the satisfaction to see that, according to the numbers, the work goes on amazingly well.

I yesterday received a letter from General Livingston, with one thousand pounds of steel, sent from Trenton, at your request, for the use of the blacksmiths and armourers who are going into the Indian country, which I have ordered to be forwarded. to you by the first sloop to Albany. The cannon, shot, &c˙, designed for Canada, were sent off by General Lee before he left this place, and I hope are safe arrived at Albany.

I am rejoiced to find that your health is so much re-established, that you have reason to think you will not soon experience


another relapse. I sincerely wish that may be the case.

On considering the whole of the intelligence from Boston, I am of opinion General Howe has been playing off manoeuvres to divert General Washington from taking full possession of the grounds of Dorchester; yet, by the last accounts, General Howe has proceeded too far in his embarkations to leave us room to think it is all a feint. That General Washington is of this opinion, I can have no longer a doubt, as he is himself preparing soon to be at this place. Some part of his Army is on the way hither; the destination of the remainder must depend on circumstances. Brigadier-General Thompson is this afternoon arrived from Philadelphia, and, of course, has the command here.

I am, my dear General, your very affectionate and most obedient, humble servant,


To Major-General Schuyler.