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Report of the Committee directed to repair to Ticonderoga



[Read December 23, 1775. Referred to Mr˙ Dickinson, Mr˙ McKean, Mr˙ Wythe, Mr˙ Hooper, Mr˙ Jefferson, Mr˙ Langdon.]

Report of the Committee directed to repair to TICONDEROGA and confer with General SCHUYLER about several matters relative to the publick service, to take survey of and Report the state of the Fortification in the Highlands, and to use their endeavours to procure an accession of the CANADIANS to an union with these Colonies.

Your Committee beg leave to Report, that agreeable to the directions of Congress, they repaired to the fortress in the Highlands on the 17th day of November. For the state in which they found it, and their observations thereupon, they refer the Congress to their letter of the 22d day of the same month; but they cannot help again recommending, with the utmost earnestness, the sending some persons, well acquainted with fortification, to take a survey not only of the works but of the whole river, from Teller' s Point to the north end of the Highlands, as your Committee are persuaded that the fortress now erecting will by no means be sufficient to secure Hudson' s river, if it should be attacked by any considerable force. Your Committee beg leave, further, to hint at the propriety of obstructing the channel, at least lessening the depth of water; since they have been credibly informed that the river carries twenty-five feet of water to within twelve miles of Albany; and, although it is out of their department, they cannot but wish to turn the attention of Congress to such obstructions in the Narrows during the winter season, (when our enemies' ships will be out of our ports,) as will effectually secure the whole Province of New-York. Though they are by no means satisfied of its practicability, yet they would submit it to the Congress, whether it may not be worth their inquiry.

Your Committee further report that they met with General Schuyler on the 28th day of November, at Ticonderoga, and spent some days with him, in conferring on the subjects about which they were directed to inquire; that they learned from him the following facts: That General Montgomery, in order to overcome the scruples of the troops, and to induce them to follow him to Montreal, about which they hesitated, on account of the advanced season, was under the necessity of engaging that, after the reduction of that place, those who chose it should be at liberty to return; that, in consequence of this promise, Colonel Warner, with his Green-Mountain Boys, returned, though the term of their inlistment did not expire till the first of January; that about one regiment of the York troops have been, and are still, employed at Crown-Point, Ticonderoga, at the different posts between that and New-York, and as batteaus —men on the lakes; that the remaining three regiments, together with Captain Lamb' s company of artillery, did not, at the beginning of the campaign, exceed eighteen hundred men; that their numbers had been considerably lessened by death, sickness, desertion, and escorts for prisoners; and that, though few of the remainder had accepted of the permission to return, yet there were not left above one thousand men in Canada, who, from the best information your Committee could receive from the General, or otherwise, have, for the most part, reinlisted; that of the troops from the several New-England


Governments who went into Canada, all had returned before your Committee arrived at Ticonderoga, except about two hundred, who had reinlisted. Their departure, before the expiration of their term, was occasioned by their fear of being detained in Canada by the severity of the weather, and the reasonableness of allowing them to return to their respective homes before they were discharged. That Colonel Arnold had with him about five hundred and fifty men, the rest of his party having left him on his way into Canada,so that the whole number of troops now in that Province may be about seventeen hundred men, without making any deduction for non-effectives. But of these facts, we are by no means fully certified, as General Schuyler has no returns of the numbers; we offer them as reports, collected from such officers who have returned; and we hope, however, shortly to have a more accurate account, as the General has wrote for it to General Montgomery.

As absolute necessity had obliged General Schuyler to direct the reinlistment of the troops in Canada before he received any other direction on this head than what was contained in your General Orders, your Committee found that work in a great measure concluded by General Montgomery, though riot in such a manner as to be strictly conformable to the intentions of the Congress, the Generals having construed your promise in your first letter on that subject, "that you would see the troops furnished with clothing," in its literal sense, procured clothing at Montreal, which they delivered as a bounty, without making any deduction for it from their wages. Whether, without this, they could have been reinlisted, your Committee have not been able to learn, but are convinced of the impossibility of their remaining any longer in that country in the situation they then were, some of them being half naked; and those of the New-York troops who were best clad having only a coat nearly worn out and linen underclothes.

Your Committee would also further submit it to the Congress, whether it would be quite equitable that, in a country where the soldiers require a double quantity of clothing, they should be obliged to pay for it, especially when we consider that their duty has been, and still is, inconceivably more severe than the rest of the Continental army have experienced. Your Committee have, however, endeavoured, as far as lay in their power, to remedy this mistake, though they fear their endeavours will prove ineffectual; they have directed General Montgomery not to publish the resolution of the Congress relative to the two months' pay, which was proposed as a bounty to those soldiers who reinlisted, but to apply the same towards clothing the troops. Your Committee are apprehensive, however, that their direction will come too late, as General Schuyler had sent a copy of that part of the instructions to General Montgomery some time before your Committee arrived. If this should unhappily be the case, your Committee are of opinion that the promise made to the troops by the General should be literally complied with, with which opinion they have taken the liberty to acquaint General Montgomery by letter, the copy of which is enclosed,

Your directions with respect to raising a Canadian Regiment had been complied with before the arrival of your Committee, and the command given to Colonel James Livingston. It is, however, much doubted whether he will be able to complete early, as the bulk of the Canadians are farmers, and, though prompt at a short desultory war, yet have some reluctance to more permanent engagements.

Your Committee have endeavoured to learn the inclinations of those troops who are employed upon the Lakes, at Ticonderoga and Fort-George, with respect to their reinlistment, and, from what they can learn of their sentiments, few of them will enter into the Army again, at least not immediately, and express a disgust at the service; which arises chiefly from their having been employed rather as labourers than soldiers. Your Committee cannot but observe, that a number of batteaus-men, hired for that purpose, and consisting of persons acquainted with the service, would have saved the Continent a considerable sum of money, and greatly expedited business, and would recommend, if our operations in Canada continue another year, the empowering the General or Quartermaster to hire so many as they may deem necessary.


Your Committee found that the directions of Congress with respect to provisions were already complied with, and have the pleasure of assuring them that the quantity taken in Canada will be sufficient for the subsistence of our troops there till Spring, after which they must be supplied from the Province of New-York, or the adjacent Colonies, with every article except bread, which can be procured in Canada.

Your Committee have directed the immediate transportation of the cannon from St˙ John' s and Ticonderoga, which are not wanted for the defence of those places; and the boats on Lake-George are now employed in bringing over those that lay at the landing, it being impracticable to move the rest till there is snow enough to admit of their being carried on sleighs. Mr˙ Knox is gone to Ticonderoga to choose such cannon as will be wanted at Cambridge, and your Committee have directed those that remain to be transported to Albany as soon as the snow shall render it practicable. There are a number of iron wheels for carriages at Ticonderoga; such as are not wanted there your Cominiltee have directed to be sent to Albany.

Though General Schuyler had, before he received the direction of Congress, endeavoured to purchase the arms of such as quitted the service, yet he has been able to procure but few; those obtained of the New-York force are the property of that Province, and must be accounted for to them; such as are at Ticonderoga, which may be between four and five hundred, are ordered down to Albany in order to be refitted. Your Committee beg leave to observe, that much would be saved to the Continent by the appointment of some person in each army, who should have the inspection of the arms, take a list of them when sent to Armourers, and see that no more was charged as done than what they really wanted; and have, accordingly, recommended the nomination of a Conductor of Artillery to the General, till the pleasure of the Congress was known.

Your Committee would further observe, that their inspection of the barracks, and the complaints of the men, have convinced them that they have suffered greatly for want of bedding, the small blankets they have received being insufficient to keep them warm in this severe climate. They have, therefore, recommended that the damaged tents at Ticonderoga should be cut up, and sacks made for the cribs in the barracks, one for every two men. And would further propose to the Congress, that all the rest of the tents, which are nearly worn out, which is the case of most of those used at St˙ John' s, where the soldiers were under a necessity of slitting and making fires in them, be immediately made up into sacks for the different garrisons, and canvass purchased in Canada for replacing the tents. Your Committee and the General see in a strong point of view the necessity of a Barriickmaster and Storekeeper to each garrison, and would recommend their appointment.

Your Committee observe with concern, that infinite mischief has arisen from the want of regimental Paymasters, which has induced a necessity of trusting large sums of money with Captains and other officers, some of whom are incapable of keeping accounts, and some others ought not, perhaps, to be trusted; and it frequently happens that, though the Colonies are in advance to the Captains, yet they are greatly in arrears to the men, who are from hence disgusted with the service, and clamourous against their superior officers, besides that it confuses the accounts and imposes a duty on the Captains for which no allowance is made them. Your Committee, therefore, recommend the immediate appointment of a gentleman properly qualified for this office in every regiment, with a salary which will induce men of character to undertake it.

Your Committee, upon conferring with General Schuyler, are inclined to believe that the repairing of the fortification of Crown-Point would be very expensive, and, at the same lime, of very little use; they would, therefore, recommend, that the whole labour which can be afforded be employed on Ticonderoga, but imagine very little can be done this Winter, unless a part of the new levies should be stationed there, in which case they might prepare the wood and have it ready against the Spring. But, as the preservation of that post will depend more upon its receiving early reinforcements than on any strength of its own, and as supplies by the way of Lake-George may be


very easily intercepted, if the army of the enemy is much superior to the garrison, your Committee would recommend that a communication be opened between Skenesborough and Fort-Ann, which last is distant from Fort-Edward about twelve miles. This, we are informed, may be done without any considerable expense, by clearing Wood Creek, that empties itself into the Lake at Skenesborough, in which case the earliest assistance may be received from New-York and the adjacent Colonies, and that, too, in a way which the enemy cannot easily prevent. Your Committee have given no directions on this head, as there is sufficient time to take the sense of the Congress before any thing need be done.

General Schuyler is of opinion that four companies are necessary to garrison the posts of Ticonderoga and Fort-George, and that not less than three thousand men be kept up in Canada during the Winter, as well in order to be prepared for a Spring campaign, as to erect such works as may be necessary for the defence of that Province. In this opinion, your Committee concur, and would recommend the immediate raising three regiments, including four companies, (for which warrants are already granted,) and sending them up in different detachments when they are properly equipped, in order to be forwarded over the ice as soon as the Lake [freezes,] which may be about the beginning of February.

Your Committee, finding that all matters relative to the Army in Canada had been settled before their arrival, and concluding, from the hurry of military operations in that Province, and the little assistance they could receive from General Montgomery while he was employed in a siege, that their journey there would be of little use to the publick, declined going into Canada, especially as, at this season, they could not have proceeded without the greatest difficulty and hazard. They, therefore, concluded, by a letter to General Montgomery, to inform the Canadians of the sentiments of Congress, when he should find a proper Opportunity to communicate them, and to pave the way for the reception of any Committee that the Congress might think proper to send, when the ice should render the journey more practicable, and when it may probably be attended with salutary effects. A copy of which letter, marked No˙ 1 , is annexed.

General Schuyler informs your Committee that he has made a return to Congress of the cannon and other stores at St˙ John' s, Crown-Point, Ticonderoga, and Fort-George. They think it, therefore, unnecessary to trouble the Congress with them.