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Letter from General Wooster to General Schuyler


Montreal, February 11, 1776.

SIR: Your letter of the 26th ultimo I have received, in answer to which, give me leave to observe to you, that I also claim a right to be treated with the respect due to me as a gentleman and an officer intrusted with a command from the honourable the Representatives of Thirteen Colonies. Why, sir, are these positive mandates? Have I ever disputed your orders? Since I have been in the Army I have exerted every faculty to promote a union among the officers, and have carefully avoided every thing that might have the least tendency to cause jealousies; in short, sir, I have steadily and invariably pursued those measures that appeared to me conducive to the true interest of our country. How ungenerous, therefore, is it that an advantage should be taken of my conciliatory disposition. Yet, you will pardon me if I misjudge. I cannot account for your imperious conduct towards me upon any other principle. You will remember your letter to me while I was at St˙ John' s, founded in falsehood, and which you could have no motive for writing but to insult me. I thought it, at that time, not worth answering, and shall, at present, take no further notice of it. I shall, however, send a copy of it to Congress, and of your last letter, together with copies of my own, except the one which you observe was wrote with unbecoming subacity; that is somehow mislaid, and I shall be obliged to you if you will forward it. I can remember nothing in it either disrespectful or subacid, and being confident nothing of that nature was intended, I presume the Congress will find that it is not expressed. As you have already complained to the honourable the Congress, I thought it my duty to show them what has passed between us, and they will judge which of us has the greatest reason to complain of ill treatment. For the present, let the, matter rest, they will doubtless do justice. This is no time to altercate; the whole of our time is little enough to attend to the operations absolutely necessary for the defence of our country.

You will give me leave to inform you that the commanding officer who is with the Army is to give out orders, and is the only competent judge of what is proper, and what not, for the internal regulation of the Army, and for the immediate safety of this country.

Since the death of tbe worthy and brave General Montgomery (with whom I had the happiness to serve in the strictest harmony and friendship, and who ever treated me like a gentleman) the command devolves upon me, and I shall give out such orders as appear to me necessary for the publick good, and shall send out of the country all prisoners and such persons as may be thought dangerous to our cause, as soon as it can be done with convenience. The returns of the Army shall be made out and transmitted to you, I shall also take care that your orders to General Montgomery are executed as far as is possible, and shall do every thing in my power to carry into execution every resolve of the Congress.

Mr˙ Jordan has accepted the bill for five hundred dollars. When it is paid, I shall credit the publick. I mentioned to you, in a former letter, that I thought it very necessary that an Artillery company, as well as artillery stores, &c˙, should be sent into this country. Should be glad to hear whether they can be spared from the Colonies or not, and what assistance of that nature we may expect.

I shall send a copy of this letter to Congress, and, shall also enclose with this a copy of my letter to Congress; if there are any misrepresentations, you will have an opportunity to correct them.

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


To General Schuyler.

P˙ S. I will just observe further, that I think it would have been much more generous in you, to have pointed out to me the exceptionable part of my letters, before you complained to Congress.