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Letter from General Washington to General Schuyler



Amboy, May 22, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Congress having been pleased to request my attendance at Philadelphia, to advise with them on the situation of our affairs, and of such measures as may be necessary to adopt for this campaign, I had got thus far on my journey when I called to view the ground, and such places on Staten-Island contiguous to it as may be proper for works of defence, when your favour of the 16th instant, with its several enclosures, came to hand.

I am exceedingly concerned for the distress of our troops in Canada; and, as I informed you heretofore, have been very importunate with the Commissary to forward all the provisions in his power; in consequence of which he has sent a great deal on, and I shall repeat my orders, and enjoin him to continue his supplies as largely and expeditiously as possible.

I wrote you on the 17th instant, and am hopeful the twenty-seven and a half casks of nails, which were all that could be got, with the five tons of lead, then sent, will have reached you or got to Albany, from whence they will be forwarded; and in a letter to General Putnam have directed him to examine our stock of the latter, and to furnish you with a further quantity if it can be spared; at Philadelphia I will try to get a supply; I have also directed him to send you two tons more of powder, and such intrenching tools as can possibly be spared, or procured from the Convention in consequence of an application I made two or three days since; we are deficient in these, not having a sufficiency to carry on the works for the defence of New-York with the expedition I wish, or the exigency of the times demands. In respect to cannon-shot and guns for the vessels on the Lake, I have requested him to consult with Colonel Knox, and with the Convention about sailcloth, &c˙, and if any of them can be spared or procured, that they be immediately sent to you.

Our situation respecting the Indians is delicate and embarrassing; they are attached to Johnson, who is our enemy. Policy and prudence, on the one hand, suggest the necessity of seizing him, and every friend of Government; on the other, if he is apprehended, there will be danger of incurring their resentment. I hope the Committee will conduct the matter in the least exceptionable manner, and in that way that shall most advance the publick good.

I observe by the minutes of the Council of War, General Thomas' s letter, and that of Messrs˙ Carroll and Chase to Doctor Franklin, that our troops cannot make a stand at Deschambault, as I had hoped; I wish it were practicable, for most certainly the lower down the river we can maintain our post the more important will be the advantages resulting from it, considering all the country below us as lost, and that there may be some prospect of gaining that above, from whence we might draw supplies in some degree, and have the friendship and assistance of the inhabitants. It is certain we should make a stand as low down as we can, so as not to have a retreat cut off in case of necessity, or an opportunity of receiving provisions; but, unacquainted as I am with the country, I cannot undertake to say where it should be. Not doubting and hoping that everything for the best will be done, I am, &c˙,


To General Schuyler.