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Letter from General Washington to General Putnam



Amboy, May 22, 1776.

SIR: Your letter of the last night, with the despatches from Canada, came to my hands at Woodbridge this morning. I wish that the information given you by Captain Goforth, respecting the number of prisoners taken, may prove true. What he told you about the enemy' s not having sallied out differs widely from General Thomas' s account of that affair.

You will please to give every assistance which General Schuyler requires that may be in your power; and lest you may not have kept a copy of his letter, I will transcribe that paragraph which contains his demands: "Intrenching tools of every kind will be wanted, more powder, lead, and cannon ball, and guns for the vessels on Lake Champlain; rigging, sailcloth, and sailmakers to be sent up."

For intrenching tools, rigging, sailcloth, and sailmakers, I would have you apply immediately to the Provincial Congress, who will probably be able to procure them for you; some of the members mentioned to me that they could procure a quantity of tools, of which you will send off as many as you can spare; you must take care not to leave yourself destitute. I sent five tons of lead forward which General Schuyler knew not of; however, I would have you examine what quantity there is in store, and, if you can spare it, send up two tons more. As to the cannon-ball and guns, you will consult with Colonel Knox, who must judge what sort of each is necessary, and send them up with the other articles. I have already spoken to the Commissary-General to send


off as much salt provisions as he could, but you must urge him on this head, as they are in very great want and have no other place to depend on but what goes from New-York; he must lay in all he can get to supply the quantity which he sends up, for he must take care to keep up his stock.

It was a misfortune indeed that the vessel with powder and arms should fall into the enemy' s hands. Let the Committee, by all means, have the periaugur to cruise off the back of the Island; the sooner she is out the better, as more vessels with those articles may be daily expected.

I am, with great regard, sir, your most obedient servant,


To General Putnam.

P˙ S. Please to forward the enclosed by the first express, or the post, which goes to Albany. Send two tons of powder, which will serve until we can find a further supply.