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Letter from General Schuyler to General Lee


Colonel McDougall informed the Congress that Major-General Lee, before his departure, received a Letter from Major-General Schuyler, informing of the state of the Troops gone forward to Canada, and of many other things relative to the present or ensuing campaign in that Department; that General Lee had left him a copy of that Letter to be laid before this Congress for their information; which he then delivered to the Chair.

Thereupon the same was read, and is in the words following, to wit:

"Albany, February 29, 1776.

"DEAR GENERAL: Congress having ordered that I should repair to New-York, to take the command there as soon as my health would permit, I have taken the liberty to represent to them that if that obstacle was immediately removed, I should not be able to leave this until the batteaus, now building at Fort George, were finished, and everything got into such a train as that your Army in Canada may not suffer for want of provisions; which it certainly will if I quit this, and you immediately go into Canada, where your presence is much, very much indeed, wanted.

"At a moderate calculation the provisions which we took, what was carried in, and what has since been brought, there was sufficient to the month of June; and yet they are now so nearly expended that I have been obliged to send four hundred barrels of pork, in sleds, at the enormous expense of three pounds per barrel.

"I have sent to Canada one eighteen, and a number of twelve-pounders, with what suitable shot were left at the upper posts.

"I need not observe to you, that you will stand in need of a number of carpenters and shipwrights. I only mention it to advise you that I have fifty or more that can go off at a moment' s warning. The Canadians are very indifferent workmen, and, besides, will not take our paper money; so that, everything considered, I conclude it will be best to take them from hence.

"Besides the pork above-mentioned, I have ordered one hundred and fifty head of the largest and best stall-fed cattle to be purchased, which I hope to get into Canada whilst the Lakes are still passable on the ice. I have so arranged matters that they will carry their own fodder, and I hope two hundred barrels of pork besides.

"I do not know if the cannon ordered from New-York have travelling carriages. I have written on the subject to the Committee to whom the conveyance of them is entrusted, If they have not, I think I could complete them here in ten days, as I have employed a person to look out for the proper timber, and to speak to all the wheelwrights in this place and its vicinity to be ready when called upon.

"The Regiments to be raised for the Canada service, in the Massachusetts-Bay and Connecticut, are not yet marched from thence. Four Companies of the Pennsylvanians are gone on the 5th. The only one left here will march tomorrow. Three Jersey Companies are also marched, and about one thousand from this Colony and the Massachusetts-Bay, which I ordered to be raised immediately after our repulse at Quebeck. As the Jersey and Pennsylvania Companies are very incomplete, I have ordered all the men that were raised by my immediate order to be engaged for the campaign, and to remain in Canada. I imagined that necessity would justify this step, and I have advised Congress thereof, and pointed out the reasons which induced me to it.

"Three companies of Colonel Van Schaick' s Regiment are nearly complete. One of them is at Fort George, and the other at Ticonderoga, from whence they will move as soon as I can get a few men out of those others to be raised in this Colony, to take charge of those posts. All the troops that have hitherto come up have been only half armed, and I am greatly distressed to furnish them; none of them had moccasins, and great numbers wanted shoes, mittens, caps, stockings, &c.

"I hope the New-York Convention will forward the naval stores I wrote for without delay, as none are to be had in Canada, and you will stand in great need of them.


"General Wooster has pressed me in the most earnest manner for a supply of hard cash. With difficulty, and by giving my own security, I have been able to collect about twenty-one hundred pounds, which is gone on to him. It will be well to bring up with you whatever you can procure at New-York, as you will be greatly distressed in Canada without it.

"Eight tons of powder are ordered up, and I do not believe with what is in Canada that the whole will exceed twelve. I had written to Congress for fifteen. You are a much better judge than I can pretend to be whether you will have a sufficiency.

"Adieu, my dear General, and believe me, with the most respectful sentiments of esteem, your most obedient and most humble servant,


"To the Honourable Major-General Lee."