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I thank you, my dear General, for your very kind and polite letter of the 28th ultimo, which I just had the honor to receive.
Immediately on my arrival here, I issued such orders respecting the provisions and stores, (which I found had been most scandalously embezzled or misapplied,) as I hoped would effectually have brought matters into a right train ; but it is the misfortune of the people here, that they do not know how to obey, although they should be willing.
I have therefore directed the Deputy Commissary-General to send up a person, (whom I named and knew to be equal to the business,) to examine the Commissaries at the several posts on the communication, and to give them such directions as will, I hope, introduce regularity in future. Mr. John N. Bleeker is now employed in that essential business.
With respect to the returns of the army, you will see, by the last letter I had the honor to write you, that I have had no success in getting them properly made, although I have drawn and given them forms, which I thought so clear that no possibility of mistaking them remained.
I foresaw, my dear Sir, that you would have a Herculean labor, in order to introduce that proper spirit of discipline and subordination, which is the very soul of an army ; and I felt for you with the utmost sensibility, as I well knew the variety of difficulties you would have to encounter, and which must necessarily be extremely painful and disgusting to you, accustomed to order and regularity. I can easily conceive, that my difficulties are only a faint semblance of yours. Yes, my General, I will strive to copy your bright example, and patiently and steadily persevere in that line, which only can promise the wished-for reformation.
Since my last I have had a verbal confirmation, by one of my scouts, of the intelligence contained in the affidavits which I sent you. I am prepared, with the utmost diligence, to obey my orders and move against the enemy, unless your Excellency or Congress should direct otherwise. In the course of a few days I expect to receive the ultimate determination. Whatever it may be, I shall try to execute it in such a manner as will best promote the just cause in which we are engaged.
Not a man from this Colony has yet joined me, except those I returned to you, and who were raised and paid by the Committee of Albany. Nor have I yet received those necessary supplies, which I begged the New York Provincial Congress to send me as long ago as the 3d of last month, and which the Continental Congress had desired them to do.
The troops here are destitute of tents. They are crowded in vile barracks, which, with the natural inattention of the soldiery to cleanliness, has already been productive of disease, and numbers are daily rendered unfit for duty.
I am so unfortunate as not to have one carriage for field artillery, so that if I am ordered to attack St. John s, and am able to get down the Sorel River, I shall labor under vast difficulty to bring up the can non through a very swampy country. They will be few, indeed, as I shall have less than a ton of powder, when the troops are completed to twenty-four rounds a man.
Congress has appointed Commissioners for Indian Affairs. As one of them, I have ordered messengers to be sent into their country, to invite them to a conference at Albany. I have also requested the Caghnawagas to meet me at this place. The whole family of the late Sir William Johnson have held a line of conduct, that evinces the most inimical sentiments to the American cause. Sir John John son has had four hundred men, partly Scotch High landers, in arms, to protect a scoundrel sheriff, who had repeatedly insulted the good inhabitants of that country, which at length they retaliated. The inhabitants have, however, drove off the sheriff, and made the knight promise he would interfere no further. I should not have hesitated one moment to have secured him and his adherents, had I not been apprehensive of evil consequences from the Indians. I therefore thought it most prudent to advise Congress of the whole matter.
Although, Sir, I am much in want of men, and would wish to have the three New Hampshire companies, mentioned in the copy of your letter of the 27th ultimo; yet they are so happily posted, either to awe the Missisque and St. Francois Indians, or to march to the relief of the inhabitants of this Colony, living to the westward of where these troops are now posted, on what are commonly called the New Hampshire Grants, that in case of an attack from the savages I have mentioned, who, if any, are most our enemies, I could wish them to remain under orders there for that purpose.
I am extremely happy to learn that you are so well supplied with provisions. I have now a tolerable stock of flour, but very little pork. Fat cattle are, however, coming up, so that I do not apprehend we shall suffer in that article.
Very humble servant,
- Philip John Schuyler
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume I., Jared Sparks, 1853