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, Vol. 2

Contents:
Author: George Clinton

U.S. History

From Governor Clinton.

Poughkeepsie, 18 May, 1779.

DEAR SIR,

I was honored with your Excellency’s confidential letter of the 3d instant on the 12th, at Kingston, whither I was called by an alarm on the frontiers of Ulster county, occasioned by the appearance of about one hundred Indians and Tories, at Shendeacon, a small settlement in the gorge of the mountains, about twenty miles west of Kingston, and twelve from Marbletown. They were joined at this place by twenty-seven Tories from the east of Hudson’s River, mostly Hessian deserters from the Convention troops. The sudden assembling of the militia deterred them from penetrating farther into the country, and prevented them from doing any material injury.

It is needless to remark to your Excellency, that the execution of military business by militia officers is (from the want of activity and knowledge) seldom attended with the necessary despatch. Add to this, the raising of the levies for the defence of the frontiers, and for filling up the Continental battalions, has been unavoidably much interrupted and retarded, in the frontier regiments, by almost continual alarms, since the departure of Colonel Cortlandt’s regiment from the former station. I have, therefore, found it necessary to order the levies in this county to rendezvous on the western frontiers of Ulster and Orange counties, to serve as a cover to the settlements, and to afford the militia leisure to make their drafts. The officer who commands them has orders, the moment this is accomplished, to forward such part of them as are to be annexed to the Continental battalions, with such additional number as can be spared, consistent with the security of the frontier settlements in that quarter, to Albany, by detachments, without the least delay. From the best information I have been able to obtain, there is a collection of Indians (consisting of those who are called Esopus Indians and other stragglers) and Tories, at Shohawken and Kollitye, on the Delaware, at one of which places it is said they have erected a block-house, or some other small works of defence. Our accounts were, that they consisted of upwards of one hundred, and we have the best evidence of their having been lately joined by a very considerable additional number of Tortes and deserters. It is this banditti, that have committed the most of the mischiefs which have been done in the counties of Ulster and Orange, and have occasioned all the late distressing alarms. They are supplied with provisions from the different settlements on the Delaware by the disaffected inhabitants who live on the frontiers. They are perfectly acquainted with the back country, and, I am apprehensive, will be very troublesome, by rendering the supplies to our western army precarious, and by keeping the back settlements in perpetual apprehensions of danger.

The amazing tract of uninhabited and mountainous country, which lies between the intended route of our army and the western settlements, will afford them a secure asylum, as long as they can procure provisions. I would therefore submit to your Excellency the propriety of marching a body of men into these parts, sufficiently large to scour that country, and rout the enemy there, and destroy the settlements which feed and harbour them. As these settlements are scattered and remote from each other, and as the enemy may be succoured from the contiguous Indian settlements on the Susquehanna, not less than five hundred men will be competent to perform this business effectually. If the measure is approved by your Excellency, I will most readily furnish that number from the militia for this short service, and undertake to conduct the business myself. Nothing will be wanted, but the means of transporting about ten days’ or two weeks’ provision, and some other little matters from the Quarter-master’s department, which cannot be obtained otherwise, and which, I presume, may be spared from thence, without inconveniency, for so short a period. The horses wanted may either be impressed in the country by the Quarter-master, or, if purchased, returned before the campaign is fairly opened on the sea-coast.

I am the more desirous of having this business accomplished, as it will relieve the inhabitants of the frontier settlements from any farther apprehensions of danger, and induce many, who have already abandoned their farms, to return to them, and also enable us to spare a greater proportion of the levies, raised for the defence of the frontiers, who are now stationed at the different passes, where they at best afford but a very partial security, for active service. It may be thought most advisable to delay the matter until the army, intended for the western service, begin to move; in which case this may serve as a favorable diversion. The intermediate time may be only sufficient to get out the men and make the necessary preparations. I have the honor to be, with the most perfect respect and esteem,

Your Excellency’s most obedient servant,

GEORGE CLINTON.

Contents:

Related Resources

American Revolution

Download Options


Title: 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, Vol. 2

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: 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, Vol. 2

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: George Clinton, "From Governor Clinton.," 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, Vol. 2 in 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, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 298–301. Original Sources, accessed October 2, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4Z1HJPH3LPEGSPV.

MLA: Clinton, George. "From Governor Clinton." 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, Vol. 2, in 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, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 2, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 298–301. Original Sources. 2 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4Z1HJPH3LPEGSPV.

Harvard: Clinton, G, 'From Governor Clinton.' in 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, Vol. 2. cited in 1853, 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, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.298–301. Original Sources, retrieved 2 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4Z1HJPH3LPEGSPV.