Letter from General Sullivan to General Schuyler, June 24


Isle-aux-Noix, June 24, 1776.

DEAR GENERAL: Before this comes to hand you will have received mine by General Arnold, acquainting you with our retreat to this place. Your favour of the 17th instant enclosing his Excellency' s letter, came to hand this evening.

I am much obliged for the power you have been pleased to delegate to me, of which I shall make a proper use against the persons you mention, provided their crimes turn out as I apprehend. They are now under trial, and I trust the result will be known to-morrow. This cowardly affair, together with the want of discipline, and that infernal disorder the small-pox, has ruined our Army. Believe me, dear General, that when I ordered the sick people from hence to Crown Point, many regiments were obliged to apply for men to be drafted from other regiments to row them away, they not having well men enough for that purpose. Those that remain here, owing to their fatigue and want of fresh provisions, are daily dropping off like the Israelites before the destroying angel. The officers to a man are daily bawling aloud to go on to Crown Point, to fortify there and recruit the Army. I am, for my own part, now convinced that this step must be taken, or the Army will be lost, not by the enemy, but by sickness. I have this day viewed Windmill Point and Point-au-Fer, and think that garrisons at either place, or both, would be useless, the former being a low sunken piece of ground and the river so wide that cannon cannot command it; the latter is three miles from this point, and there the river is still wider; so that if garrisons were at these places the enemy might pass, either by water or land, without regarding them. I had four boats in company with me on my return, two of which crossed astern and the people went on shore. I heard a firing about two or three miles astern, but could not guess what it was. I have since learned that the people were attacked by the Indians and the batteaus taken. I cannot give full credence to this at present, as I think the firing must have been further off; however, as the batteaus have not yet arrived, I have sent a party after them, and shall soon know the truth of this report. This afternoon before my return, a party of officers and men, who had carelessly ventured to a French house about half a mile below this Island without their arms, were attacked by a party of Indians and two Canadians, who killed and took seven officers and four or five privates. We find these fellows have lined our shores to watch our batteaus. I shall take care to guard them well, and am now sending off a strong party of Riflemen to scourge the rascals for their insolence. Colonel Wayne, with a party, followed those who attacked and killed the officers, but could not overtake them; he recovered the batteaus and five dead bodies, scalped and mangled in a shocking manner. I shall give you the particulars as soon as it can be done with certainty.

Dear General, believe me to be, with much respect and esteem, your most obedient servant,


To General Schuyler.