2079
2079

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK COLLECTOR

Philip Schuyler 
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("PH. SCHUYLER") TO COLONEL ELIAS DAYTON, DIRECTING THE DEFENSE OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY FRONTIER
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT
2079

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK COLLECTOR

Philip Schuyler 
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("PH. SCHUYLER") TO COLONEL ELIAS DAYTON, DIRECTING THE DEFENSE OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY FRONTIER
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

|
New York

Philip Schuyler 
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("PH. SCHUYLER") TO COLONEL ELIAS DAYTON, DIRECTING THE DEFENSE OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY FRONTIER
3 pages folio (11 5/8 x 7 5/16 in.; 295 x 186 mm) on a bifolium (watermarked with a liberty bell between the initials P T; not in Gravell American), German Flats, Mohawk Valley, New York, 8 August 1776, Dayton's reception docket on verso of second leaf; washed, central and a few other folds subtly reinforced, three small tears at top margin of second leaf expertly repaired.  
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Provenance

Sotheby's New York, 21 June 2007, lot 75 (undesignated consignor)

Catalogue Note

Fort Stanwix renamed in Schuyler's honor. In June 1776 a detachment of Continental troops under Colonel Elias Dayton began reconstructing the fort built by British General John Stanwix in 1758. In the present letter, Schuyler begins by thanking Dayton for renaming the fort after him: "I thank you for the Honor you have done me in calling the Fort by my name, As I cannot consistent with delicacy announce this to Congress, would it not be right for you to do it, and to General Washington too." However, the older name persisted and the place continued to be known as Fort Stanwix. A one-mile portage between the headwaters of the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, the fort was a strategically important site on the natural route between the Hudson Valley and the Great Lakes.

Schuyler's letter continues, directing Dayton to prevent the approach of the British via Lake Ontario: "You will please to observe that before you fall the Timber into the [Wood] Creek, I mean that your Intelligence should be such as to give you the strongest reason to beleive that any enemy crossing Lake Ontario intend to come your way, this will be best determined by their coming to Oswego, or landing in some other part of the Lake in the vicinity of that place. In such case any roads by which Cannon could be conveyed should also be rendered as impassable as possible."

Schuyler also instructs Dayton to maintain the preparedness of the American's cannons. "It will be proper for you to furnish the Officer of Artillery with such a number of men as will be fully sufficient to work the Cannon in case of an Attack, and they should be constantly exercised in that Business, this will not only be an advantage to the Regiment in case they should be, at any time, under the necessity of marching with Field Artillery, when no Artillery men may be at hand, but be of service to the cause in general by having so many more men capable of that duty, and therefore I also wish that one or more of your officers should also be instructed in the management of Cannon."

Dayton is also informed of Schuyler's efforts to maintain the neutrality of the Iroquois Confederacy, as four of those peoples (Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga) were being encouraged to ally with the British by exiled Tyron County Tories and the son (John) and nephew (Guy) of the late Sir William Johnson, the dynamic British Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1755–1774. "Yesterday our Speech was delivered to the Six Nations, they are now in council preparing an answer, from which we hope to gather their Intentions." 

As this letter demonstrates, Schuyler marshalled the campaign in northern New York with considerable skill. His rehabilitation of Fort Stanwix was vital in blocking Col. St. Leger's approach from the west during Burgoyne’s 1777 campaign.

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

|
New York