Lot 1003
  • 1003

Philip Schuyler, Major General

25,000 - 35,000 USD
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  • A group of autograph documents and letters related to preparations at Fort Ticonderoga for the invasion of Canada, 1775
  • Paper, ink
7 autograph documents, one page each, being orders, letters, and a draft, various sizes, written from Ticonderoga (5), Saratoga (1) and Albany (1), 24 July 1775–December 1775, to Captain Cornelius Van Dyke (1), Colonel Goose Van Schaik (4), Richard Varick (1) and Reverend [Eilardus] Westerlo (1); condition generally good, some light toning and minor fold separations.

Autograph document signed ("Ph. Schuyler"), Headquarters, Ticonderoga, 24 July 1775, to Cornelius Van Dyck (Captain of the Second New York Line), being an order to remove his men south to Schenectady and remain there until further orders are issued by Schuyler or General Montgomery, and to take measures to keep his men disciplined. — Autograph document unsigned, Saratoga, 19 August 1775, to Goose Van Schaik (Colonel of the Second New York Regiment), ordering him to dispatch an officer and a detachment to Fort Stanwix and not to allow anyone into the western country without an authorized pass. — Autograph letter fragment signed ("P. Schuyler"), n.p., 8 October 1775, to R[ichard]. Varick regarding remuneration to soldiers who are deceased, deserted, or discharged and providing a template of the warrant accomplishing the same. — Autograph letter signed ("PS"), Ticonderoga, 14 October 1775, to Colonel Van Schaik, acknowledging receipt of powder and asking him to remove troops from the home of a Mr. Gambl and to have expenses for any damage be paid by the Commissary. — Autograph letter signed ("Ph. Schuyler"), Ticonderoga, 9 November 1775, to Goose Van Schaik acknowledging receipt of five thousand dollars and ordering him to Fort George in anticipation of the return of troops from Canada. — Autograph letter signed ("Your most humble servt"), Ticonderoga, 20 November 1775, to Goose Van Schaik, asking him to find housing for women and children. — Autograph draft signed in the body of the text ("Gen'l Schuyler's respectful Compliments"), docketed Albany, December 1775, beseeching the Rev. Eilardus Westerlo to pray for a reconciliation with the "Mother Country."


7 autograph documents, one page each, being orders, letters, and a draft, various sizes, written from Ticonderoga (5), Saratoga (1) and Albany (1), 24 July 1775–December 1775, to Captain Cornelius Van Dyke (1), Colonel Goose Van Schaik (4), Richard Varick (1) and Reverend [Eilardus] Westerlo; condition generally good, some light toning and minor fold separations.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Preserving the capture of Ticonderoga and preparing to launch an invasion into Canada in the hopes of making it the "fourteenth colony." A mere week after arriving at Ticonderoga, Schuyler learned of probable threats to the frontier at Caughnawaga (south of Montreal); he quickly sent Captain Cornelius Van Dyck an order on 24 July to remove his company back to post at Schenectady. He also enjoins Van Dyck to "exercise of the men to keep them clean, orderly, and prevent any outrage being committed to the inhabitants." These instructions demonstrate Schuyler's determination to enforce regulations on cleanliness, sobriety, exercise, diet, drills, etc., if the troops were to remain alert, healthy, and prepared for the challenge of the Canada campaign. 

Security measures. Writing to Colonel Goose Van Schaik from Saratoga on 19 August, Schuyler orders him to dispatch a detachment comprising "a trusty office with two serjeants, two corporals, & thirty men to Fort Stanwix" and to remain there until further orders. In addition, the officer is "not to suffer any body (Indians excepted) to pass his post into the western Country without a pass from the Continental Congress, the provincial Congress of New York, of the Committee of Albany—or any of the Generals of the associated colonies, or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. If any suspect persons should attempt to pass he is to secure them & send them to the Committee of Albany." Located at the head of navigation of the Mohawk, and at the portage between the river and Wood Creek, which led to Oswego, Fort Stanwix straddled the main avenue of approach from Canada through Iroquois country and into the Mohawk Valley. All traffic going east or west came under the guns of Fort Stanwix. Comings and goings had been too free at Ticonderoga, and Schuyler saw the necessity of enforcing such a measure at this critical outpost in order to foster security against spies and other hostiles.

On 14 October Schuyler again writes Van Schaik, acknowledging receipt of powder. Two days earlier he had written to Washington that he was extremely "apprehensive that a Want of Powder will be fatal to our operations" (Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, ed. Twohig, 2:152). On 9 November, Schuyler instructs Van Schaik to proceed to Fort George in all haste as he anticipated the early return of the troops from Canada. Assuming command from the invalided Schuyler, General Montgomery left for Canada at the end of August. He took St. Johns by 2 November but rather than returning, he pushed on to make the unsuccessful attack on Quebec 31 December which cost him his life.  

The draft letter to Reverend Westerlo is curiously tinged with irony. Eilardus Westerlo was pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, where Schuyler most likely worshipped. As Schuyler fought for American independence, he exhorted Westerlo to "pray for a Speedy and happy reconciliation with the Mother Country." In effect, the Dutch Reformed Church of North America at the time was seeking its independence from the Mother Church in the Netherlands.