Letters from Home: Period Accounts
The Colbrath Journal, part 2

"Letters from Home" continues the transcription of the Colbrath journal - a record of the siege of Fort Stanwix in 1777. Part One details the events leading up to siege. This segment continues the narrative. This particular version is found in "Fort Johnson", written by W. Max Reid, published in 1906 by G.P. Putnam's sons, NY. Any discrepencies between this source and the original should be reported to the scribe.

1777 – Journal of the most material occurrences preceding the siege of Fort Schuyler (formerly Fort Stanwix) with an account of that siege, etc.

July 27th - Three girls belonging to the inhabitants being about two hundred yards from our out-sentinels were fired on by a party of Indians, two of whom were killed and scalped, the other wounded in two places, neither of them dangerous. The party returned who had been to stop the creek.

July 28th - The Colonel sent off those women which belonged to the garrison which have children, with whom went the man that was scalped, the girl that was wounded yesterday and sick in the hospital.

July 30th - An Indian arrived express from the Oneida castle with a belt of wampum and a letter from the sachems of Caughnawaga and the Six Nations, in which letter they assured us they were determined to be at peace with the American brethren; that the enemy were at the Three Rivers and two detachments were to set off before the main body; one body of eight would be sent to take prisoners, and another of 130 to cut off communication on the Mohawk river. Major Bedlam arrived with 150 men of Colonel Wesson's detachment from Fort Dayton; with him came Captain Dewitt and his party who had been left at Fort Dayton by Colonel Willett, the whole making to the garrison a reinforcement of about 200 men. Mr. Hansen, commissary of this garrison, arrived and acquainted us that seven bateaux, loaded with ammunition and provisions, were on their way for this place. The letter and belt was, agreeable to the request of the Indians, sent down by express to the several committees on the Mohawk river.

Aug 1st - Three Oneida Indians came express from their castle informing us that they had seen three strange Indians, who told them that there were 100 more at the Royal Blockhouse, and that they were to march for this place. Supposing them to be a party sent to cut off communications, the Colonel detached 100 men under command of Captain Benschoten and three subalterns to meet the bateaux that were hourly expected, in order to reinforce the guard sent with them from Fort Dayton.

Aug 2nd - Four bateaux arrived, being those the party went to meet, having a guard of 100 men of Colonel Wesson's regiment from Fort Dayton, under the command of Lieut. Col. Mellon of that regiment. The lading being brought safe into the fort, guard marched in, when our sentinels on the southwest bastion discovered the enemy's fires in the woods near Fort Newport, upon which the troops ran to their respective alarm posts; at this time we discovered some men running from the landing toward the garrison. On their coming they informed us that the bateaux men who had staid behind when the guard marched into the fort had been fired on by the enemy at the landing, that two of them were wounded, the master of the bateaux taken prisoner, and one man missing.

Aug 3rd - Early this morning a Continental flag, made by the officers of Colonel Gansevoort's regiment, was hoisted and a cannon leveled at the enemy's camp was fired on the occasion. A small party was sent to the landing to see if the enemy had destroyed any of our bateaux last night. This party found the bateaux man that was missing, wounded through the brain, stabbed in the right breast and scalped. He was alive when found and brought to the garrison, but died shortly after. The bateaux lay at the landing no ways damaged. About 3 o'clock this afternoon the enemy showed themselves to the garrison at all sides, carried off some hay from a field near the garrison, at which a flag brought by Captain Tice came into the fort with a proffer of protection if the garrison would surrender, which was rejected with disdain.

Aug 4th - A continual firing of small arms was this day kept up by the enemy's Indians, who advanced within gunshot of the fort, in small parties under cover of bushes, weeds and potatoes in the garden. Colonel Mellon and his party of 100 men, who came from Fort Dayton as a guard to the bateaux, was to have returned this day, but we were now besieged and all communications cut off for the present. The firing ended with the close of the day, we having one man killed and six wounded. This night we sent out a party and brought 27 stacks of hay into the trench and set a barn and house on fire belonging to Mr. Roof.


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