Letters from Home: Period Accounts

Nicholas Herkimer to Philip Schuyler on events prior to Oriskany

Canajoharrie July 2nd 1777

Honorable Sir

I returned yesterday from Tunadello with my detatchment of Militia, and setled there with Joseph Brant and his party, about 200 strong, in a peaceable manner. We have allmost been engaged there in a battle and the most part of Joseph Brants Warriors, when assembled in Counsel, through misapprehension of some words spoken by Colonel Cox, went briskly off with Indian Fellows to their camp, about one mile distant from ours, in order to fetch their arms, and fired them off already in their camp; but upon my explaination, Brant Stoped the said Alarm. After our settlement, Joseph Brant in private discourse told me , that there is an Expedition making already at Swegatchy with the intent to go to Oswego and thence towards our Western Country. He further said , that he himself shall now from here journey to Onodago to meet there in Counsel to be held of Colonel Butler, purposing to join the afore said expedition.

I enclose a copy of my speech to the Indians, and their answer. I have communicated the same to our County Committee this Day assembled, and they approved unanimously of my Proceedings, and are of the opinion, that We have acted prudently in our dangerous situation to the Behoof of my party and the public.

As your Excellency will see by my subscription of my last answer, I engaged myself for the grant of his desire, in relience of your approbation, I would first agree conditionally, until I could have your opinion upon it, but Brant insisted upon, to have it settled upon the spot.

As it is no more in doubt, that the enemies will make an Attack in our Frontiers, very soon, and very likely a large number of dissaffected Indians will join them.

No time nor care is to be spared to guard against it.

We are yet in a defenceless situation, as your Excellency will judge yourself, as the Indians will doubless make an Incusion into our Settlements, which it is not very difficult to them to distroy or take possesion thereof. Our Militia cannot be spared and serve as an assistance for Fort Schuyler . We want rather succour ourselves, to save the outward inhabitants with their families, I reccommend our present dangerous situation to your particular care as we are but few, and the Enimy will force in as much as possable to put his friends our runaways in possesion of their former properties again, if we shall not be expeditiously succoured with Contenental Troops I fear the Indians will make ravage of our Frontier Country and the Enemies will make an entry in our State from our Quarters without great difficulty.

I remain allways with

Humble Respects

Honorable Sir

Your obedient Hum. Ser.

Nicholas Herchkeimer

Published source: Indian Affair Papers, Mary Penrose, page 81

Original Source : National Archives Microfilm collection, Series M247, roll 77, item 58-61

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