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See Also: Schenectady in the Revolutionary War

A History of Schenectady During the Revolution:
Chapter V: Schenectady Raises a Company for the Defense of Ticonderoga

Go back to: Chapter IV | ahead to: Chapter VI

[This information is from pp. 23-26 of A History of Schenectady During the Revolution by Willis T. Hanson, Jr. (Brattleboro, VT: E. L. Hildreth & Co., 1916). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 H25, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

Ethan Allen, with his one hundred and fifty undisciplined troops known as the "Green Mountain Boys," had taken possession of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, and on the next day Crown Point had been occupied by another detachment under Seth Warner. These unexpected victories had given great impetus to the American cause. Albany at once dispatched two companies to the forts to assist in retaining possession of the large number of cannon and other military stores that had been captured, and on the twenty-ninth, in consequence of a request from the Committee of Safety at Albany, the Schenectady Committee voted to raise one company (1) for service at Ticonderoga.

To Cornelius Van Dyck was given the command of this company and the authority (2) for making the necessary enlistments. Benjamin Hilton was appointed lieutenant and Cornelius Van Slyck ensign. Hilton at once refused to serve and Van Slyck was therefore promoted to take his place, while the vacancy was filled by the appointment of John G. Lansing as ensign.

On the day following the one on which it was voted to raise the company the Committee at Schenectady reported (3) to the Albany Committee that although they had been successful in raising a few men they were without arms with which to equip them. To this letter the Albany Committee replied (4) that they were well pleased with the readiness shown in raising men for "the new intended Continental Service," and they further expressed the hope that the Committee would have a company "in compleat order ready for marching on the first Notice," adding that a quantity of arms then under "Reparation" would be in good order in two or three days and that with these "such of the Forces of the County as [should] first go up [would] be supplied."

The men as enlisted were boarded (5) about town and to each recruit was given a ribbon, (6) evidently to denote, in lieu of a uniform, that the wearer was a soldier in the Continental service.

On June (7) 9, word was received from the Albany Committee that it would be some little time before the company would be called upon for service. The Committee, moved perhaps by a desire to economize, certainly by no sense of justice, the more so as they further decreed that the members of the company should be required to spend two days each week in learning the military exercise, resolved that the men who had already enlisted be allowed neither provision nor billeting money until their services were required and that those to whom the arrangements were unsatisfactory should be paid off and discharged.

It was not until June (8) 17 that the commissary at Albany was authorized to issue fifty guns for the use of Captain Van Dyck's company, and it would appear from an original enlistment roll (9) still extant that it was not until the receipt of this equipment that Captain Van Dyck really endeavored to secure a full quota for his company.

Enlistments, however, were slow, as between June 19 and August 7 the names of but thirty-two men were secured, each in his turn volunteering "to preserve, if possible, the just liberties of America and to keep and defend the important Port of Ticandaroga in conjunction with [their] brethren of New England," and at the same time promising "by the ties of religion, honor and love of [their] country to obey such orders as the Capt. [should] from time to time direct and command." (10)

On July 13 orders were finally received for the company to march to Lake George. (11) Both Captain Van Dyck and Lieutenant Van Slyck were absent from town recruiting at the time the instructions were received and the Committee therefore decided to order the company to march on the morrow under the command of Lieutenant Lansing. (12) Upon being drawn up and acquainted with the resolve of the Committee, the men absolutely refused to march save under the command of their captain, and as the only means of solving the problem "an express" was immediately ordered dispatched requesting Captain Van Dyck to return at once, while to General Schuyler (13) was sent a letter advising him of the reason for the delay.

Notes

  1. The scale of pay allowed for the services of the men enlisting was as follows:
     £sd
    Captain, per month600
    Lieutenant, per month400
    Ensign, per month300
    Sergeant, per month280
    Corporal, per month240
    Drummer, per month240
    Fifer, per month240
    Private, per month200

    "All Lawfull money of New England."
    Each soldier enlisting was required to sign "the association recommended by the Honorable, the Continental Congress."
  2. His commission from the Provincial Congress, together with the commissions of the other officers of his company, was given on July 6.
  3. The Records of the Albany Committee of Safety, May 31, 1775.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Those first enlisting were boarded at the houses of John Welsh and Robert Martin, who were paid "at the rate of one shilling, N. Y. Currency, per day, per man," for their board and lodging.
  6. On December 20, 1775, the Committee authorized a payment of seventeen shillings to John Roseboom "for Ribbons bought for Captain Van Dyck's Recruits."
  7. On June 7 the Albany Committee seriously debated the advisability of disbanding the few soldiers already enlisted, but finally resolved that the company be continued.
  8. The Records of the Albany Committee of Safety.
  9. This roll is in the possession of the writer.
  10. So reads the enlistment roll.
  11. On June 22 the Committee furnished twenty wagons "on the public credit" to carry provisions to this place.
  12. On July 10 he had been recommended to the Provincial Congress to fill the position of first lieutenant in the recruiting service.
  13. He was in command of the Northern Department.

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See Also: Schenectady in the Revolutionary War

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