of John Smith(1) Soldier in the Continental Artillery taken near Fort Herkiman
on the 5th of July 1781.
That he belonged to the Garrison of Fort Stanwix(2) for these several years past.
That the Barrack of Fort Stanwix were accidentally Set on fire the 18th of May last- in which were Burnt two months provisions for three Hundred men, the flames Communicated to the Laboratory, which was plentfully Supply'd and nothing could be saved.
The 4th of June the Cannon were Removed to fort Herkiman(3) and on the 9th of Sd month after demolishing the Fort the Garrison(4) abandoned it and arrived at Fort Herkiman on the 11th.
The Cannon Consisted of the following pieces of Ordinance
9 pounders Iron 3
6 ditto ditto 4
3 ditto ditto 2
3 ditto brass 1
two 12 pounders were left at fort Herkiman in the winter
Barrels of Powder
now at Fort Herkiman 32
Boxes of fsad ammunition 130
Round Shot and Grape shot inpreportion
The Present Garrison arrived two days before he was taken (artillery excepted) under the Command of Coll Willett(5) The Fort Stanwix Garrison went downwards to join Washingtons Army-
The Present Garrison of Fort Herkiman & its Environs(6) amounts nearly to the following numbers
4 Companys of Coll Willetts 9 months men 160
Continental Artillery 35
The rebels are preparing to build a fort on Franks's Hill(8) near Fort Herkiman under the direction of a french Engineer(9) of the rank of major. Nearly the same as that of Fort Stanwix and more men from the militia were daily expected to their assistance.
The Oneidas inside at present near Albany have brought in 3 prisoners from Canada also several Prisoners have escaped across the lakes.
It was always meant to evacuate Fort Stanwix but the accidental fire hastened it.
There is at present in Fort Stanwix one months salt provisions for the troops.
Smith a Rebel Prisoner
Rec. in Major Ross'(10)Letter
of 14 July 1781
Source: Gen. Frederick Haldimand Papers, British Musuem, MSS 21842, Secret Intelligence.
was serving in the Second Regiment of Continental Artillery under Captain
(2) Fort Stanwix was renamed Fort Schuyler in 1776 in honor of General Philip Schuyler of Albany. This fort is situated in the present day City of Rome,N.Y.. The National Parks Service now is in the possession of this site and a reconstructed fort was built and is open to the public.
(3) Fort Herkimer was the home of Johan Jost Herkimer and in 1756 walls etc. were built to make it a fort to garrison about 200 men. Unfortunately the remains of the fort and buildings were destroyed when the Erie Canal was built. The site is in the present day Town of German Flatts, Herkimer County. The site was marked with a cast iron marker erected by the Stone Arabia Battle Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.
(4) The garrison was comprised of the Second New York Regiment under Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt and one company of the Second Regiment of Continental Artillery under Captain Andrew Moody.
(5) Lieutenant-Colonel Marinus Willett formerly of the Fifth New York Regiment was appointed in April of 1781
to command a regiment of levies to garrison the forts and defend the Mohawk Valley.
(6) The "Environs" included a blockhouse about a mile east of the fort and the Dutch Reformed Church which was made of limestone and had loopholes in the walls to fire from.
(7) The "Militia" was the Fourth Battalion of Tryon County Militia under Colonel Peter Bellinger.
(8) In June of 1781 the Second New York Regiment had started to clear land to build a new Fort Herkimer but it never was finished as the Second New York Regiment was ordered to join the main army under General Washington.
(9) The French Engineer was Major Jean Villefranche. He supervised the repair of Fort Herkimer and improvements at Fort Rennselaer which stood in the present day Village of Fort Plain, Montgomery County.
(10) Major John Ross of the Second Battalion of the Kings Royal Regiment of New York.