Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VI (1777-1778).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Head-Quarters,Valley Forge, 16 March, 1778.
I have the honor to transmit to you a letter from Governor Clinton, which he enclosed to me for my perusal and consideration.
The inconvenience he mentions, as resulting from the resolve respecting the appointment of a commandant for Forts Montgomery and Clinton, requires to be obviated. I do not conceive it to have been the design of Congress to make the command of those forts altogether distinct and independent on the general command of the posts in that quarter; but only to designate the rank of the officer, who should have the immediate charge of them. There is such an intimate connexion between the forts and the other posts and passes in the Highlands and their vicinity, that it is necessary for one officer to have the superintendency and control of the whole, and to be answerable for all. If this were not to be the case, but the command were to be divided, there might want that coöperation between the garrisons and the troops without, which might be essential to their preservation and to the common purposes of defence. The assigning a fixed number of men to the garrisons would not remove this inconvenience; for the coöperation would still be necessary. But if it were otherwise, I should not think the measure advisable, because we do not know what number of men we may have in the field next campaign; and the number for the defence of the Highlands must be proportioned to the general strength, and the force of the garrisons to that number.
On these considerations, having ordered General McDougall to repair to the Highlands to assume the chief command there, I have comprehended the forts among the other objects of his trust; in the discharge of which I am persuaded he will manifest adequate zeal and ability. But as the resolve in question affords room for doubt, it will be proper to have it explained, so as more explicitly to ascertain the intention of Congress. I am perfectly in sentiment with Governor Clinton, on the propriety of drawing the troops from the northward to reinforce and carry on the works in the Highlands. From every thing I can learn, there seems to be no prospect of prosecuting the intended expedition into Canada. If so, I apprehend it can answer no valuable end to keep a body of troops in and about Albany. In the present circumstances of Canada, little is to be dreaded thence; the enemy, in all probability, will be well satisfied to act on the defensive, without risking the consequences of an attempt against us. A proper garrison at Fort Schuyler, and a small party by way of guard at Albany, with the militia of the country that may be occasionally drawn together, will be a sufficient security against the inroads of the enemy from Canada, or the depredations of the neighboring Indians, supposing there were any of the tribes, whose dispositions were still actively hostile notwithstanding our late northern successes, which is by no means a natural supposition. All the men, more than are wanted for these purposes, would be of the most important utility in the Highlands.
If the arms and stores at Albany should be thought an objection to the plan, I would beg leave to observe, that Albany appears to me a most improper place for stationary arsenals or magazines, and that those which are there at present should be removed without delay. Besides, as they would be in most danger from an incursion up the North River, the best way to counteract that danger is to strengthen the passes in the Highlands, and obstruct the navigation; in order to which the reinforcing them with the troops from the northward would be no inconsiderable step. I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]In consequence of this letter the Congress decided that all the troops in the State of New York, including the whole Northern Department, should be under one general officer, and that he should be authorized to draw together at the Highlands such parts of them as he should deem expedient. To supply the place of those at Albany, the Governor of New York was requested to furnish such a number of militia as would be sufficient to protect the arsenal and magazines at that place, till the progress of the obstructions at the Highlands should put them out of danger of any sudden attempt from the enemy.—Journals, March 31st.