History From America's Most Famous Valleys
The Book of
Especially Relating to The Early Palatines and the First Settlers in the
Compiled and Arranged by Lou D. MacWethy
Published by The Enterprise and News
St. Johnsville, NY., 1933
Destruction of Herkimer
Report to Governor Clinton on the Destruction of German Flatts, N. Y.
German Flatts, Sept. 19, 1778
May it please your Excellence. I humbly beg to lay our distresses open to your Excellency. On Thursday the 17th ---tant about six in the morning the enemy attacked Fort Dayton on the north side of the German Flatts and burned and destroyed all the houses, barns and grain and drove a great number of horses and horned cattle away with them. The church fort, together with two houses is all that is left on that side and they had two men killed and one wounded. The enemy tried to take Fort Dayton but they kept them off. On the south side of the river they began about six miles above Fort Herkimer and burned all the houses, barns and grain quite down to the church at Fort Herkimer they tired to set fire to the barn but we sallied out with what men we could spare and kept them from destroying any more homes. We have built in our district four garrisons and have none but my regiment to guard them and a few rangers. I sent out a scout of the rangers, nine men, three days before this happened. They met the enemy at Major Edmonston's place at the head branch of Unadilla river, the enemy attacked them and drove them into the river. They have killed two of the rangers and scattered the rest. One of them came in the night before the Flatts was attacked. And immediately I wrote per express to Col. Klock and another to be signed by him, to be sent to the nearest place for assistance as the enemy was within nine miles of us when the rangers saw them last. In my letter to Col. Klock I begged him for God's sake to assist us with men and if he had marched his men on directly, he might have been at the Flatts before we was attacked and if he had sent 200 men we might in all probability have saved a great many houses and a great deal of grain and creatures. But alas we could get no assistance. Several times this summer we have intelligence that they intended to destroy this place and I have wrote to General Stark in Albany for assistance but could get none and once I wrote to your Excellency but I imagine you did not receive it. Our case is really very hard as the enemy threatens us yet. Therefore I am obliged to be thus troublesome to Your Excellency to desire the favor of a reinforcement, otherwise I cannot pretend to keep the inhabitants here any longer. I have given orders to the A. D. C. of issues at Fort Dayton to supply these who have lost their effects with provision as they was crying to me for bread. But if you Excellency does not approve of it I hope you will send me orders how I must behave in the said affair. After the enemy had finished the destruction of the Flatts, they went off about noon. In the afternoon I sent an express again to Col. Klock desiring him to send to Col. Alden at Cherry Valley that if he would turn out with about 400 men and strike across to the creek at Unadilla where I was certain they would come up with the enemy they might have recovered most part of the plunder again but as far as I can learn they did not mind it. I had a great deal of trouble I can assure your Excellency to keep the inhabitants from moving off on the account of having no assistance. I was obliged to threaten them that I would take their effects from the. But as the place is mostly destroyed I have prevailed on them to wait till I have orders from your Excellency how to behave in our distressed circumstances. But if there is no reinforcement comes up I shall not be able to hinder them from moving off. I here send your Excellency an account of the damage done by the enemy on both sides of the river. They burned 63 dwelling houses, 57 barns with grain and fodder, 3 grist mills, 1 sawmill and they have taken away with them 235 horses, 229 horned cattle, 269 sheep and they killed and destroyed a great number of hogs and they have burned a great many out houses.
I hope your Excellency will take our circumstances into consideration and grant us a reinforcement sufficient to hinder the enemy from utterly ruining of us. So relying entirely on your Excellency I beg leave to subscribe myself your Excellencies most obedient humble servant.
Peter Bellinger, Colonel
To His Excellency, George Clinton, Esqr.
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