Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume II, Page 210

An Original Letter of then Lieut. Col. Clyde.-Written two months after the event, giving the condition of things at Cherry Valley at the time of its destruction. It was dated at Canajoharie (where, with his family, he wintered that season), Jan. 8, 1779, and was directed to his Excellency, George Clinton, at Poughkeepsie. It is preserved in the Clyde family, which by some means, recovered it from the Clinton papers.

" DEAR SIR-The unhappy circumstances that we are reduced to by the late massacre and destruction of Butler and Brant at Cherry Valley, I cannot help acquainting you of ; and of the hard struggles and difficulties we have had these two years past to maintain our settlement ; being a frontier and the disaffected amongst us doing their endeavors to disappoint all our wishes, by giving the enemy intelligence and robbing us of our cattle and horses (so), that we scarce could lay down one night but in fear of our lives. This last spring, -when we found that the enemy was collecting at Tunadilla (Unadilla), and that they intended to cut off the frontier settlements, we immediately informed our generals at Albany that we must either quit the settlement or they must send us some troops to help us ; which, if they could not do, to give us notice, that we might move away. But they seemed to make light of our intelligence ; sent us word that we must by no means quit the post; that they intended to protect it, but that they did not think that we should be disturbed either by Indians or Tories that summer. This was about 12 days before Cobelskill was burnt. Then we assembled together and picketed in our meeting house ; brought in our provision and effects, and with the assistance of the militia, maintained the post till Col. Alden arrived with the continental troops, who immediately ordered us out of the garrison which we had made ourselves. He would not allow us the liberty to keep one chest in it, saying that he would protect us.

" Few of us having wagons to hide our effects away, were obliged to carry them back to our houses again, and so retained them there in fear till we was drove out by the enemy. Gen. Hand, being in Cherry Valley a few days before the attack, recommended to us to move in our effects to the fort; but when he was gone, Col. Alden would not allow of it, saying that he had out good scouts, and that he would give us timely notice when to move in. It was not in our power to convince him that the enemy would attempt to come there, which occasioned us the loss of our all. The greater part of us have neither provision, body clothes, nor bed clothes to cover us in this cold season of the year ; and that if we cannot get some little relief to help us through the winter, we must suffer, either by cold or hunger. We cannot get either clothing or grain to buy for money if we had it. We are mostly moved to the river, but can get no further. The inhabitants here are in general riding down their grain and effects, and storing them, and hold themselves in readiness to move as soon as they hear of the approach of an enemy ; and those that can't help themselves must fall a sacrifice to their mercy. This, sir, is real fact. From your obedient and humble servant.
" Canajoharie, Jan'y 8, 1779."

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