Albany. June 28, 1780. pp. Quarto. Old fold lines. A few slight separations and small edge tears. Light soiling and foxing. Good. In a blue half morocco and cloth clamshell case, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM42981
A friendly letter written by Dr. Malachi Treat, Physician General of the Northern Department of the Continental Army, to Maj. Nicholas Fish, in which he mentions Indian raids on settlers in the Mohawk River Valley. Treat was a New York City physician called upon during the American Revolution to serve in the hospitals of the Continental Army. Nicholas Fish, also from New York, served with Treat and Alexander Hamilton, with whom he became good friends. In his letter Treat expresses pleasure that Fish's brigade has arrived safely at West Point; though this may have been the case, it is likely that Fish was already gone from West Point by the time this letter was written, as he was appointed brigade inspector with Gen. James Clinton's brigade, which was sent with Maj. Gen. John Sullivan's force to fight the Iroquois in the Mohawk Valley in early July 1780. Thus Treat's letter is particularly interesting, as it involves the campaign on which Fish was currently embarking. He writes, in part: "I feel a real pleasure in knowing your brigade is safely arrived at West Point, as the enemy are coming up against you in force; you will now be a match for them, and have a fine opportunity to reconnoiter their position, numbers, and intention, from the various [?] of this celebrated place. The prospects are very intrusive and commanding, take care not to perform the retrograde in their presence, but the [?], or offer them a charte blanche, all and [similar?] of these things will be very affecting to all yr. friends. This Gibraltar of America, and the brave troops that defend it will do honor I make no doubt to the cause they contend for, and have their temples crowned with immortal laurels if occasion offers of showing their pro[w]ess and fortitude. "I expect soon to see you at West Point if nothing turns up to prevent me. Alarms are frequent from the westward, the savages appear here and there in small parties, as forerunners of a larger [force] composed of Tories and Indians who are acoming down, to scatter destruction and horror around them. The inhabitants on the Mohock [sic] River are exceedingly distress'd, and I am afraid will leave their fine farms and luxuriant crops to the merciless hands of their unrelenting savage enemy if not supported. Today we have a report that great part of Stone Roby is destroyed by a party of Indians. All this is distressing, yet my motto is never despair, that Providence...has determined that this should be the grand epoch of American independence, and altho clouds gather over our heads, and grow thicker and heavier every moment, yet they will disperse and leave us in the noble possession of all we wish and contend for." He closes with personal asides and enquiries after mutual friends. A fine war letter.