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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00196 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Roxbury, Massachussetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 6 July 1775 Pagination: 2 p. : 31.5 x 19 cm.

Summary of Content: Describes meeting generals George Washington and Charles Lee, who begged him to return to Roxbury and expressed great pleasure in the fortifications Knox had supervised the construction of. Tells a story about how General Lee tried to get a letter to General John Burgoyne during the battle of Bunker Hill (17 June 1775), to ask him to use his "influence and endeavor to Heal this unnatural break." Criticizes and offers corrections to a widely published account of Bunker Hill by British General Thomas Gage that claimed only 170 redcoats were killed. The Revolutionary War began at the battle of Bunker Hill a few weeks earlier. Lucy was in Worcester, Massachusetts, away from the danger in Boston.

Full Transcript: Roxbury Leml Childs Thursday morng 6 oClock
My dear Lucy
I wrote to you Yesterday by Mr Langdon and as I am determin'd to write by every opportunity I shall not [...the] that of the post slip me and shall go presently to Cambridge [struck: on] the express purpose of carrying the Letter, but the jolting of Fists will be nothing when [Con]trasted with that complacency of soul which I feel in writing to my hearts greatest treasure
Yesterday as I was going to Cambridge I met the General who beg'd me to return to roxbury again which I did when they had [viewd] the works they express'd the greatest pleasure & surprize [struck: th] at their situation and apparent utility [struck: and a little] to say nothing [struck: of] of the plan which did not escape their praise - you may remember Genl Lee's Letter which Doctor Church was to have sent into Boston to Genl Burgoyne - Yesterday Mr Webb took it to the Lines at Bunkers Hill where Major Bruce of the 38th Came out to him (he who fought a Duel with Genl Pigot) - Mr W. said "Sir here is a Letter from Genl Lee to Genl Burgoyne will you be pleas'd to give it to him [text loss] as some part of it requires an immediate answer I sho[text loss] be glad you would do it directly and also here is another Letter to a sister of mine in Boston Mrs. Simpson to whom I should be Glad you would Deliver it" - the Major gave him every assurance that would deliver the Letter to Mrs. Simpson himself & to Genl Burgoyne but could not do it immediately as the Genl was on the other Lines meaning Boston Neck - Genl Lee good God Sir is Genl Lee [the one I] served two years with him in portugal tell him Sir that I am extremely sorry that my profession obliges me to be his opposite in this unhappy affair - cant' it be made up let me beg of you to use your influence and endevor to Heal this unatural breach - Mr Webb told him that it was [2] not the work of one side only - appointed to meet again this day at eleven oClock - previous to this Genl Lee had been down to the lines at Bunker Hill at which place there was an out sentry to Whom Gen Lee spoke and [struck: told] [inserted: desir'd] him to tell his Officers tho he was there and to inform Genl Burgoyne that he had a letter for him - this produced a [trumpet] one of the new Light [Horses] but without his horse [text loss] Genl Lee with a Letter from Genl Burgoyne desiring [text loss] receive the Letter - Genl Lee wrote another Letter informing him how he had sent it - & inclos'd an [text loss] List of our kill'd and wounded in Bunker hill [text loss] & begg'd to have an exact List of theirs - the reason [text loss] was that some person who came out of Boston brought on [text loss] with him a damn'd infamous accott printed in Boston by Genl Gage in which he says that Gen Howe went out with "about" 2000 men & that the Rebels had thrice that number - that the Kings troops after surmounting almost incredible difficulties carried our almost impenetrable works with the Loss of 170 Kill'd on their part besides a great [text loss] wounded - Major Bruce told Mr. Webb that Co[text loss] Abercrombie was dead of a fever - the [trumpeter] says that Major Peterson [w]ith a great number of [text loss] officers were kill'd - upon the whole their [text loss] from the best accotts must have been above a thousand kill'd and wounded - from Mr. [Drapers] [text loss] which was published before they thought of disguising [text loss] Loss - their inaction since proves it to me beyond a [text loss] Mr Sherburn will go for Worcester to morrow by whom I shall write again
I am my dear Lucy
Your ever affectionate H[text loss]
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Knox, Lucy Flucker, 1756-1824
Burgoyne, John, 1722-1792
Lee, Charles, 1732-1782

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Military HistoryBattle of Bunker HillRevolutionary WarMilitiaPresidentFortificationSiege of BostonGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyBattleDeathContinental Army

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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