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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00212 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 27 November 1775 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 30.8 x 18.3 cm.

Summary of Content: A highly detailed letter in which Knox reports on his efforts to obtain ordnance in New York City for the Continental Army in Cambridge. Discusses similar, unsuccessful activities in regard to the activities of a man named Colonel Read, and his problems with the committee sitting during the recess of the Second Continental Congress, possibly the Second Provincial Congress, which met in New York in late 1775 or the Committee of Safety. Reports Colonel Alexander McDougall's promise to exert his influence on the committee and have them send munitions to Cambridge immediately. Seeks permission to have McDougall arrange for some artillery pieces to be cast at a New York foundry. Informs Washington that he will leave for Fort Ticonderoga the following day, and expresses worries about the size of artillery he will be able to transport. Relays detailed news from Robert Livingston about the easy American victory at Montreal on 13 November 1775 that Knox believes has not reached Washington yet. Asks Washington to order Lieutenant Colonel William Burbeck to build carriages for the new artillery pieces. Has sketch of an unnamed fort on verso. Knox's retained working draft.

Full Transcript: New York Nov 27 1775

May it please your Excellency

I arriv'd here Last Saturday morning & immediately made enquiry whether Col Read had done any thing in the business [struck: mention'd Sir ...by you] [inserted: with which I was charg'd] - I found that [struck: Col Reads] [inserted: his] stay had been short during which time the Committee [struck: which] [inserted: that] sit during the recess of the Congress could not be gotten together so that he went away with out being able to forward the business in the least. - Yesterday the Committee met & after having considerd of you excellencys [struck: message] [inserted: Letter] to them Colo Mc Dougal waited upon me & gave such reasons for not complying with the requisition of the heavy cannon as would not be prudent to put upon paper - [struck: The Congress meet] he has promis'd me that he will [strikeout] use his utmost influence [struck: &] in the Congress [struck: that the field piece & doubts not of su] [inserted: which meets tomorrow] & has no doubt of success, that 12. [inserted: exceeding good] Iron 4 pounders with a Quantity of shells & shot [struck: which now lay] shall be sent to Camp immediately & [struck: I] also he has promis'd the loan of two [inserted: fine] brass six pounders cast in [strikeout] a foundery in this city - they have six finished - I very sincerely wish you excellency had been acquainted with this circumstance & charg'd me with a Commission to have had a number cast for the Camp - they turn out 3/9 N York Currency a pound & weigh 600 [lb] thou imported from London cost 2/16 sterl [Plb] - [struck: If your excellen] If sir you should think proper to have some done & will give orders to Collo Mc Dougal or some other Gentlemen of this city - the founder will execute one in two days after he shall receive the orders - & so any number in proportion - he also can cast mortars - Colo Mc Dougal is so obliging as to promise me in the name [struck: I shall leave that] [inserted: of the Congress] that they will forward those articles [inserted in the left hand margin: with utmost expedition] [2] I shall set out by land tomorrow morning for Ticonderoga & proceed with the utmost expedition as knowing our whole dependance for heavy cannon is from that part - I am rather diffident that I shall not be able to get any heavier than eighteen pounders - [inserted: by my return to Camp] perhaps the reasons [struck: stray] which [struck: now hinder] which now operate to prevent my getting the heavy her may [struck: not] then [inserted: cease to] exist - [struck: & we may be able to go]
permit me to congratulate your excellency on the reduction of Montreal which surrender'd the 18th instan. [struck: Mr livingston who is Col Cap.n in this Town in this] General Montgomery sent Capn Livingston of this Colony forces with the important news to the Continental Congress he pass'd thro' this Town Yesterday - he says that on our troops getting on montreal side of the river Twelve of the principal [struck: of the] Inhabitants came out and Offer'd to Capitulate - they at first propos'd haughty terms but were soon reduc'd to reason & general Montgomery with about 1200 Men took possession the same day - they had not boats to carry any more over at once - 9 Vessels had sail'd from montreal the day before - in one of which was Genl Carelton [sic] & Brigd Prescott - another had all the powder the rest laden'd with military stores of all kinds Our people expecting the flight had previously erected a Battery at a point of Land projecting from the mouth of the river sorrell - [strikeout] a [floating] Battery - the Commander of the Land Battery had orders to fire red hot shot at the vessels. - [strikeout] [inserted: the masters of which had heard of this resolution & it] had much intimidated [inserted: them] The master of the powder vessell had Declar'd before he left Montreal that he would surrender on the first shot being fir'd - our troops intercepted, [struck: from Quebec] a Letter [inserted: from Quebec] in which it is said "the Yankies are now at point Levi about crossing over to this city" [struck: so sir the] this must have been Colo Arnold [3] [struck: your excellency will please to excuse my being thus particular when I think it probable that a particular express may not have yet reach'd you - ] [and] so that in all probability our people are now in possession of all I saw a Letter from Genl Schuyler which was only in general terms giving an acc of the day of surrend which is the reason of my [strikeout] relating the particulars [struck: to.]
I am most Respectfully
Your Excellencys most
ObDt Hble Servant
Henry Knox

[struck: Your Excellency] [inserted: you will] [struck: will] will please [inserted: Sir] to give Orders to Col Burbeck to set get [inserted: light] field carriges [inserted: & appurtenances made for these field peics [sic] - The
Copy letter to Genl
New York Nov
27, 1775
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799
McDougall, Alexander, 1732-1786

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Military HistoryFort TiconderogaRevolutionary WarPresidentContinental ArmyArtilleryAmmunitionSiege of BostonContinental CongressCongressGovernment and CivicsIndustryTravelTransportationCanadaGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyBattleArtisansFortification

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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