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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00222 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Lake George, New York Type: Autograph letter Date: 17 December 1775 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 30.8 x 18.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Discusses activities relating to the transport of artillery captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga earlier that year. Comments on difficulties of getting the ordnance over Lake George. Mentions that he has obtained sleds and oxen. He will use the oxen to drag the artillery to Springfield, where he will get new animals to drag them the rest of the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Explains the route and speculates on potential for either progress or hardship. Expects to arrive in Cambridge in 16-17 days. Sends an inventory of the artillery from Ticonderoga and the pieces requested from Colonel Alexander McDougall in New York (not included). Explains arrangements with McDougall and seeks Washington's approval for them (see GLC02437.00220). Discusses activities in Canada in regard to Colonel Benedict Arnold and British Colonel Allan McLean. Closes by noting that he believes General Richard Montgomery is in possession of Quebec. [Knox was wrong about this.] Written from Fort George in Lake George, New York. Knox's retained working draft. Docket is written in another hand.

Full Transcript: Fort George Decr 17. 1775 -
May it please your Excellency

I return'd [struck: here with the] [inserted: to this place [inserted: on the 15] & brought with me the] Cannon [struck: on the 15...th] being nearly the time I conjectur'd it would take us to transport them to here, [inserted and strikeout] It is not easy [struck: to relate] [inserted: conceive] the difficulties we have had [inserted: in] getting them [struck: here] [inserted: over the Lake] owing to the advanc'd Season of the Year & contrary winds, but the danger is now past & [struck: what]; three days ago it was very uncertain whether we could have gotten them [struck: this Season] untill next spring, but now please God they must go - I have [struck: gotten] [inserted: had] made forty two exceeding Strong Sleds & have provided eighty Yoke of oxen to drag them as far as Springfield where [struck: we will] [inserted: I shall] get fresh Cattle to Carry them to Camp - the rout will be from here to Kinderhook from thence into Great Barrington Massachusetts Bay & down to Springfield There will [inserted: scarcely] be [struck: any] possibility of [struck: getting] conveying them from here to Albany or Kinderhook but on sleds the roads being very much gullied, [struck: there is good sledding from this] at present the sledding is tolerable to Saratoga about 26 miles; beyond [inserted: that] there [inserted: is] none - I have sent for the Sleds & teams to come here & expect to [inserted: begin] move them to Saratoga on [inserted: Wednesday or] Thursday next trusting that between this & then we shall have a [struck: good] [inserted: fine] fall of snow which will [inserted: enable us to proceed further &] make the carriage easy - if that should be the case I hope in 16 or 17 days time to be able to present to your Excellency a noble train of artillery [struck: as will appear by] The Inventory [inserted: of] which I have Inclos'd - I also send a list of those stores which I desir'd Col McDougal to send from New York - I did not know then of any 13 Inch mortars which was the reason of my ordering but of few shells of that size I now write to him for 500, [inserted: 13 Inch] & also for 200. 5 ¾ & 400 - of 4 ½ [inserted: inches for the illegible] - [struck: as being] if these sizes could be [2] had there [I should imag] [inserted: as I think they can] I should imagine it would save time [inserted: & expence] get them from thence rather than cast [inserted: them] - if sir you think otherwise or have made provision for them elsewhere you will please to countermand this order - There is no other news of Colo Arnold than that from Colo McCleans having burnt the Houses round Quebec Col. Arnold was oblig'd to go to point au tramble about 6 miles from the City - that Genl Montgomery had gone to join him with a Considerble [sic] Body of men & a good train of artillery - there are some timid & some malevolent Spirits which make this matter worse - but by the different accounts which I have been able to collect I have very little doubt that General Montgomery has Quebec in his possession
I am with the utmost
Respect Your Excellency's Most
Obedt Hble Servant
You will pleese Sir to observe [struck:Sir] that there are no carriages nor Implements to the Cannon nor beds to the Mortars, all of which must be made in Camp

His Excellency General Washington
Copy Letter to
General Washington
Fort George Decr 17
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People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Montgomery, Richard, 1738-1775
McDougall, Alexander, 1732-1786
Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801
McLean, Allan, 1752-1847

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: ArtilleryMilitary HistoryFort TiconderogaRevolutionary WarSiege of BostonTransportationTravelPresidentContinental ArmyCanadaGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign Policy

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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