Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 75,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00276 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New London, Connecticut Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 April 1776 Pagination: 3p. : address ; 19.6 x 16 cm.

Summary of Content: Writes that he curses "the man who first brought on this war only because it separates me from my Love." Mentions that he has received instructions from George Washington to inspect and fortify the local harbor in order to make it safe for Continental troops and the American navy (see GLC02437.00274). Comments on his meeting with Admiral Esek Hopkins and his son, John B. Hopkins, who was recently injured in a naval engagement with the British ship Glasgow. Gives a favorable impression of both, comparing Esek to the Dutch Admiral Van Tromp and proclaiming that John will become a "formidable figure in American History." He longs to see his wife and will judge the propriety of sending for her when he reaches New York. Knox was then moving southward toward New York, planning coastal defenses against the British navy for Rhode Island and Connecticut in the process.

Full Transcript: New London April 24 1776
My tender dear friend
I write to you with all that Love & affection with which our hearts are united, I maledict the man who first brought on ...this war only because it separates me from my Love - I have received General Washingtons directions to inspect this Harbour in order to its being fortified [text loss] the Continental expense as a rendezvous & safe retreat [struck: fror] for our Ships or the American Navy - I have been on board Admiral Hopkins - and I've been in Company with his Gallant son who was wounded in the engagement with the Glasgow - the admiral is an Antiquated figure, he brought to my mind Van Tromp the famous Dutch admiral - Tho' antiquated in figure he is Shrew'd & sensible [2] I who you think am not a little enthusiastic [struck: as you think] should have taken him for an Angell only he swore now & then which to be sure is not angelic, his Son Capt John Hopkins is a sensible genteel man about 30 Years old and who will one day (if he don't get kill'd) make a most formidable figure in American History - How does my babe I most devoutly long to see you & [struck: hear] May our kind heavenly parent preserve you both - When I get to New York which I expect will be about the 2d or third of may I shall be able to judge of the propriety of sending for my Lucy - she cant possibly be more anxious to see me than I am to see her - Give my love to Your Aunt Waldo & children - my brot[text loss] Billey & Harry Jackson, I should have wri[text loss] to them & a much longer Le[text loss] than this Scrawl [inserted: to you] but a perpetual Hurry forbids
Adieu my Love Adieu
Harry Knox
[address leaf]
2. 16.
Mrs. Lucy Knox
April 1776
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Knox, Lucy Flucker, 1756-1824
Hopkins, Esek, 1718-1802
Hopkins, John Burroughs, 1742-1796
Washington, George, 1732-1799

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: NavyRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryLove LettersMarriagePresidentMaritimeContinental ArmyArtilleryInjury or WoundBattleGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyWomen's HistoryFortification

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources