Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 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 William 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 #: GLC02437.00311 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 23 May 1776 Pagination: 1p.+docket. 31.8 cm. x 19.2 cm.

Indicates that he received William's letter from his wife Lucy, who just arrived in New York with their newborn child. Anticipates New York as "principal seat of war" and worries about his family being in harms way. Mentions that George Washington has gone to meet with the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to discuss the current campaign. Welcomes the news that General Horatio Gates has been promoted to major general and been placed in charge of the defense of Boston. Mentions a heavy loss inflicted by a schooner from the West Indies two days earlier. Promises to write more frequently and councils William to move out of Boston should the British attempt to retake it.

[draft]
Dear Brother,
I recd your affectionate Letter by your Sister who with her babe arriv'd here last evening. Tho' their Journey has been over rough and [uncomfortable] roads yet they are not excedingly fatigu'd - This place from certain Information will be made the principal seat of war in America; if so it will be no pleasant place for my wife [illegible] - the day before Yesterday General Washington set off for Philadelphia to concert with the Congress the necessary measure, for the insuring Campaign. Tis said that General Gates who is made a Major General is to Command at Boston [& Col] Mifflin who is made a Brigadier is to accompany him - this I think will be a agreable to my Countrymen - we met with a heavy loss the day before yesterday a schooner from the West Indies taken - her cargo 500 Stand armor - and -12 tons powder - I feel a sorrow at not having written to you before [illegible] as your sister was at Boston she would Communicate whatever I write - But I promise you to feed you plentifully with news for the future & I expect from the like return - if the enemy should attempt Boston I think it best you should move our poor modicum out of the Town, but in this and every thing else be govern'd by prudent advice I am your
Affectionate Brother -
H Knox
Give my love to the Colonel of the fatigue party and tell him I expect him to write me a long account of the promotions and proceedings at Boston as I intend to please him sufficiently with my Letters

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources