Knox, Henry (1750-1806) [Hints for the Improvement of the Artillery of the United States]
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 #: GLC02437.00459 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph document signed Date: 27 September 1776 Pagination: 3 p. : docket; 33.3 x 20.5 cm.
A report for the Continental Congress outlining specific recommendations to improve the organization, supply, and administration of the Continental Army's artillery. Composed at Harlem Heights in New York. Title from docket. Knox's retained copy & marked 'copy' by him.
Head Quarters Harlem Heights Sept 27 1776
The following hints for the improvement of the Artillery of the united States is humbly submitted to the Committee of the honorable Congress now in Camp
That there be one or more capital Laboratories erected at a distance from the seat of war in which shall be prepar'd large quantities of ordnance stores of every speceis [sic] and denomination
That at the same place a sufficient number of able artificers be employ'd to make carriages for Cannon, of all sorts and sizes, ammunition Waggons, Tumbrils [sic], harness, &c &c.
That as contiguous as possible to this place a foundery for casting brass cannon, Mortars, Howitzers, be establish'd upon a large scale
And as Officers can never act with Confidence untill they are Masters of their profession, an Academy establish'd on a liberal plan would be of the utmost service to america. Where the whole Theory and practice of Fortification and Gunnery should be taught, to be nearly on the same plan as that at Woolwich, making allowances for the difference of circumstances, a place to which our enemies are indebted for the superiority of their artillery to all who have oppos'd them.
That these and all other matters respecting the Artillery and Artillery Stores be under the direction of a board of ordnance whose business shall be the regulation and management of the affairs of this  department, and to whom returns shall be made.
The Corps of Artillery now in the service of the united States is exceedingly insufficient for the operations of an extensive Service, It consists of little more than six hundred officers included. of these one hundred are in the Northern army where their numbers are very unequal to the service.
His Excellency General Washington has to supply the deficiency of this corps draughted from the different Regiments six hundred men, and General Gates a proportionable number This is a temporary remedy attended with a variety of inconveniences.
There ought to be a respectable body of Artillery establish'd which shall be equal to all the services of war. In proportion to every thousand men in the marching Regiments, there ought to be one Company of Artillery of sixty men including officers. This number will be found to be small when the various contingencies of the artillery shall be consider'd Supposing then the army to commit of eighty Battalions of 726 men each which will make nearly 60.000. The number of Artillery requisite will be 3660. These may be thrown into two or three Battalions as shall be thought best.
If any circumstance shall happen to render the movement of this army necessary, one hundred cover'd waggons will be wanting to transport the Stores, [text loss] one ton and a half to each waggon and six horses also 300 strong to draw the travelling Artillery
All the heavy artillery in Garrison carriages and the heaviest stores are not included in the above estimate  Waggoners and Drivers for the above. A Waggon Master to be establish'd for the Artillery also a quartermaster for the Horses and Waggons whom business shall be to purchase hay, horses &c as may be wanted
Exclusive of the Artificers at the fixd Laboratories there must be an hundred of different branches attachd to the Artillery. - to repair Carriages when broken, make platforms and a thousand other matters belonging to the Artillery
Besides the Commissary of Stores it will be necessary to have a deputy Commissary who shall be a capable active man. The number of Conductors and Clerks to be twelve. if the service should require more they are to be added during the pleasure of the Commander in Chief
The [struck: following] Commanding officer of Artillery to have a clerk attach'd to him for the purpose of collecting arranging and disposing the various Returns of Cannon and Stores
The following brass field peices [sic] are wanting [an] as there is a considerable quantity of Copper [collected] it is to be wishd that the founder might be employ immediately
18. Six pounders Henry Knox
18 three d0 Colo Artillery
hints for the
Improvement of the
Artillery of the united
States Septr 27. 1776.
& then deliver'd to
Messrs Gerry. - J
[Lewis] a Committee
[from] the honorable
Congress to inquire
into the deficiencies
of the sevaral [sic] Grand
departments of the
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.