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 #: GLC02437.00640 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 25 August 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 32.1 x 19.4 cm.
Written at "Derby, 7 Miles below Philadelphia" (possibly Darby, Pennsylvania). Reports that his troops had begun to march to the North River (the Hudson), but received a dispatch that British General William Howe was in the Chesapeake Bay. Believes Philadelphia to be Howe's target, and predicts he will approach Philadelphia via the Delaware River, not the Chesapeake Bay. Reports that American troops marched through Philadelphia 24 August: "their excellent appearance... astonished the Tories, who are very downcast in the Respectability of the army." Reports that he and General Nathanael Greene traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to obtain gauze for Lucy, and were called back by General George Washington. Refers to General John Stark's victory in the recent Battle of Bennington and praises Stark's command of the militia. In closing Knox expresses his love for Lucy.
Derby, 7 Miles below Philadelphia 25 Aug' 1777
The post not having arriv'd at Camp I have it not in my power to acknowledge the receipt of the Letters of my Lucy. I was in hopes by this post to have acquainted you that I was coming nearer to you, as a remove of the army had been determin'd upon towards the NRiver. But after we had march'd a few Miles, an express arriv'd informing of the enemy being in Chesepeak Bay near 300 miles up from the Capes of Virginia - the design as suppos'd to possess a neck of Land from Christeen River to the head of Elk river, 12 miles across [struck: and] by which they would seperate seven Counties of Delaware and maryland, and two of Virginia. The inhabitants of these counties or at least a great number of them are disafected, and capable of supplying Sr W.m with provisions in plenty. others again suppose that he intends to land there & march to Philadelphia.
Both of these conjectures are in my opinion almost totally wrong. I beleive Philadelphia may be his principall object, but it is not by the way of Chesepeak, the plain natural way by the Delaware will be his route. - The Army will take post below Wilmington about 16 miles from this place and on to which they are now on  on their march. two divisions will be there to night and two others with the Pack of Artillery will be there tomorrow night.
The army Yesterday march'd thro the City of Philadelphia - their excelent appearance and marching astonish'd the Tories, who are very downcast in the respectability of the army - I was so unhappy as to absent at this time - when we lay at Bucks County and the Army had determin'd to move to the Jersies - Genl Greene and my self begg'd the favor of his Excellencys [struck: Genl] permission to pay a visit to Bethehem, to purchase some things for my dear dear Lucy - distant about forty miles - the weather was extremely hot and we [strikeout] set out 4 Â°Clock in the afternoon and arriv'd at Bethlehem next morning at 9 Â°Clock - where an express from the General was waiting for us with orders to return immediately. he had rode all night - however we first visited all parts of this singularly happy place - where all the inhabitants seem to vie with each other in humility and brotherly kindness - I inquired for the suit you desired me but they inform'd me that Guaze was so extremely scarce that they have not even a pair of ruffles but that if you would send Guaze for any things you might want they should be done as soon as possible - which indeed will be pretty quick - I have no conception of the quickness with which the Girls execute their tambour or flowering - an Inch a minute for certain -
I shall reserve myself the pleasure  of resenting this place untill I have the ineffable pleasure of seeing you - when that will be I cant say but please God at all events before Christmas -
We joind the Army after a most fatiguing Jaunt of 100 miles Yesterday about an hour after they had pass' d thro Philadelphia -
The news of the militia at the Northward under General Stark must give you singular satisfaction - indeed it was a noble stroke for the oldest troops, but the atcheivement by Militia doubly enhances the value of the action - America will ever be free if all her sons executed themselves equally -
The violence which I am oblig'd to exert [text loss] restrain myself from bursting every tye of obligation [text loss] my country, and uniting myself inseperably to my dearest Love is past description - we were made for each others happiness - and I most sincerely [execrate] the wretches who have been the Cause that we were even a moment asunder - and Consider it as time lost to happiness - I love you purely and devoutly - all other affections whether of Brother or friend is nothing to the order of affection I have for you - may God soon bring us together again - & I sincerely [struck: bless] beg him to bless you and your babe.
I am my dearest Love
Your truly affectionate Husband
M.rs Lucy Knox
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.