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.

Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) to Henry 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 #: GLC02437.00650 Author/Creator: Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter Date: 18 September 1777 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 32.5 x 20.5 cm.

Jackson declares, "...I am sure if we exert ourselves to the Southward & Northward as we ought to do that this Campaign will nearly bring the War to a Close, and establish our Independence." Reports he has heard news that Generals Horatio Gates, Benjamin Lincoln, and Benedict Arnold intend to attack British General John Burgoyne's army (near Saratoga, New York). Discusses growth of militia in the State of Massachusetts, noting "...its said there is the finest body of militia now in the field that wer [sic] ever known..." Mentions that some towns, being unable to raise enough voluntary militia, pay men to join the militia.

On 19 September 1777, Gates attacked Burgoyne in the Battle of Freeman's Farm, or First Battle of Saratoga.

Boston Sept: 18. 1777
Dr. Harry

Before this reach's you I think you must have done something for the honor of America and I am sure if we exert ourselves to the Southward & Northward as we ought to do that this campaign will nearly bring the War to a Close, and establish our independence.
The Affairs to the Northward are in a fine way and from every cercomstance [sic] I am sure we shall give them a drubing -
A Gentleman came to town last Night from Albany which he left 4 days ago - he say's when [inserted: he] left albany an express arriv'd there, from Genl Gates - give'g an acct that he was advancing towards the enemy in [inserted: 3] divisions - Genl Lincoln on the right Genl Arnold on the Left, and Genl Gates in the Center - that they were within 4 miles of Genl Burgoyne's Main Army - that Genl Gates's whole Army consisted of at least 14,000 men - all were Cloth'd well arm'd plenty of Provisions & in high spirits - Genl Gates is determined to attack them let the consequence be what it may, & I pray God he may come off Victorious - [2] Harry I assure there is a great alteration for the better in the Spirits of the New England States - all the Militia in the Backparts of this State have turn'd to a man - the best Farmers have turn'd out & gone into the ranks, its said there is the finest body of Militia man now in field that ever was known - but the near you come to the sea ports the more backward are the Militia -
- The Towns in this State that have not got their quota of men for the Continental Army - are giving £100 - [LMY]: to any man that will go - some Town's have given 500 dollars to each man to go for their Town - this a fact - No News, nor Prizes arrived since I wrote you -
Your
Friend
[address leaf]
To
Brigr : Genl: Knox
at
Genl : Washington's
Head Quarters
post

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources