Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00655 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 6 October 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 32 x 19.2 cm.
Written from Artillery Park Camp, 25 miles from Philadelphia. Notes that he would have written more details earlier, but "the success of the enterprise depended upon secrecy...." Gives an account of the Battle of Germantown (4 October 1777), in which "a fog which was but moderate at first became so thick from the Continental firing of cannon... that it absolutely became impossible to see..." Despite the conditions, reports, "Our troops are in prodigious spirits at being able to drive nearly the whole collective force of the enemy so far-" Relates that his brother, William Knox, "behaved with Spirit." Also notes that General [Francis] Nash was injured by a cannon (Nash died from this wound). Forwarded from Hartford, Connecticut 18 October 1777 by Jonathan Trumbull and signed by Trumbull.
Artillery Park, Camp, 25 Miles from Philadelphia 6th Octbr 1777
My dearest Lucy
I expect the post will arrive this day by which I shall have the happiness of hearing from my dear Girl. A Mr Bates is going off to Hartford by him I could not help writing to you altho' I am by no means certain it will reach you so soon as the post who will go perhaps to morrow or next day -
I wrote you on the morning of the 3d Inst [by] the post and inform'd you that I was in hopes I should be able to give You some pleasing intelligence before Christmas Indeed I expected it the next day but I did not write my Lucy so partly for fear of alarming her and partly because it was dangerous to send a Letter of such a nature on the road as the success of the enterprise depended upon secrecy - we [struck: had] form'd a design to attack the enemy and [inserted: to] put in execution next morning - accordingly we [struck: march'd] began to march at 6 OClock in the evening and march'd all night  being distant from the enemies encampment from 15 to 20 miles - the Columns arriv'd nearly about the same time and made the attack with an impetuosity that would have done honor to old Soldiers - the enemy retreated two [struck: or th] miles in [front] and about a mile and an half on their right - all things were in a most happy way the enemy [retreating] from every part - when [struck: the] [inserted: a] fog which was but moderate at first became so thick from the continued firing of Cannon and musquetry that it absoulutely [sic] became impossible to see an object [struck: at twenty] yards distance - to this cause and this [struck: only was] in conjunction with the enemies taking possession of some stone buildings in German Town is to be ascribed the loss of the victory which we had been in posession of for above two hours - the action lasted 2 hours and forty minutes - at last we were oblig'd to give way in our turn and retreat which was conducted in [stuck: tolerable] such order that we did not lose a single piece of Cannon and lost very few prisoners - we brought off the greater part of our wounded  we might have kill'd and wounded about 500 - our troops are in prodigious Spirits at being able to drive nearly the whole collective of the enemy so far - God who orders all things for the best gave us not the final Victory [perhaps] he will the next time - it will not be long before we have another tryall of skill - we retreated beyond our former Camp about 3 miles - I am sorry that it is not in my power to write you more fully but the Gentleman who takes this refuses to stay one moment - excuse me to Harry but shew him this Letter - My Brother behaved with Spirit - Genl Nash had his thighs taken off by a Cannon ball he was the only Genl. Officer wounded though we had a large proportion of officers killed and wounded -
I am Dearest Lucy
Your most Affectionate
Mrs. Lucy Knox
Rec'd pr Express &
forwarded by Madam Your humble servt
Hartford 18th Octo 1777
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