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Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00668 Author/Creator: Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter Date: 27 November 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 32.3 x 20.3 cm.

Colonel Jackson writes, "Are you dead or alive- one post after another, and not a line from you-its a Mo since I saw your hand writi'g." Describes his attempts to enlist soldiers. Asks if George Washington would approve if he enlists British General John Burgoyne's men, who are marching through on their way to embark for England following the British defeat at Saratoga. Argues that since Burgoyne's men are neither prisoners nor deserters, he should be able to recruit them. Hopes to obtain a set of bayonet belts based on the English pattern. Reports he will not be able to make it to camp (where Knox is stationed outside of Philadelphia) until mid-January.

Knox has written brief notes on the address leaf regarding an order of march. A comparison of these notes with Washington's general orders of December 10-11, 1777 recommendations about marching orders from John Sullivan and fellow officers to Washington (all in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress) suggests that they pertain to the Continental Army's December 11, 1777 decampment from White Marsh, Pennsylvania en route to winter quarters at Valley Forge.

Boston Nov:r 27. 1777
Friend Harry
Are you dead or alive- one post after another, and not a line from you- its a Mo since I saw your hand writi'g-
I have wrote you allmost every Post since my Reg:t march'd- and when I have neglect'd, it has been owe'g to my prepare'g myself to join my Regt.
I hope his Excellencey the General will excuse my not being at headquarters before this- as I was unprepare'd in every particular far a Campaign- not expect'g to leave this till next Spring, and I [strikeout] am sure if [inserted: we] had remain'd here till then I should have march't 500 men at least, and then Harry, I would have turn'd them out against any Regt on the Continent, & now, it will never be more than 200 strong which is about one third of a Regt-
I shall march sir about a week 60 or 70 Continental Recruits more w:h will about replace the 8 mo: men that is in the Reg:t who will leave it the Middle of [2] Jan:y next- If his Excellency the General will give leave under the Rose or Wink at inlisting, the men that belong to Gen:l Burgoyne's Army. I can fill my Reg:t with the best- very best- of his men for a week- with a fine Band of Musick- Gen:l Burgoyne gives out Publickly that he nor his men are Prisoner's- they are only an unarm'd Body of Men March:g through a Country, to the nearest Sea Port to embark for their own home's-
now if they are not Prisoners- and I am certain they are not deserter's- I think they may be inlisted, at least some of the best of them- as I imagine'd my Regt could not get to Camp till it was time to go into winter Quarters. I have not hurr'd myself, as if it was the open'g- of a Campaign- I have not [strikeout] only myself to fix off- but I have a number of matters to get for my Regt- [strikeout] if they are not got before I set off, they never will- I dont chuse [sic] to trust to get'g any thing in Camp if I don't [3] provide for the Regt here- they will go bare back't, bare feet, & bare a-t and without one necessary- I am get'g made a complete set of Pouch's Bayonet Belts & gun slings- after the English pattern- you may expect to see me in Camp the middle of Jan:y and then I shall not want to return home till the end of the war- I wish you to write me if the Gen.l say's any thing on my not com'g on- and give him [inserted: my] reason's-
I wrote you some time ago the Tartar- was taken- since w:h Capt Grimes is come up from Halifax- he was taken by a 64 gun ship- we shall loose about ?300 Lmy by her- The Hero has not sent any thing in yet- but you may expect great things from her I assure you- she is the best ship [put] out on the Continent- Harry I wish you to advice Collo Cobb in any matter of the Regt- you may think necessary as none of us have been in the service and stand in need of the best advice- the first Impression is allways the most lasting, in haste
your Friend

To Brigadier Gen:l Knox
at Genl Washington's Head Quarter's

1 [sub] from each regt
1 Capt from the park to march at 3 Clock over the Bridge-
Commissary Gnl Storey Commd

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