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.

Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Benjamin Lincoln

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.

Log in
to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00783 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Letter Date: 28 September 1779 Pagination: 3 p. ; 23 x 18.7 cm.

A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00783 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Letter Date: 28 September 1779 Pagination: 3 p. ; 23 x 18.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Later copy. Expresses happiness in hearing of the British evacuation of South Carolina, which Knox attributes to Lincoln's attack on the British in the Battle of Stono Ferry, 20 June 1779, (there is evidence that the British had previous plans to evacuate the area). Informs Lincoln that some British troops are currently embarking from New York. Writes, "The Enemy as well in Europe as in America seemed to have formed some very high hopes of obtaining all South Carolina the present Campaign. The chagrin at the failure will be proportionate. The European intelligence is extremely flattering and the effects of which we hope will speedily produce the object of the War- viz, Peace Liberty and Safety ... " Predicts that the Count D'Estaing, leading a French fleet, operates off of the coast near Lincoln's location (possibly Savannah, Georgia). Asserts that D'Estaing is "paying a visit to your neighbor Sir James Wallace," a British naval commander. Discusses the framing of the Constitution: "Our Countrymen are forming a Constitution which is to be submitted to the people for their consideration- I think Mr. John Adams arrived in good time to assist in this important business." In a post script, mentions the failed Penobscot Expedition.

Full Transcript: [draft]
West Point 28th September 1779
Lincoln
from
Knox
My dear Sir
It is a long time since I have had the pleasure of hearing of your health, indeed the distance ...and want of opportunity renders a conveyance as uncertain as to Europe.
I was happy in hearing of the evacuation of South Carolina by the Enemy, more especially as it appeared to us to be in consequence of your attack on them at Stono[.] I hope they will not return again with an additional force. The Enemy are embarking some troops at New York accounts say five or six thousand, tho the numbers as well as their destination are uncertain.
The Enemy as well in Europe as in America seemed to have formed some very high hopes of obtaining all South Carolina [in] the present Campaign. The chagrin at the failure will be proportionate. The Euroepan intelligence is extremely flattering and the effects of which we hope will speedily [2] produce the object of the War - viz Peace[,] Liberty[,] and Safety - We know nothing of the operations of the Count D'Estang since his affair with Byron - although we have some reports (pretty strong ones) that he is upon your Coast, paying a visit to your Neighbour Sir James Wallace. after the ceremonies of which are over he is to come to New York and to act with us in an attempt to reduce that place.
Our Countrymen are forming a constitution which is to be submitted to the people for their consideration - I think Mr John Adams arrived in good time to assist in this important business.
When are we to have the pleasure of seeing you this way? Or are you so fond of the Climate as to change your former intentions respecting this Matter.
I am my dear Sir with great sincerity your very affectionate friend and
humble servant
HKnox -
You will have heard of the affair at [3] Penobscot. I shall say nothing more of it than that it was as had as the most vindictive Caledonian could wish[.]
HKnox
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810
Estaing, Charles Henri, comte d', 1729-1794
Adams, John, 1735-1826
Wallace, James

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: NavyFranceBattleRevolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGovernment and CivicsLawPresidentCanadaState Constitution

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources