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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00784 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 30 September 1779 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 31.5 x 19.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Working draft of Knox's report to George Washington. Describes British fortifications at Stony Point and Verplanck, New York. Advises Washington regarding the feasibility of attacking British posts in the area. Docket reads, "Knox to Washington No. 4" with final page adding a report on West Point.

Full Transcript: [draft]
In obedience to your Excellency's directions to us the subscribers we in Company with Brig Genl Wayne reconnoitred the Enemy's posts [strikeout] [inserted: at] Stony and Verplanks points. We ...first took a general view [inserted: of the two places] from the Donderbergh. after which we took a more close view of Stony point on the north side from a piece of Ground which we estimated at about 800 yards distance. it [struck: might] may be more or less as we have not instruments to measure it. We then viewed the Works on the West side from the base Hill at the distance perhaps from 14 to 1600 yards, and from the low grounds on the south side.
The Grounds on the North and West Side appear to be the most advantageous places for batteris, tho' possibly other spots may be found which might serve these same purpose in an inferrior degree - [struck: That distance appears] But the distance from the nearest place which is to the North appears to be such that the making a breach with cannons would be a very uncertain [struck: and] event; but the palasades and Jersies could be destroy'd by cannon and the block houses ruin'd [2] [struck: by] [inserted: with] the United effects of shots and shells. For this purpose we think it would be necessary to have 15 or 16 heavy Cannon and eight or ten mortars and howitzers - An Estimate of the quantity of Ammunition requisits for a ten days Siege and an account of the quantity in this post and the neighborhood are subjoined - from which view your Excellency will be able to judge of the quantity that will remain for this post after such a consumption.
It may perhaps be unnecessary to mention That the [Investiture] must be made with a force, superior to what the Enemy can bring to the releif of the place; That Works must be constructed for the security of the troops and battaries; and that the north leading from West & Stony point by Clements must be made passable for the Artillery and Stores -
The Enemy have demolished a number of [inserted: their] Works on Verplanks point and at present appear to retain only the redoubt on La Fayette and another to the North of it with some lines between - [strikeout] It would not be very difficult to erect batteries which [inserted: probably] would disposses them of Verplanks point -
H Knox

[3] Westpoint [struck: 29th.] [inserted: 30th.] September 1779

His Excellency Genl Washington
[4]on all sides the Works appear to be so strong as to defy a Coup de main. The parapets are high and appear to be strong, are well framed in some instances with a double row. The Abbatis are thin [inserted: and well made] in the main work which is inclos'd there is a Citidel [strike-out] in which there is a block house - besides which there are two other block houses in the main Work and three outside of it in detach'd Works immediately under the Command of the main Work [inserted: there is only one entrance into the main works which is on the south] - a sketch of the Works as they appeared to me is herewith annex'd -

A paper respecting
West point 2 Octobr
1779 - not presented - Knox to Washington No 4 -
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryPresidentGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFortificationWest Point (US Military Academy)

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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