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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to William Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01120 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Dobbs Ferry, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 5 August 1781 Pagination: 6 p. : docket ; 23 cm x 19 cm.

Summary of Content: Written at camp near Dobbs Ferry by Brigadier General Knox to his brother William Knox. References William's letter of 25 July 1781. Says he wrote last week and hopes he has received the letter as the post office has been unreliable. It seems that someone in Lucy Knox's family is dying, but Henry says he will not tell her because she "will be afflicted by it beyond moderation." Says her family in England will want to know of this information, and wants to be informed when a Mrs. Winslow will sail for Plymouth, so he can write to Lucy's sisters and mother. Says the "destruction" of paper money will damage the cause. Says "the stoppage [of paper money] will create a distress here[.] I am pretty certain it will be temporary. I shall consider it as the dawn of returning honesty and industry." Says they have enough troops to defend themselves, but not to undertake an offensive campaign. References Major General Nathanael Greene's siege at Ninety Six in South Carolina. Says Greene could not storm the position, but that the siege forced the enemy to abandon the position and retire to Charleston. Claims that "Twice General Greene has fought General Actions [at Guilford Courthouse and Hobkirk Hill] was defeated completely and yet reaped all the consequences of victory." Says the British probably have control of Plymouth, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Says the American and French armies "are in the most perfect harmony."

Full Transcript: [draft]
Camp near Dobbs Ferry 5th August 1781.

I have received your favor my dear friend of the 25th ultimo. I wrote you last week & Cap.t Crocker which I hope ...you have received, I now write by an express. The post office is so badly arranged as [inserted: to oblige letters] to go from here to Fish Kill distant 50 miles, and almost the whole distance out of the way, and perhaps detain'd there a day or two. besides which as the post goes at stated times there is great danger of his being intercepted. these are the reasons which have induced me not to write by that conveyance. But he assured I shall eagerly contract any other and even that when under circumstances of more facility & security.
The letter which you enclos'd to your [sister] and which I open'd contains bad news. It informs that [2] that circumstances had so preyed on Mr Fluckers mind as to cause [of very] severe illness from which he never [inserted: would] recover and that it was expected the next packet would bring the dismal news." I have not forwarded the letter to Lucy who is at present up the North river, and who will be afflicted by it beyond moderation. The family in England also have their distress extremely increased by so [awful] an event. I pray you to inform me particularly when Mrs Winslow will sail from Plymouth that Lucy may write fully to her mother & sister.
I cannot but be of opinion that the destruction of the paper money will be a circumstance favorable to our cause. I have reasons for my opinion are too many to be detailed at present. I know the stoppage will create a distress but I am pretty certain it [3] it will be temporary. I shall consider it as the dawn of returning honesty and industry.
We are here in force sufficient to combat any thing the enemy can bring against us but not sufficient for the capital enterprise in view, and it depends upon the respective States whether we shall have an adequate force this campaign. did they realize the importance of the present moment, the Parsons Deacons & parishes of the whole [community] would wish to terminate a War in which we risque so much.
Another singular circumstance has happen'd at ninety six the place [what] General Greene besieged and which he attempted unsuccessfully by storm, and was obliged to raise the siege the Enemy have abandoned it since and retired probably to Charlestown. [4] Twice General Greene has fought General actions was defeated complety and yet reaped all the consequences of victory. once at Guilford Court House, by which he chased Cornwalis to Wilmington in North Carolina and finally obliged him to abandon the State - and then with Lord Rawdon at Canbden, where he was defeated and yet the enemy abandoned Canbden and all that part of North Carolina, and now in the third instance of ninety six - Indeed it may be said he has conquerd & [lay] defeated. The Enemy are now probably in possession of [Falmouth] in Virginia Charleston & Savannah only after having threatened all the Southern States with subjugation. General Greene has conducted perfectly well. he has fought when necessary & he has run when [5] when occasion demanded it.
The french Army and ours are in the most perfect harmony. it extends from the Commanders in chief down to the lowest centinel. This augurs well, & we are convinced [whenever we] come in contact with the Enemy they will feel the force of a combination of the ardor & zeal of the french and the patriotism of American arms.
I pray you to write often, but be cautious what you write by the post altho I request earnestly that you do not fail to write by every one
Give my love to Colonel & Mrs Sears M[r] & Mrs Smith Mr Peirce and all friends. I intended to have written a much longer letter but I am obligd to [6] ride out on a reconnoitre
I am my dear friend & Brother
Your sincerely affectionate
Mr William Knox.
Brigdr Genl Knox
Augt 5.h 1781.
Dobbs Ferry
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Knox, William, 1756-1795
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Post OfficeDeathFranceBattleChildren and FamilyRevolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralWomen's HistoryLoyalistGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyCoins and CurrencyInaugural AddressEconomicsMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyBattleFrance

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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