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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Benjamin Lincoln

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01426 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Burlington, New Jersey Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 May 1782 Pagination: 6 p. : docket ; 33.2 x 21.2 cm.

Explains his recommendations and opinions on key issues regarding the "ensuing campaign" in and around New York. Relates that upon asking General George Washington when to be prepared to march his troops, General Washington claimed to be out of touch with the status of preparations, but as soon as he decided, he would let Knox know. Knox relates that this makes him uneasy, as it makes planning the ordnance and stores far more difficult. Describes recent experiments on howitzers of French and of English origin, and explains that they require different shell sizes (see GLC02437.01411), and recommends Captain [William] Stevens and Mr. [John Jacob] Faesch for the job. Recommends reproofing all the shells in Pennsylvania and Maryland because of previous accidents. Describes the recent acquisition by General Washington of cannon from the state of Virginia (see GLC02437.01394). Encloses a list of stores requested for West Point and the field, as well as one prepared by General [William] Irvine for Fort Pitt. Emphasizes the necessity of building the required number of carriages, wagons, tumbrils, and cartridges, and of obtaining the requested number of horses. Also mentions Mr. [Samuel] Hodgdon.

Burlington 20 May 1782
[struck: I have written [inserted and struck: wrote] to his some time] sometime ago I wrote to his Excellency General Washington for directions when [inserted: & by what route] to order the Corps of Artillery [inserted and struck: under Colonel Curtis] [inserted: under Colo [Lamb] [inserted: could be] at this place to commence their March to [struck: The North] [inserted: Hudsons] River. In answer [inserted: to which] the General says, that he is so totally in the dark respecting the scene of operations for the ensuing campaign that he cannot [inserted: at present] give any directions concerning [struck: the [line] and route, that Colonel [Lambs] regiment shall must [inserted: [strikeout] the matter [strikeout]] but that as soon as he is decided he will give orders in [season]. This uncertainty of the Generals determination [struck: in some degree] perplexes [me] in a great degree, in making requisitions for Ordnance & Stores for the ensuing campaign- In case of an operation against new York we shall certainly want the [struck: Iron 18 pounders, and the 10 inch] ordnance contained in the [proper] Number one. The ordnance Contained in number two will be wanted for the common purposes of the Campaign. [inserted in left margin: The 8 inch howitzers, will be wanted at West point, to replace those taken from thence [struck: last] [inserted: last] Campaign and for other uses -] [struck: and it appears to me that under any circumstances a part of the 2 inch howitzers ought to go [inserted: to West point] where the troops shall march from hence, as we deprived [inserted and struck: that garrison] [strikeout]] [2] [struck paragraph: last year of nearly all the [inserted: 8 inch] howitzers of [those] sizes -If only part of the howitzers should be order'd in I think they ought to be of the french construction whose [diameter] is ¾ of an inch larger in [the] [illegible] than the english.-The reason that I have not presently requested them is, my knowledge of the difficulty of procuing the means of transportation, if you can remove this [inserted: difficulty] I pray that the whole of the howitzers english and [inserted: the] french [struck: may be sent] which were taken at York Town, and which are [struck: have] been [struck: remounted] [inserted: were mounted] at this place may be forwarded.] [end of struck paragraph]
[inserted in the left margin of page 3: We took at York Town 6. [struck: 8 inch] french 8 inch Howitzers. those have [strikeout] new carriages made at this place-a hope was formed that the english 8 inch shells would answer without much variation. But by] By the fairest experiments it appears that the windage of an english 8 inch shell is too great to be be fired out of a [struck: n] [inserted: french] howitzer [struck: of the french] of that size which is actually ¾ of an inch larger than the english measure. The effect of the powder is lost in such a [inserted: manner] as to render the [firing] too uncertain to be depended on in any degree. This reduces [inserted: it] [struck: us] to the necessity of heavy shells cast on purpose. I shall [strikeout] [inserted and struck: with your permission] send [struck: an officer] Captain Stevens a careful Officer to [struck: superintend the p] Mr Faeshe [inserted: favors us] with the compleation of a shell agreeably to [struck: the enclos'd] a profile [struck: with orders to cast three thousand on this plan] [inserted: which he will give you. I beg you will give Capt Stevens an order to Mr. Faesh to cast 3000 of this construction.-and also order him [struck: some] a small sum of money for his [struck: expen] extra expences.] Captain Stevens will superintend the proving of the shells at that Furnace and will give a certificate of [such] [struck: shells] as shall be good. [struck: Captain Stevens will wait on you for ord]
As I am on the subject of proving shells I submit to you [3] the propriety of [struck: proving] reproving all the shells in Pennsylvania & Maryland. The experience we had of [struck: their] [strikeout] [inserted: the last Campaign of] the great number of defective shells being sent from the furnaces for good ones will amply justify the measure, and save the mortification and chagrin arising from a repetition of the like in future. There are officers [inserted: & men] of the 4th regiment in Pennsylvania who might be employed on this Business. Capt Emmes of that regiment appears [struck: to me to] to me a careful officer & proper for the purpose-
I have enclos'd a list of stores which [inserted and struck: under any circumstances] [inserted: definately] will be wanted for the Laboratories at West point & in the field, under any circumstances - as Most or all [struck: of these Articles] are [on hand] in Philadelphia [struck: I take the liberty] I request they may be forwarded to West Point when the Park shall move from here or previously [struck: but as] as you may think proper.
[struck: The danger of Common mistakes issuing from Cannon of nearly the same calibre, [strikeout] me]
I gave into your hands some papers which pass'd between his Excellency General Washington and the State of Virginia respecting [struck: the exchange] some [struck: bra] large brass Cannon in possession of [struck: the] [4] [inserted: & belonging to] [struck: to] that State, [struck: and] which the General at my instance requested to be deliverd to the continent, and for which other Stores might be given [inserted and struck: for them] I understand some of these Cannon are french 24 pounders [struck: which are so near the english measure] [inserted: the difference between which & the english measure is not [sufficiently] great [struck: to be] [strikeout] & to be very apparent] [inserted: and yet [struck: too large] the balls] as would be too large for the other that I am apprehensive frequent mistakes would arise which might be of more disadvantage than the [struck: possession] [inserted: want] of the Cannon - I therefore [struck: request that] would [strikeout] take the liberty to request that you would be pleased only to obtain those of 16 pounds [inserted: for] which [struck: answer without difficulty to our 18 pounders] 18 pound shot [inserted: english] will answer without difficulty.
[struck: The very great heav]
The heavy [struck: job] peice of [Work] which the Artificer's have had to make entirely new carriages for the french 8 Inch Howitzers, and one english [struck: are] has consumed so much time, & Mr. Hodgdon being unable to send them any assistance in blacksmiths as requested [struck: as to] [inserted: have] prevented their making [struck: as] [inserted: so] many of the new constructed Waggons and tumbrills as I requested - It therefore becomes absolutely necessary to have as many done by contract as possible and as we are so destitute of those carriages I beg that the original [5] original number [inserted: requested] of twenty [struck: of each] [inserted: Waggons & twenty Tumbrils] may be adhered to
[struck: I beleive]
[struck: I understand] The new cartridg Boxes requested some time ago will be much wanted, on the North River, it will therefore [inserted: be] necessary to send [struck: all that are finished] [inserted: from] Philadelphia all that are finished.
[struck: I take the] I beg leave to lay before you a list of Stores, given to me by General [Irwin], which he says will be necessary in case of offensive operations from Fort Pitt. I submit the matter [inserted: entirely] to you. [struck: as I]
I gave the QM General last February an estimate of horses which we should want for the field Artillery the ensuing campaign and I have lately sent him an estimate of horses Waggons and camp equipage which will be wanted for the troops, & Artificers here. I beg pardon for mentioning this to you, but I imagine his estimates must be made & submitted to your approbation, if so I am certain you will accelerate the business to the utmost of your power -
[6] [struck: Colonel Lamb may also may probably have occasion to apply to you in purssuance of the] [strikeout] [inserted: will]
I shall this day set out for Head Quarters. Colonel Lamb will take your orders respecting the execution of the foregoing business
I have the honor Sir
to be with great respect
Humble Servt
Honble Major General Lincoln

Secretary at War.
You may remember I mentioned the importance of having the [vents] of some of the Cannon and Mortars which were defective repair'd. some of those have been done [struck: well] apparently well by a person under the direction of Mr. Hodgdon. I request that all those which want may be [struck: done] repaired in the same manner.

To General Lincoln
20th May 1782 -

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