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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01589 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Autograph letter Date: 7 September 1782 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 33.3 x 20.9 cm.

Mentions that he has received General Washington's letter of 5 September, regarding repairs of arms. Declares that each brigade's own armorers have been performing the repairs to the best of their ability, and that that is the only option, since "there is not one hired armorer in the Army of the United States. Your Excellncy must have been misinformed with respect to any armorers at this post, as there are none here." Explains that brigades have traveling forges consisting of borax and salt, and that they can be sent to Verplanks Point. Has sent someone to Philadelphia to purchase borax on credit and expects it to arrive soon. Reports that he has asked General [Benjamin] Lincoln to provide armorers to the West Point garrison; at first, Lincoln responded that they could not afford to pay them, but then asked about the propriety of employing German prisoners who were armorers and wanted their freedom (see GLC02437.01546). Knox believes this is a bad idea, but wants to know Washington's opinion. Lastly discusses the matter of a Captain of the York Levies, who has been punished more harshly than necessary for a misdeed. Knox would like to release him but asks Washington's opinion because he has been consulted on the matter before.

[draft]
West point 7 Sept 1782
[inserted - different hand: To W]
Sir
I received your Excellencys favor of the 5th instant respecting the repairs of arms in the Army. The respective brigades have hitherto executed by their own armorers [struck: as many repairs as possible] [inserted: the common repairs [struck: of their arms]], and when the business was industriously [struck: pursued attended] pursued they have been nearly able to [struck: execute all the light repairs] [inserted: [struck: perform] keep the arms in order]. This is still, under present circumstances the only possible mode to be adopted, for there is not one hired armorer in the Army of the United States.
[inserted: Your Excellncy must have been misinformed with respect to any armorers at this post, [inserted: as] there are none here.]
The brigades are in possession of travellng forges, and can have them removed to Verplanks point. Three ounces of borax, and two quarts of salt will serve a travelling forge for the campaign. The one can be obtained of the Commissary and I have sent a person to endever to purchase [inserted: a pound of] borax, upon ten days credit. if he succeeds it shall be instantly forwarded. [struck: Three Weeks] [inserted: Some time] ago I sent to Philadelphia for Borax, and I expect it [strike-out] momently.
I have pressing & urged [inserted: to General Lincoln] the importance of having [inserted: [struck: at this Garison]] a company of armorers [struck: to Gen Lincoln] [inserted: at this Garrison]. In the first letter, he answerd that the present desire must be submitted to for he [struck: cannot] [inserted: could not] obtaining means to pay [struck: them] [inserted: armorers]. In another letter of the 2d ultimo he proposes [struck: the propriety] [inserted: a] consideration of the propriety [2] of forwarding some German prisoners of War, who are [strike-out] armorers, and who wish to obtain their liberation; & [struck: wish] [inserted: desires] to know whether they could be trusted - I am of opinion that principls of propriety preclude, employs in this Garrison; persons of that description [struck: and any accidents arising from them could not be forgiven by the person giving orders for that purpose at Springfield to Philadelphia] [inserted: If any accident that arise <?> the employing them would not be forgiven by the <?>], they might be set at work with advantage [inserted: at Springfield or Philadelphia] I have not yet answrd Genl Lincolns letter, and before I do, I pray that your Excellncy would have the goodness to transmit to me your sentiments on the subject
A Captain [inserted: <?>] of the York Levies, [struck: [inserted: <?>] <?>] [inserted: <?>] at Bedford, [struck: has sent] [inserted: <?> post sent] to the provost at this place <?>. The has forwarded no evidens but wrote a letter which <?> Judge Advocate, transmited to Colonel Cobb. [struck: If he is not amenable to our laws] It appears that Capt Kent gave him prompt punishment for some [struck: real or] supposed misbehaviour, and afterwards as an additional punishment orderd him to West point. If the man has already been punished, or if we [struck: have work] he is not amenable to our laws, it appears to be an infraction of the principles of justice to detain him any longer. [struck: It appears] [inserted: is] pretty clearly to me that [struck: Capt] Kent is gratifying his own malignity at the expence of our humanity. I should not have [3] troubled you with reading this, [inserted: but have discharged him myself] had not the matter been previously before your Excllncy. [struck: I should have discharged him]

I have the honor to be with great Respect
Your Excelencys
Most Obednt
servt

His Excelency
General Washington

[docket]
To His Exy. Gen. Washington
7th Sept. 1782.

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