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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Queries to Lincoln, and answers

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01942 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Manuscript document Date: 21 February 1783 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 33.6 x 21.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Signed at the conclusion by Benjamin Lincoln. Pages divided into two columns. The left column contains sixteen issues about which Knox would like further direction and information from General Benjamin Lincoln. Some of these include questions and concerns about artillery, ordnance, artillery men, and their pay. The right column has Lincoln's reply concerning the respective issues. The entire document is written in the hand of Samuel Shaw, Knox's aide de camp.

Full Transcript: [draft]

Major General Knox has the honor to propose the underwritten matters to the honorable Major general Lincoln, Secretary at War, upon which he begs General Lincoln's directions and information.
...Answers to the several questions proposed by General Knox-

1. The cannon taken from the enemy at different periods of the war are some of the most substantial trophies of victory, and as such ought to be perpetuated to posterity. It is therefore proposed to engrave in each the place where taken, in the manner which is already done on many of them. This may be an expence of two dollars each, and there may be about one hundred pieces to be engraved.
1. As I have not the keys of the treasury I cannot engage a supply of money. I will however endeavor to obtain it.

2. At this post we want bullet moulds of all sizes, which are at Philadelphia.
2. They shall be immediately sent from Philadelphia.

3. What is the present State of the two regiments of artillery lately commanded by Colonels Harrison and Procter.
3. The remains of the regiment of Pennsylvania are formed into four companies. I hope of Virginia and Maryland, Col. Harrison's regiment, are at present formed with other artillery men, into a corps of which Lt Col. Carrington has, I suppose the command. The regiment will not much longer exist, as orders are given not to recruit it.

4. As head of the ordnance department, all letters to me, on public business, whether double or single, ought to be free of postage, in the same manner as to the heads of other departments, as I have no funds for the payment of such postage. There are several letters, containing public papers, which have been in the post office some time on accident of this defect.
4. To this matter I will attend on my arrival at Philadelphia.

[2] 5. In the late regulation of the field commissary's department, I was requested to appoint the persons to fill the office. This implies a responsibility in me. Suppose these persons neglectful of their duty, or upon trial unfit for it, how is the service to be disburdened of them?
5. I am clearly of opinion that you have a right to remove all such officers, as you shall by virtue of that resolution of Congress, appoint, without a court martial. If this should be a task disagreeable, and you should not chuse [sic] to exercise those powers, you may free yourself, as all such officers are amenable to a court martial.

6. I again take the liberty to mention the want of armorers, and beg they may be furnished as soon as possible. -at least twenty-
6. I will endeavor to procure the armorers.

7. Suppose officers of artillery could be found perfectly proper for the offices and willing to accept them- could they be appointed to be commissaries and conductors of military stores, and what additional emoluments should they have?
7. I wish artillery officers could be found for these purposes. An additional pay will be given, in proportion to the responsibility and labor.

8. Copies of general returns of stores on the Continent would be of great service, if consistent with propriety.
8. I will send them to you.

9. An arsenal for the cover of all the carriages- and in which should be properly places all the small arms, is much wanted. Shall such a building be erected this spring, upon principles which shall be durable and, at the same time, oeconomical?
9. By all means- I wish as soon as may be an estimate of the expence- I will apply for the money.

10. Shall an academy be erected upon the same principles
10. I shall lay my ideas of this and some other matters before Congress, soon after my return. I must govern myself by their determinations.

[3] 11. -and two magazines with stone walls of masonry, three feet thick and bomb proof with timber or brick? each to contain two thousand barrels of powder.
11. The magazines must be built. I prefer bricks for the arch and a roof over that.

12. Can the old captains of artillery of the first appointment of 77, have brevets of majors, provided upon an examination they are found to be the oldest captains of the army?
12. I think it cannot be done. While we have one continental army, composed of thirteen different armies, it will be impossible for Congress to preserve the relative rank of the officers of the several lines.

13. Captain Patten and his officers, of the artillery artificers, have been in the service from the earliest periods of the war, and have generally sustained all the severities of service. Had not they therefore ought to have substantial rank at present, and the same emoluments after the war, as other officers of the same grades?
13. I wish you to state this matter to me fully in a letter, on which I will [fowrd] an application to Congress.

14. The pay of the men of Capt. Pattens company of artillery artificers is twenty dollars per month. They belong to several states, which settle their arrearages upon different principles. Connecticut will allow only common soldiers pay, that is six dollars and 2/3d - Massachusetts ten dollars - Pennsylvania twelve dollars, and Jersey twenty dollars. Cannot a recommendation of Congress be obtained to settle their accounts at the proper rates of pay?
14. I will enquire respecting the pay of the artificers, and write to you on the subject.

15. At the post of West Point an officer of police is essential for the preservation of discipline and to give passes [strikeout] to all persons not of the army coming and going out of the garrison. I have taken the liberty to give him for his services three additional ra-[4]tions per day. Shall this be continued to this officer? as it will be impossible to order an officer to do it constantly without some compensation - a [rotine] in the office would destroy its utility.
[3] 15. Continue the same allowance if, in your opinion, the services merit it.

[4] 16. Frequently when the soldiers have been employed as artificers I have ordered them an additional half ration per day; and in some instances the quarter master general has given them the eighth part of a dollar per day. By this means we have had a vast quantity of work done in a short time. Shall I be at liberty to continue this practice, upon such occasions as, in my judgement, [sic] shall best promote the public good?
16. Continue the practice, I am sure you will exercise the power with discretion, and so as that public oeconomy shall be promoted thereby.

WestPoint 21 February 1783,

Queries to General Lincoln, and answers
21 Feby 1783.
See More

People: Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810
Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Shaw, Samuel, 1754-1794

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyArtilleryAmmunitionSoldier's PayFinance

Sub Era:

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