Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10136 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Autograph letter Date: 10 September 1783 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 35.8 x 23.5 cm.
Knox, Commander at West Point, transmits a weekly return of troops to Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Discusses illness among soldiers in the West Point vicinity: "The troops having been uncommonly sickly for this place, and a malignant putrid fever being among their disorders, I have fixed upon the barrack at Constitution Island as an hospital..." Discharged and furloughed some patients from the hospital at New Windsor, under the care of surgeon William Eustis. Reports, "We have had cold unpleasant weather since commencement of the present month... [the troops] have only the remains of the thin under cloathes which they purchased in the spring." Regarding the uncertain date of discharge of troops following the recent signing of the Treaty of Paris (3 September 1783), Knox remarks, "The officers in general are exceedingly anxious to have some final arrangements made... It is apparent from the foul, illiberal Spirit manifested by many parts of Connecticut, that their hands are outstretched against their officers. I mention these matters not with which to accelerate arrangements which might in some measure depend upon the British evacuating New York, but merely to share the anxiety of the officers... I am apprehensive that the preparations which have been made at this post to celebrate peace have been made in vain..."
West point 10 Septr 1783
I have the honor to enclose the weekly returns of the troops. [struck: Since my las] on the 7th [inserted: instant] the remainder of the 3 Massachusetts regiment arrived from the Southward in a pretty healthy State, having lost but few upon the road.
The troops having been uncommonly sickly for this place and [strikeout] a malignant putrid fever being among their disorders, I have [struck: directed] fixed upon the barrack at Constitution Island as an hospital, and to remove [inserted: entirely] the hospital from New Windsor [struck: entirely]. There being a number of patients in that hospital, who labour under such [struck: disorders that] [inserted: complaints] as to afford no prospect, of any duty from them, I have upon the recommendation of Doctor Eustis discharged those who had about six months to serve, and furloughed those who had a longer term. [struck phrase]
[struck: There has]
It being decided by the Minister of War that he could have no artificrs to erect new magazines, it remains only to make the best arrangements with the old ones. We therefore are levelling the south curtain of the exterior fort clinton which covers the magazine, and shall build up a dry Stone wall and point it [inserted: with mortar] outside. Windows or openings will be made upon principles of security to admit a circulating air, by which we hope to expel the damp air [struck: which] [inserted: that] has always remained in it for want of [struck: openings] [inserted: openings] opposite to each other
 We have had cold unpleasant weather since [struck: we have enter] commencement of the present month, which has [inserted: greatly affected] the troops [struck: we are] [inserted: as they] have only [struck: the thin der] [inserted and struck: remains] the remains of the thin under cloaths which they purchased in the Spring. [struck: has greatly affected them] - If there should be a [struck: proposed] probability of the men being detained [strikeout] untill the first of November [strikeout] it would be absolutely necessary that some woolen waistcoats [inserted: generally] should be furnished them [struck: if possible for] if in store or possible to be obtained. The officers in general are exceedingly anxious, to have some final arrangements made. They see [struck: before them] an uncheary winter advancing fast upon them, without having the power [inserted: in their present situation] of making [struck: an] adequate preparations against its inclemencies. If they should be held untill the winter arrives and then be discharged, their misery would be extreme. They can have little hope [inserted: of assistance] from those who ought [struck: to be purportd] to be their friends. [struck: Because] It is [struck: manifest] [inserted: apparent], from the foul, illiberal Spirit manifested by many parts of Connecticut, that their hands are outstretched against [struck: their officers] [inserted and struck: their] [inserted: officers] [struck: I mention these things not to]
[struck: Your Excellency from the inf - Your Excellency from your information can judge, when the enemy will leave New York]
I mention these matters not with a view to accellerate, arrangements which must [inserted: in some measure] depend upon the [struck: British] [inserted: Britons] evacuating New York, but merely [inserted: to shew] the anxiety of the officers to be liberated from a service that appears to have no object
 The ordnance [inserted: &] stores in the posts upon the Mohawk River, although not very numerous are of some value. The [inserted: service of a] company of artillery which was stationed there, expired with the rest of the Army, and there are there now only an officer of artillery and three or four men. I have not furnished others in their place since an expectation that some final arrangements would take place, but as this [struck: has] is not the case, I have to request your Excellencys directions whether I shall send to those posts an officer and fifteen or [struck: eighteen] [inserted: twenty] artillery men.
I am apprehensive that the preparations which have been made at this post to celebrate peace have been made in vain. [struck: The advanced] [inserted: a little further advance of the] season will render our houses, [struck: might comf] uncomfortable places of festivity. The fire works indeed [struck: may] [inserted: might] with expert care, and a good Vessell be transported down the river by water, but they cannot admit of land transportations
To His Excellency General
Washington 10th Septr 1783.
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.