Henry Knox’s Order of March to Trenton, 1776

A primary source by Henry Knox
Resource type: 
Primary Source
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Henry Knox

This copy of Washington’s orders for the Battle of Trenton, with a map of Trenton drawn on the back, belonged to Henry Knox, chief artillery officer, and was written in his own hand. Also presented here is Knox’s firsthand account of the battle, in a letter written to his wife Lucy on December 28.

On Christmas Day in 1776 the American Revolution was on the verge of collapsing. Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American forces had been driven from New York City to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and reduced to a mere three thousand men. Washington knew that a victory was needed to raise the Americans’ morale and turn the tide of war. With winter on its way and thousands of enlistments soon expiring, his time was running out.

Inline body image(s): 
The Passage of the Delaware, by Thomas Sully, 1819 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
Henry Knox, Order of march to Trenton, December 25, 1776 (Gilder Lehrman Collect
Henry Knox to Lucy Knox, December 28, 1776 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)
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