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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00514 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Morristown, New Jersey Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 January 1777 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Asks if she has received his previous letter (GLC02437.00511). Details the fighting from 2 January onward. Discusses the American retreat from Trenton, for which the artillery provided cover, Washington's decision to next attack Princeton where "about 1200 men" were stationed by the British, and the late night march to Princeton. Admits "we did not take them by surprise as at Trenton," because the British soldiers were already marching when the Continentals encountered them, whereas in Trenton they had been totally out of order. But still thinks the enemy "were as much asstonish'd as if An Army had drop'd perpendicularly upon them," because the British thought the Americans were still "coop'd up in Trenton." Describes the initial American victory, largely involving bayonets, in which the British lost "nearly 800" men. Lists the American officers lost in the fight. The Americans then decide to pull out of Princeton to stay ahead of the main British forces which are advancing. Washington had hoped to move on to New Brunswick and strike again, but the men were too tired. If they had had 1,000 fresh men they could have moved on to New Brunswick and "struck one of the most Brilliant strokes in all History." Knox writes that instead the Americans would have to settle for the fact that they drove the British away from Philadelphia and almost out of West Jersey. Mentions a few other minor skirmishes, and feels the Americans are doing well. Paraphrasing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar he says "There is a tide in the affairs of men which if taken at the ford leads on to victory." Thanks God for what he sees as a positive turning of the tide and hopes this same feeling "will so prevail on the hearts of the people as to induce them to be a people chosen of Heaven...never to dispair of the Commonwealth." Feels that New England and her "hardy sons" have a key role to play in this struggle. Despite his happiness Knox knows that "the State of War is uncertain. Victorious to day defeated tomorrow." States that the Americans shall try "to make another stroke or two upon them." Closes by expressing his love for her and his desire to see her.

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806.
Knox, Lucy Flucker, ca. 1756-1824.

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Battle, Religion, Revolutionary War, Military History, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Artillery, Continental Army, President Weaponry, Death, Literature and Language Arts, Patriotism, Love Letters, Revolutionary War General

Sub Era: The War for Independence