Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rediscovering George Washington
Washington: Father of His Country The Washington Collection
Washington in the Classroom About the Program
Timeline: George Washington's Life Milestones
Multimedia Room Search the Site
Gilder Lehrman Collection Documents
Gilder Lehrman Collection Images
Other Documents
Gilder Lehrman Collection Documents
Letter from Henry Knox, August 20, 1777

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.04.042

Henry Knox.  Letter fragment:  to George Washington, 1777 August 20. 4 p. + docket.


[inserted – different hand: Aug. 20 or Aug. 21 1777]


[inserted – different hand: K. Opinion Aug. 21 1777]


From The [struck:  length of] time which has elaps’d since Genl. Howe dissapear’d from the Capes, it may be fairly and certainly deduc’d that he has gone, [struck: far] very far either to the southward or eastward, – The danger of the seas which is augmented, in proportion to the [strike-out] number of the fleet; forbid his making a <?> [struck:  to] far either way – and it may be concluded with probability, that the place where [struck:  they] [inserted: he] lands with [struck:  their] [inserted: his] cannon and stores will be the scene of [struck:  their] [inserted: his] operations for some time – and it may be concluded with the same probability that neither Philadelphia, or the North river is the immediate object of their destination –


Taking it for granted then, that Genl Howes immediate operations will be far distant from the two, last mentiond places – [strike-out] The Consideration arises, what shall be the employment of this army – to Guard places where [struck:  there] its probable there will be no attack would be wasting or losing a precious moment –


Would it not be [2] much more for the honor and interest of America to turn such a part of our force, against our enemy to the northward as no longer to leave it in doubt who shall have the ascendency in that quarter?  to endevor to bring Genl Burgoyne to action [struck:  against] [inserted: with] such superior numbers as to reqire but very little on our part and to oblige him to risque evry thing – which if he refuses to do he must be chas’d out of the Country with disgrace – The way is <?> Vessells may be provided at Peekskill or New Windsor to take the great number of men up [struck:  at once] [inserted: to Albany at once] – a sufficient Force may be Left at the highlands & [inserted: in the defences on] the river to secure [struck:  it]  [inserted: them] against any assults – if success crownd our arms against Mr Burgoyne New York might be then thought an object [struck:  against which]  [inserted: to reduce what] the united force of both armies may be employ’d – This would effectualy call Mr Howe from any easy Conquest he might have made, if not he must consent to lose the object which has given him the most splendor and we should bring the Campagn to a happy [struck:  close] issue


[3] [struck: if General Burgoynes temerity should]


It is probable that the temerity of General Burgoyne will induce him to push far into the County, if so as his force is not [struck:  large]  [inserted: great] [struck:  his destination if this army advances up is there will be almost certain] a large body of good troops will [strike-out] render his distourtion [struck:  about certain on land] very probable. – [struck: The our Savages are for] from [inserted: different] accounts it appears that the Savajes are taking up the hatchet in several places – the cruelty and confidences [struck:  were any]  [inserted: will increase] with the [struck:  power of the party this] Success of the power that supports them.  [strike-out] This power ought to be crush’d at all hazards immediately – or the whole fronteirs will be delug’d in blood – as [strike-out] the British Forces have got [struck: footing] [inserted: possesion] on the Continent we can always command the attention of their principal army by carrying on our operations against their posesions – & [struck: who]  [inserted: they] will [struck: undoubtedly]  [inserted: certainly] return to defend [struck: their acquisitions]  [inserted: them] if there is the reason to doubt their security


[4] These are some of the principal reasons among many others which urge the immediate employment of this army either to the northward or against New York as shall be thought most proper upon a nearest examination of the circumstances attending each –


An Opinion ren<dered>
His Excellency  <Genl>
Washington Aug 20th. 1777.
[inserted – different hand: Aug. 21 according to W.]


From the <?> of General Woldel.