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Letter from Henry Knox, April 23, 1781

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.06.008

Henry Knox.  Letter draft:  New Windsor, to George Washington, 1781 April 23.  6 p. + doc.


New Windsor, 23d April 1781.


[inserted - different hand: HK to Washington]




Mr Ruddock Deputy Commissary Military Stores at Fish Kill has handed me an order from the board of War for discontinuing the post at Fish Kill so far with relates to the department of the Commissary General Military Stores, dismising the said Mr Ruddock and all the officers under him, and ordering all the military stores in his possession to be delivered to the DQM:  of the State of New York. – a copy [struck: of the] [inserted: of which] order is enclos’d.


I beg leave to recite to your Excellency the [struck: impropriety] [inserted: insuing] that would [struck: attend] [inserted: arise to injustice by] breaking up said deposit, and delivering the stores (among which all most of the ArmyAccoutrements [strike-out] <?> [2] cartridges [struck: cast] for the cursury campagns) to the D.Q.M. [struck: and take your Excellencys directions on the subject]


Fish Kill from its relative situation to West Point and the Army which has gnerally operated below it, has been the tempory deposit [struck: of most] of the surplus stores, necessary to be carried to or from the field, or West point, or damag’d stores which have commonly been sent to that place on the first instance and afterwards:  to the places where they would be best repaird.  Besids which there is a small Armory which executes the light repairs and prevents much expence of transportation


These circumstances  have occasiond [3] stores and a magazine to be built for the reception of such things as should be sent there and which although they are not so good as they ought to be [struck: yet] are the best of any in this vicinity.


It may be supposd that all the stores now at Fish Kill might be logdged at West point, but such a measure [struck: aspects] would be highly improper for the following reasons 1st. To encumber West point with stores not necessary for the Garrison would be capital injury to the defence of the place, besides the absurdity of risquing all our stores at one point


[4] 2dly. There are no proper places there for the reception of such a quantity of stores as are at Fish Kill


3 dly The [inserted: natural] situation is improper [struck: for the] for <?> a temporary <?> of stores [struck: as] as that at Fish Kill, because the opportunity for sending & receiving stores from the different arsenals could not has [inserted: <?>] brand, [struck: with] in any degrees with the [strike-out] facility [struck: as]


I have even considerd Fish Kill [inserted: with your Excellncys approbater] as a necessary appendage to the field & made use of it accordingly.  I apprehend the order for its Suppossion has been given without [5] a due knowledge of its situation & ability.  The impropriety is apparent of ordering the [strike-out] ordnance & other military stores, so <?> & complicated as those at Fish-Kill to be deliverd to persons who <?> their officers cannot be suppos’d to know even the different Species by name <?>  less than uses, and cannot be accounted for in a candid manner but upon the supposition of [strike-out] misinformation.


With Respect to the dismission of Mr Ruddock, I can have nothing to say, but that it is a disagreable service indeed when a man after six years faithful services, without the imputation of an official course  [inserted: that I know of] have be dismis’d, [5] with almost his whole pay due for five years, and that at a time when there are not [struck: a papers] more officrs of his station than are wanted –


I beg your Excellency directions on the subject.


I have the honor to be
with the highest respect
Your Exclncys
Most Obedient



To His Exy. Gen. Washington
23 April 1781.