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Letter from Henry Knox, October 19, 1782
TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.10.044
Henry Knox. Autograph letter draft: West Point, to George Washington, 1782 October 19. 4 p. + doc.

West point. 19 October 1782.

[inserted - different hand: HK. to Washington]


I beg your Excellencys indulgence for a few [strike-out] [inserted: moments] while I just state my ideas respecting the poor unfortunate invalid regiment, which [inserted: <?>] are the result of compassionate sensations combined with what I conceive to be the good of the service.

I have in every shape I could devise endevor'd to make the few who are here serviceable in some degree, but without producing any adequate effect. [struck: Those who I <?>] of eight who I appropd to the service of the army, [strike-out] [inserted: six] fell sick, after four days [strike-out] duty. Some were [struck: appropriated] [inserted: [strike-out] ordered] to the beacon Guard, on the W side of the river, but [struck: two] a few days brought an application for a number of men to bear two of them to the hospital - ultimately I determined to place them on Constitution Island [struck: and] build them a barrack [inserted: & nurse them in] and only require the duty of guarding the [struck: post] [inserted: post]. But upon every examination I am convinced to place the least degree of confidence on them is to deceive ourselves, & to rely upon an assistance which if <?> must inevitably fail, <?> merely some [strike-out] [inserted: inability] Indeed [struck: I think they almost only <?> are] [2] not capable of any service, but in a few instances boatmen, artificers in light work, waiters, and to do fine guard duty where they might be sentries inside of houses, stables, &c - These distributions are contained in the enclosed paper. [inserted: The party cannot be as the <?> from Fish Kill] The teams cannot be had to move the ordnance stores [struck: from Fish Kill <?>] of which there are one hundred & fifty loads - The [struck: party from thence cannot be drawn [inserted: any] until the Stores are removed] - the party at Newburgh are guarding the clothg stores, some waggons Quarters Master [inserted: <?>] &c. The few we have here are of no use, and even if the [strike-out] [inserted: whole] all from Fish Kill and nearby were here [strike-out] I could not keep <?> Island to them, especially as the Magazine of powder there <?> [inserted: <?>] its importance [strike-out] For those reasons I with great diference beg leave to propose [struck: those <?>] [inserted: that] line should be removed [strike-out] to healing at which place they may be of some use in guarding the cannon, tools, quarter masters, clothing &c which would require all the effecting from Fish Kill if we should be able to [strike-out] [inserted: bring] <?> from that place [strike-out] [inserted: Your Exclcy will observe] [3] this number is under sixty.

I had hopes to obtain from the Levies under Colonel Pickerings orders a party of carpenters which might have enabled us to have built a barrack for a regiment [inserted: of Infantry,] but of the party which he sent <?> for that purpose only two were carpenters. Every man [struck: who we have] here that can handle an ax is employed in the numerous works which we have in here [struck: and] [inserted: Therefore] unless [struck: I can] [inserted: [strike-out]] we can obtain thirty carpenters [inserted: & 20 masons] from the army for one month It will be impossible to erect the barrack [struck: all] the [struck: buildings [inserted: barracks] <?> on the point exclusive of that in fort Clinton, will not contain nine hundred men] Even with [struck: these men] [inserted: these artificers], it will be [struck: an arduous] difficult [struck: to make the <?>] to effect it, [struck: but with exertion it may be <?>] [inserted: without much]. The barracks on the point exclusive of that in Fort Clinton will not hold nine hundred men.

There are thirteen [inserted: or fourteen] more artificers who belong to Colonel Van Schainks regiment, are <?> [4] <?> on the water. I beg your Excellencys permission to keep them, for a short time. This may be done with more propriety as they have not furnishd the engineers department with any workmen - 

I have the honor to be with
great respect
Your Excellencys
Most obdent

His Excellency
General Washington -

To His Exy Gen Washington
11 Octo. 1782.