George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Henry Knox, 28 January 1779

From Brigadier General Henry Knox

Philadelphia 28th January 1779


The Corps of Artillery being raised in different States upon the same principles as the sixteen additional battalions, labor under great difficulty in obtaining of recruits for the Continental bounty of twenty dollars.

The service demands the Battalions of Artillery to be complete, but under the present circumstances it is impracticable.

There are four Battalions of Artillery consisting of twelve Companies each Vizt

P[resent] Nubr w[anted] to com[p]l[ete] establishment
Colonel Crains raised in Massachusetts 500 220 720
Colonel Lambs raised principally in Connecticut, New York, & some from Pensylvania and New-Jersey } 400 320 720
Colonel Harrisons 10 Companies from Virginia and 2 from Maryland } 450 270 720
Colonel Proctors 9 Companies from Pensylvania, 2 New Jersey and one from North Carolina } 250 470 720
1600 1280 2880

The above is not an accurate return, although it differs but very little from the real numbers—The Corps being so dispersed that I have lately obtained no returns particularly from Providence, Fort Schuyler and this City.

I believe the states in which the above men were raised do not consider them as part of the quota’s assigned in September 1776.

No Continental artillery men have been raised in the states of New Hampshire Rhode-Island and Delaware.

Most of the men are engaged for three years which will expire in the commencement of next year. As it requires much pains and experience to make a good Artillerist it would be conducive to the good of the service that for the future they be inlisted for the War.

There are wanting in the Battalions a considerable number of Subaltern officers—It will be necessary that the mode be pointed out in which they are to be appointed.

Your Excellency will be able from these hints to give such information to the Committee as to enable them to fill up the Battalions to the establishment. As it will be necessary to have the best men, they can be procured only by Original inlistments.

If Congress should determine to render the Corps of Artillery subject to their orders only, and not be considered as the proportion of any of the states as those raised by virtue of the Resolves of September 1776,1 it would be necessary for an agent in particular to be appointed for them to supply Cloathing and such other Necessaries upon such terms as the troops of particular States are supplied. I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant

H. Knox B. General Artillery

Copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote Knox from Philadelphia on Saturday, 30 Jan.: “I send you sundry papers, respecting the Ordnance Department. The General requests you will prepare your observations on them, and be ready to meet the committee and himself tomorrow forenoon. As he is going out of town on Monday and will have no time to spare, he begs you will be ready at the time mentioned.

“Will you be at home to day at 2 o’clock? Mr Garanger plagues me to accompany him to make you a visit, and I appointed that hour with him for the purpose” (DLC: Peter Force Papers; see also Hamilton to Knox, 26 March, DLC: Peter Force Papers).

Lewis Garanger, a former captain of bombardiers in the French army, arrived in America in May 1777 as one of the numerous artillerists and engineers whom General Du Coudray had brought with him from France. Subsequently captured by the British and held for twelve months at New York, Garanger had been exchanged sometime in late 1778, and he was now in Philadelphia seeking compensation for his past services and sufferings and employment in the Continental army. In March the Board of War advanced $500 to Garanger, and with GW’s permission he went to the army to demonstrate his usefulness in the artillery corps (see Garanger to Congress, 2 June, DNA:PCC, item 78, and Timothy Pickering to GW, 11 June, DLC:GW). In a letter of 27 June 1779, Hamilton wrote Knox that “Garanger has waited upon the General decisively his fate. He renounces all ideas of command or rank in the corps of artillery, and asks only a brevet of captain in the army. The simple question is—can he be employed usefully or not in the present state and temper of the corps? If not, I shall be obliged to you to inform him so, with a line either to the General or myself, informing how the matter stands” (DLC: Peter Force Papers). Garanger’s trial period was renewed in June 1779 and October 1780, but he failed to prove his value, and in April 1781 he obtained permission to return to France. Garanger nevertheless remained in America, and on 28 Oct. 1783 he wrote GW from the new jail at Philadelphia, where he was imprisoned for debt, asking for further assistance (DLC:GW). In November 1783 Garanger received treasury certificates of an unknown amount. His efforts to obtain additional compensation from the U.S. Congress in 1792–93, 1810, and 1811 were unsuccessful (see Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 26:366–67, n.1).

1Knox is referring to Congress’s eighty-eight battalion resolves of 16 Sept. 1776, which set the number of regiments to be raised by each of the thirteen states and required “that every state provide arms, cloathing, and every necessary for its quota of troops” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:762–63).

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