George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 18 April 1781

New Windsor, 18 April 1781.


Agreeably to Your Excellency’s directions to me, Mr Garranger was ordered to West Point, to give some specimens of his knowledge in artillery, and particularly in projectiles. The superintendence of this matter was committed to Major Bauman, who has reported his opinion, in consequence of some experiments made on the 16th instant, of which the enclosed is a copy. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, Your Excellency’s most Obedient servant

H. Knox

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


West Point 17 April 1781.


With regard to my opinion of Mons. Garranger’s performance relative to the art of gunnery, a trust reposed in me, to judge impartially as far as my abilities will lead me in that profession, it is simply and shortly this. I cannot determine his knowledge of theory by his practice, for he deviated from those principles I laid before him, by which I meant for him to prove both at once; but took contrary means to ascertain the time of flight, by a pendulum, and by burning of fuzes at different times during the flight of the projectile toward a visible object, in order to ascertain a due length of fuze, tho’ the distance was given before, contrary to the rules laid down in the mathematics for that necessary purpose in gunnery. It would be proper to ask here, What advantage would th[is] kind of practice be to bombardiers who should be ordered upon a bomb battery in a thick wood, or other secure place, unperceivable to an enemy, which chiefly in the case, tho’ the distance and direction should be given him—answer, none.

Mons. Garranger, from what I saw, has no perfect knowledge of bomb fuzes, neither in the loading them, nor fixing them. The particulars I shall omit here, and only say that the former is uncertain, and the other accompanied with danger, Mons. Garranger may know things unknown to us, but has not shown it in a manner, tho’ His Excellency was present, that could induce me to say was any way calculated or conclusive, so as to convince me, by the performance, of any advantage. I have the honor &ca

(signed) S. Bauman

Maj. Artillery

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