George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Henry Knox, 5 February 1783

West Point 5 Feby 1783


Agreeably to your Excellency’s request I enclose the estimate required in your favor of the 1st instant. I am sorry it is out of my power to render it in the manner you wished. But my not having any general returns of stores from the War Office prevents my stating, in a summary view, the difference of the estimate from what is in possession of the Continent. I am, with the highest degree of respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient servant

H. Knox.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


West Point 5 February 1783.

An Estimate of Ordnance, Ammunition, &ca necessary for the Siege of New York, comprehending an operation by Long Island, upon similar principles to the estimates made for the same purpose in the three preceeding years—the shots and shells conformable to the ordnance in possession.

York Island and its communications
Cannon— Mortars— Howitzers—
12 pounders 20 5 1/2 inch 20
18 45 10 18 5 1/2 inch 6
24 6 13 4 8 12
Long Island and its communications
Cannon— Mortars— Howitzers—
18 pounders 20 5 1/2 inch 6
24 3 8 3 5 1/2 inch 12
24 light; which may answer 10 4 8 3
many purposes 3 13 2
Cannon 12 pounders 20
18 65
24 12
Mortars 5 1/2 inch 26
8 3
10 19
13 6
Howitzers 5 1/2 inch 12
8 15
Shots Shells
12 pounders 15000 5 1/2 inch 26000
18 65000 8 20000
24 20000 10 20000
13 3000

Fifty tons 12 & 16 ounce shots for the mortars and howitzers

Paper Cartridges
Cannon Mortars and Howitzers
12 pounders 15000 5 1/2 inch 26000
18 65000 8 20000
24 20000 10 20000
13 3000
12 pounders, 15000 rounds at 4 pounds each = 60,000
18 65000 6 390000
24 20000 8 160000
Mortars and Howitzers
5 1/2 inch, 26000 rounds at 2 pounds each = 52000
8 20000 4 80000
10 20000 6 120000
13 3000 12 36000
for contingencies 100,000
pounds 998 000
Cannon cartridge paper for extra service 100 reams
Old Junk for spun yarn to make wads 20 tons
Two inch oak plank for platforms 30000 feet
The cartridge boxes in general are old, and in case of an active campaign ought to be replaced with new ones—say 15,000.
at any rate, there ought to be five thousand to replace the bad ones.
Musket cartridges for 15000 men, each to have three sets of 40 1800,000

The arms in general, it may be presumed, will last throughout another year. Deficiencies can be replaced with the new arms, of which there are about five thousand in store.

There are also in store Ten thousand damaged arms, most of which could be repaired—but there is not one armorer for that purpose.


I have been constrained to place a great number of 18 pounders in the estimate, we having but very few of larger calibres. The effect cannot be so great from them as from 24 or 32 pounders, the force being in proportion to the weight of the shot. But as we cannot obtain the larger sizes, we may have great confidence in those which are specified. [The] 12 pounders may answer for some of the communications.

All the cannon, mortars and howitzers, are in possession, at West Point and Philadelphia—it being presumed those which were left at York Town have been brought to the last mentioned place. In addition to those specified, twenty or thirty heavy pieces might probably be of great service. But as we have in our former designs obtained all the cannon that the neighbouring States would, upon the most pressing requests furnish, it is thought unnecessary to add a [   ] that cannot be procured.

In case of a combined French and American force, we might be relieved from the operation of Long Island—in which case, the ordnance in the estimate would, it is presumed, be amply sufficient for York Island and its appendages.

In the former general estimates it was observed that there were many other articles which would be wanted for a siege—particularly an immense laboratory preparation of fuzes, [potr]fires, tubes [for] fireballs, carcasses; cordage, canvass &c. &c. all of which I would prefer to have made immediately under my own direction at this place. Particular estimates for the materials, which will be very considerable, may as occasion shall require be presented to Your Excellency, and the Minister of War.

I should have been happy to have laid before Your Excellency, in one view, the articles demanded—those on hand—and the deficiencies. But as I have no return of any stores at Philadelphia or South of it, or any place Eastward of this River, I am consequently incompetent to the task. It can however be obtained from the War Office. I have annexed the returns of the shots and shells at Hibernia, Mount Hope and Pompton furnaces in Jersey, and at Salisbury in Connecticut. These are considerable magazines and the returns are of a late date. There are very large quantities of shots and shells in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Report of Shots and shells,

at the places hereafter mentioned.

Hibernia. Pompton .
shells 10 inch 2601 shells 8 inch 371
Carcasses 10 inch 488 5 1/2 398
shots 18 pounders 2040 shots 18 pounders 735
12 3162
Mount Hope. Salisbury.
shells 10 inch 2506 shells 8 inch 5008
8 5010 5 1/2 6000
5 1/2 5643 shots 18 pounders 5000
24 1300
Carcasses 10 inch 488
shells 10 inch 5107
8 10389
5 1/2 12041
shots 24 pounders 2606
18 14443
12 3387

H. Knox Major General

Commanding the Artillery

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