George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Brigadier General Henry Knox, 29 December 1777

From Brigadier General Henry Knox

[Valley Forge] Decr 29. 17771

Memorandum of sundry matters necesary to be done in the ordnance departments.

1. All the Artificers at Carlile and Springfield to be enlisted during the War or pleasure of Congress—The whole to be on the same establishment, as to pay, rations, &c.—and to form ten Companies—From these the Artillery of the Armies to be supplied with artificers for the field.2

2. The laboratory Companies at Carlile and Springfield to be augmented to one hundred men each—there is one Company at each place consisting of 60.

3. Authority to procure & collect Stores, and form Magazines of fir’d ammunition, for the ensuing Campaign at such places as shall be pointed out—and to settle the ordnance department to the eastward.

4. To be directed how the battalions of Artillery are to be recruited and Cloathed.

5. To know whether it would be proper to augment the Companies of Artillery to one hundred men each—officers included they at present Consist of 60.

6. The stores to be remov’d to Lebanon and Carlile—musket Cartridges making to be carried on only at Lebanon.

7. What is to be done with the Artillery at Albany Portsmouth and Springfield?

8. how much Artillery shall we have in the field the next Campaign—and how much for a reserve.3

H. Knox B. G. Artillery

ADS, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 29439.

1Knox located his headquarters at Samuel Brown’s house, on the east bank of Valley Creek about one-half mile downstream from Lafayette’s headquarters and slightly more than half a mile southwest of the artillery park, which was established along the Gulph Road near the center of the southern portion of the Valley Forge encampment.

2GW wrote in the margin beside this paragraph: “quære—what number of Artificers are there now in the field? & what necessity is there for augmenting the whole to ten Comps of 100 Men each.”

3GW replied to Knox’s memorandum on 8 Jan. 1778. For Knox’s estimate of the amount and types of artillery that would be necessary for the Continental army to be successful in 1778 and his ordnance return enumerating the pieces and supplies already on hand, see Henry Knox’s Artillery Estimate for 1778, dated 10 Nov. 1777, and note 1 of that document.

On 2 Jan. 1778 Knox sent GW a four-page document entitled “Present State of the Corps of Continental Artillery, with Proposals for an Augmentation.” The last page of the report summarized the current strength of the artillery and the proposed strength after augmentation: “Present State[:] Colo. Crane’s Battalion 497[,] Colo. Lamb’s Battalion 399[,] Colo. Procter’s Battalion 251[,] Capt. Jones’, Clark’s, & Randalls Companies—not at present attached to any Battalion 78[,] Colo. Harrison’s Battalion—No Return[; Total] 1225[.] When augmented, as proposed[:] Colo. Cranes Battalion 960[,] Colo. Lamb’s 717[,] Colo. Procter’s 640[,] Colo. Harrison’s 800[,] Maryland 240[,] Capt. Lee, Porter, & Jone’s Companies proposed to be attached to the weakest Battalion 95[; Total] 3452” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 29668).

On 3 Jan. 1778 Knox sent GW a “Return of Horses requisite for the Artillery of the Grand American Army, for the Campaign of 1778,” which reads: “106 Field Pieces averaged at 4 Horses each 424. 53 Ammunition Waggons 5 Horses each 265. 60 Ammunition Waggons for Spare Ammunition 6 Horses each 360. [Total] 1049. These will be necessary, including those which may be in possession of the Artillery at the opening of the Campaign, of which a return will then be made, and exclusive of what will be occasionally wanted for the Battering Cannon” (DLC:GW).

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