George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Henry Knox, 19 October 1780

From Brigadier General Henry Knox

Camp, Bergen County, 19th Octo. 1780.


Monsieur Garranger has sollicited me to write to Your Excellency in his behalf. This gentleman was directed by the honorable Congress, nearly two years ago, to repair to camp, and to serve in such capacity as Your Excellency might judge proper. Accordingly he has been with the Army for the greater part of the last and present campaigns, desirous of an opportunity to signalize himself, but unfortunately no such instance has presented.1

His abilities in the theory of the respective branches of artillery appear to be good, and might, be of service in assisting to diffuse a knowledge of the proper principles amongst the young officers; which, together with the misfortunes he has experienced in his zeal for the cause of America, of being taken prisoner by the enemy, and repeatedly losing his effects, entitle him to a favorable attention. His wishes appear to be bounded by certificates of his Conduct after he shall have evinced his talents and ardor in the service, and such brevet rank upon his return to France as he may be thought to have merited.

As he declares he is not anxious for rank at present, and there is a prospect of active operations to the southward, I think it probable that his knowledge of artillery, particularly of throwing shells, may be of utility to the service in that quarter.2 I have the honor to be with the highest respect, Your Excellency’s most obedt servt

H. Knox

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 78.

1See Board of War to GW, 11 June 1779.

2GW replied to Knox on 21 Oct. 1780: “I have received your letter respecting Mr Garanger. From the school in which he has been taught, it is probable he possesses a knowlege of Artillery which may render him very useful. Experiment will best decide his knowlege of the practice and it will be the best ground upon which to recommend him to Congress—I request you therefore to send him to West Point to make the experiment by throwing a sufficient number of shells to make it complete, under your own eye or under the eye of officers on whom you can depend—The sooner this is done the better; and we shall then know whether we ought to recommend Mr Garanger or not. … P.S. I will write to General Heath to give his permission when you apply to him” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Document XIX with The Discovery of Major General Benedict Arnold’s Treachery, 25 Sept.–24 Nov., editorial note). For Lewis Garanger’s artillery trials at West Point, see Knox to GW, 18 April 1781 (DLC:GW).

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