George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Henry Knox, 13 November 1780

From Brigadier General Henry Knox

Camp, Bergen County [N.J.], 13 Nov. 1780.


I take the liberty to state, for your Excellency’s consideration and decision, the case of two companies now in Col. Lamb’s regiment of artillery. These companies, originally commanded by Captains Lee and Porter, were raised in the State of Pennsylvania, have always been returned to the Board of War as part of the quota of that State, and for a considerable time past adopted by it and received the benefits of stores, clothing, &ca.1

It has been the anxious desire of the Government of Pennsylvania to have these companies annexed to Col. Procters regiment, also raised in that State, and which is deficient in the number of companies.2 The affair has been agitated in the Board of War and refered to Congress, and finally by the Board of War to Your Excellency on the 14th of last August; as appears by the letters and papers herewith returned, which I received from Col. Harrison some time ago, in order to make the annexation as requested.3 The reason which has hitherto prevented was a point of delicacy to Col. Lamb, in taking away from his regiment, against his consent, two companies which had been a part of it from its first formation, and an opinion that a new arrangement of the Corps would take place; when the State of Pennsylvania might be gratified without an injury to the service.

In the arrangement lately published the regiments of artillery are reduced from twelve to ten companies each.4 These two taken from Col. Lambs would reduce the regiment to its establishment. Col. Procter’s regiment has but eight companies—and these two added (having two others incorporated, vizt late Coren’s and Jones’s) would complete the number equal to the establishment.

I beg leave to observe on this state of the case, that if the two companies should still remain in Lamb’s regiment the service would be deprived of the number they contain, which to be sure is small, both consisting only of forty Men for the war. As the State of New York is obliged to raise one regiment of artillery, the state of Pennsylvania (being also obliged to raise a regiment) would consider these men as part of the present demand.

I beg Your Excellency’s speedy determination,5 and am with the highest respect Your most obedt servt

H. Knox

LS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed with GW to George Clinton, 14 Nov., N: George Clinton Papers.

1Capt. James Lees resigned in December 1779, and Capt. Jonas Simonds took over his company in the 2d Continental Artillery Regiment. For the congressional resolution that apportioned the Continental artillery to the states for supply purposes, see 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 , 13:316–18; see also John Jay to GW, 15 March 1779.

2See Joseph Reed to GW, 18 April 1780, and n.4 to that document.

3Knox refers to GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison (see also Board of War to GW, 14 Aug., and notes 1 and 2 to that document.

5GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote Knox from headquarters at New Windsor on 16 Dec.: “Governor Clinton, when he was down last, informed the General that he should have no objection to the two Penna Companies of Colo. Lambs Regt joining Colo. Procters” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 29205). For the consolidation of artillery companies, see General Orders, 1 Jan. 1781.

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