George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 16 July 1780

Camp at Pracaness 16 July 1780

Dear Sir,

Yesterday I received Your Excellency’s directions, not to lose a moments time in bringing forward all the cannon and stores in our possession proper for a siege, and necessary for the service of the campaign, to the North river, New York being the object.

As I am now writing to the board of war on the subject, I should be obliged to Your Excellency to direct whether the stores shall be transported on the route above the mountains to New Windsor, or to Kings ferry. Perhaps the first is the most military point to which we could collect the stores; and the route by Kings ferry is the most easy, but more liable to be interrupted by the enemy than the other. I also wish to know whether the cannon and stores in Pennsylvania ought not, in some considerable degree, to be brought to the points where they are to be used by water. By a rough calculation, it will require nearly a thousand waggons to transport the cannon and stores already procured in that state. And if the quantities of shot and shells which are requested in the estimate should be principally cast at the furnaces there, to bring them on by land will not only increase the difficulty of transportation, but the additional expence will be enormously great.

The shot and shells which are, or may be cast in this state must be transported by land to the North river—but the distance is not great.

A considerable number of cannon and some stores, belonging to the continent, are at Providence, and some mortars and shells at Boston, which must probably be brought round by water, as the land carriage would be tedious and uncertain, if not impracticable. I have the honor to be with great respect, Your Excellency’s most obedt servt

H. Knox

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Camp at Pracaness 16 July 1780.

Dear Sir,

I am commanded by His Excellency General Washington to have the stores &ca for a certain purpose collected at the North river, and to apply to you for assistance. The heavy park at Easton is among the first objects which claim immediate attention.

I have enclosed an estimate of horses and cattle necessary for this business, and beg your directions how, and in what manner that shall be the most speedy, it can be effected.

Besides the park at Easton, there are shot and shells at Mount Hope and Hibernia furnaces, about one hundred & 44 tons, and at Pompton about fifty or 60 tons which also must be moved to the North river. I am &ca

H. Knox B.G. Arty


In addition to the above, there are a quantity of cannon, shot and shells at Providence, and perhaps Boston which are necessary for our purposes. Pray give me your advice, and opinion whether they ought not to be brought to the places where they are to be used by water—or whether it is practicable to bring them by Land. I am &ca


Camp at Pracaness N.J.

16 July 1780.

In answer to your letter of this day forwarding an estimate for teams to bring forward the ordnance form Easton, and the shells and shot from Mount Hope and Pompton, I can only say, it is my opinion the only practicable mode is to send out a party of light horse to impress the teams for the purpose.

The inhabitants are busy in getting in their harvest, and we have no money to pay the [people]. therefore they cannot be got out; no is the civil magistrate able to bring them out without money. Two attempts have been made lately without success—one at [Essex] and one at Pompton—and I am confident this will be the fate of any further attempt without force. Mr Howe has just returned from Pompton—and says it is impossible to get the teams without a miltary party, the justices having done all in their power to little effect.

I am fully with you in opinion that the ordnance and stores from the Eastward must come from Providence by water, if not directly from Boston. The transportation will be too great to bring them all the way by land. I am with great respect &ca

N. Greene Q.M.G.


Estimate refered to in the letter to Gen. Greene.

Horses and oxen necessary to remove the heavy ordnance and stores at Easton.

yoked oxen Horses
3-24 pounders each 3 yoked oxen & 2 horses 9 6
2 12 do 5 2 10 4
4 do do 4 2 16 8
1 do do 2 2
1 [   ] howitzer 5 2
1 do Do without a carriage 2 0
18 waggons—4 horse 72
4 travelling forge 4
Total 44 98

H. Knox

B.G. Artillery

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