George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Henry Knox, 17 February 1781

Park of Artillery, near New Windsor 17 February 1781

Estimate of Ordnance, Ammunition, &ca necessary for an operation against the City of New York, by way of York Island, exclusive of what may be wanted for Long Island and its communications.

Cannon 32 pounders 8
24 12
18 26
12 22

Mortars 13 inch 2
10 20
8 " 2
5 1/2 " 12

Howitzers 8 inch 12
5 1/2 " 6

Shot 32 pounders 10000
24 " 24000
18 " 43000
12 " 6000

Shells 13 inch 1500
10 " 30000
8 " 15000
5 1/2 " 15000

Powder
For the service of the aforegoing
cannon, mortars & howitzers 940,400.
For contingencies 200,000
pounds weight — 1140,400

Paper Cartridges 32 pounders 16000
24 " 24000
18 " 43000
12 " 6600

Cartridge Paper—for extra service—one hundred & fifty [grams] Old Junk—for wads—one hundred and fifty tons.

A detail for the service of the Ordnance and Stores contained in the aforegoing estimate.

Cannon
32 pounders 8
24 " 12
18 " 20 To batter the enemy’s work on the
Island.

" 6 For Paulus Hook—to prevent any of
the enemy’s ships being stationed
between that place and the City—
occasionally to fire into the City—
and to fortify the Hook to secure our
possession.

12 pounders 6 For a battery on York Island to keep
open communication with Long Island.

" 8 For two batteries nearly opposite
each other, at Fort Lee or its
vicinity and York Island; to preserve
a communication with Jersey.

" 8 For works which must be constructed
somewhere about Kingsbridge or on the
Haerlem River, to preserve a
communication with the main.

Mortars
13 inch 2
10 " 20
8 " 2
5 1/2 " 12 For batteries in the line
Howitzers
8 inch 12
5 1/2 " 6 To batter the enemy’s works.

Powder

for
32 pounders 16000 rounds at 11 pounds each 176 000
24 " 24000 8 192 000
18 " 43000 6 258 000
12 " 6600 4 26 400
13 inch mortars 1500 12 18 000
10 " 30000 6 180 000
8 " howitzers 15000 4 60 000
5 1/2 " 15000 2 30 000
940,400
For contingenicies 200 000
required 1140.400
On hand as per return from
the board of war 24 July 1780,
3139 barrells — equal to 313,900

Deficient 826,500
pounds weight

Shot

for On hand Deficient
8 32 pounders 2000 each 16000 none 16000
12 24 " 2000 24000 3408 20592
20 18 for 2000 43000 26055 16949
York Island
6 " for 500
Paulus Hook
22 12 " 300 6600 all none

Shells

for On hand Deficient
2 13 inch mortars 1500 347 1153
20 10 " 30000 13506 16494
14 10 "& howitzers 15000 2469 12531
18 5 1/2 " " 15000 suppose 1000 14000

Paper cartridges

cartridge paper

Old junk

—nearly the whole quantity wanting

Remarks on the aforegoing Estimate

This estimate is some what different in the size of the calibres from those that have been presented for the same purpose in the two preceeding years. But the time for preparation at those periods was so exceeding short as to preclude a possibility of obtaining heavier cannon, and therefore there was an imposed obligation of using those in our possession although the effect would have been less than from those of a larger nature.

There are great variety of articles necessary for the service of the ordnance, which must be made in the laboratories and can be procured in the States which are not enumerated in the estimate.

It must be observed that every thing provided in consequence of any former estimate can be applied as part of the present without a superfluous article.

Probably the 32 pounders may be borrowed of Massachusetts, that State being in possession of the Somersetts cannon of this calibre. But it is much to be doubted whether they have the proper number of shot.

Six 24 pounders are contained in the returns as belonging to the Continent—at New port, Philadelphia, and one at West Point; but there is some dispute whether they belong to the Continent or to the States.

The 18 pounders might be taken from West Point. There are also some returned as belonging to the Continent, in Rhode Island and in Pennsylvania.

The 12 pounders are in possession at different Places and at West Point.

Two 13 inch mortars, left at Boston by the enemy, are by a resolve of Congress subject to the orders of Congress or those of the Commander in Chief.

The 10—8—& 5 1/2 inch mortars are in possession.

The 5 1/2 inch—and five of the 8 inch howitzers are in possesion. The seven remaining 8 inch are wanting.

For the actual service of the artillery which are to be exposed to the fire of the Enemy, the pieces must have garrison carriages with iron trucks. For various services it is necessary to have travelling carriages a sufficiency of which for the 18 & 12 pounders are at West Point.

The estimate supposes New York to be the point of operation, as a great proportion of the cannon and mortars are to be drawn from West Point, which cannot be the case in so great a degree if any other object is in contemplation. However, if all the ordnance and stores are provided as in this estimate a very respectable apparatus can be appropriated to any other expedition.

H. Knox

Brig. General Artillery

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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