George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 10 March 1782

Philadelphia 10th March 1782.


By a letter from Colonel DAboville commanding the french Artillery in Virginia it appears there have been lately discovered in that State 14 heavy battering brass cannon, which are indisputably the property of that State. These cannon have no carriages and I presume little or no proper ammunition & few or no implements.

In their present, or indeed in a perfect state, it would be difficult to conceive, of what use they could be to the State of Virginia, as it would require great exertion to equip & a raft appartus to move them.

But although these cannon are in a manner useless to an individual State they would be highly serviceable to the United States which are in greater want of a battering train especially with the prospects in view for the operations of next summer. I would therefore request, your Excellency to take such steps, as you may think will most probably obtain them. In my opinion we could spare some small arms, or field pieces, in exchange for them which would be much more convenient for the State of Virginia. But as a negociation of the particulars of the exchange would take up much time, which would render the Cannon of no service in the ensuing campaign as they want to be new mounted, I take the liberty to suggest the borrowing them of the State, or purchasing them, and the price and species of payment to be hereafter settled by the secretary at War. But the Cannon to be immediately transported to the head of Elk, in order to be forwarded to this city, or Burlington to have carriages prepared for them. The season is so advanced, that a moments time cannot be afforded to be lost, if we can get them in possession. I have the honor to be sir With great Respect Your Humble Servant

H. Knox

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Index Entries