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Knox, William (1756-1795) Knox's army diary [incomplete]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.08417 Author/Creator: Knox, William (1756-1795) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph document Date: 16 September 1777-16 October 1777 Pagination: 19 p. ; 20.8 x 13.6 cm.

Summary of Content: Mostly deals with movements of the army around Philadelphia in September and October 1777, around the time of the Battle of Germantown. On September 19 says "Intelligence recd. of the enemys pushing for Philadelphia the army cross'd the Schylkill." On 20 September, makes reference to General Anthony Wayne being attacked at night and states that General William Smallwood joined Wayne. Makes reference to George Washington riding reconnaissance with a group of officers on 30 September. Makes reference to moving toward Germantown on 3 and 4 October and describes the battle there. Makes reference to generals Agnew, Grant, and Kniphausen being killed and to General Nash being wounded with a cannon ball through his thigh. Speaks of retreat and aftermath of battle. Mentions hearing General Sullivan's aide-de-camp John White was fatally wounded in the battle. White left behind a pregnant wife. Also says that Sullivan lost another aide-de-camp, Major Sherburne. Mentions a court of inquiry looking into the actions of General Sullivan "in the affair of Staten Island" on 11 October. Says Sullivan is acquitted on 12 October. On that same day references a letter from General Parsons reporting on the loss of Fort Montgomery. Diary has frayed edges, leading to some text loss. Is bound into what appears to be a 19th century sheet of paper as a protective cover.

Full Transcript: [draft]

[strikeout] Knox's Army Diary -
Sep 16 - Oct 16 1777

[1] tention of the enemys In tending to out flank us on - right and left determined once to frustrate ...their design by moving his whole army to the right 5 miles which brought us to the yellow Springs, never ever seen a more [horid] time for troops to march in. it rained all day with as much violence as every it is since the flood of Noah - scarcely a dry cartridge in the whole army. if attacks by the enemy [struck: aided] a entire defeat must have been the consequences -
17th We mov'd this [morning] [2] from the yellow springs over french creek [bridge] and halted 5 or 6 miles the other side
18. One O'Clock this morning [inserted: the army] were order'd to march & we reach'd reading [furnace] were we encamped above
12 O Clock -
19th. Intelligence rec.d' of the enemys pushing for Philadelphia the army cross'd the Schulkill at - Ford by the time the [struck: Land] Army had cross'd night came on but his Excell.y. having informed of the enemys being at [3] [Flatland] Ford on [ship] & appeard as if intent to cross - thought it necessary for the Army to march all night - but upon hearing the enemy had cross'd about 2 O'Clock in the morning he ordered a halt - until he could get certain intelligence - upon having authentic accounts of their not having cross'd the Army renew'd the march and reach'd the other side of [flat land] Ford, where the enemy were & nearly in sight
21. The ground Sunday on which we are being not so advantageous [4] ly situated [assume] at a distance we are to take, there immediately - we arrivd about dusk to our new ground - we had not been many minutes upon our new ground, when the Army were orderd to march we reforded the Perkeomin & Skipback, and reachd the ground on which we were to encamp about 3 O [Clock] in the morning in passing by a Collo. Patten of [illegible] of the Pennsylvania Regt. at the [Trap] took a nap of half an hour or so
22d. We were ordered to be in readiness to march at 10 O Clock we accordingly march'd about 6 mile from our last encampment [text loss] [5] [illegible] about [illegible] accounts are recd. of Gen Waine being attacked on the 20th. at night, by surprize he was detachd by way of attacking the enemys rear. Genl. Smallwood arriv'd and joind Genl Waine
23d. this morning the enemy corss'd at the Flatland ford with part of their Army and proceeding on the other on their way to Philadelphia
24th. We are at Hanover Township Philadelphia County - Nothing of consequence took place in camp today.
[6] 25. Contd at Hanover [text loss] cookd 2. days provisions the Brittish we hear [they] enter'd Philadelphia to the amot of about 1500 and 2d. Cornwallis the remainder are about Germantown Flankford and their [environs]
26th: This morning the [text loss] march'd cross'd the Perkeomin and encampd near [Palding Mill] just on the Creek
Genl. Mc.Dougal joind the grand Army [struck: today] yesterday
27. Genl Knox, Green McDougal having about 50. Horse under Count Polaski went this day to reconnoit [7] a new encampment Some very favourable accounts from Genl Gates's Army
28th. Favorable accounts from the Northward one that, that General Burgoine attackd the left of Genl Gates Army, under Genl Arnold and every repulse and [text loss] 5 repeated attacks & himself wounded that the [illegible] [final lines] were in our possession and when the [illegible] came away Ticonderoga was summon'd. 250. prisoners besides a great number of Batteries Arms & Boats &c with the [chief] of our [8] prisoners taken at [text loss]
29th The Army march this day from the encampment at Palding Mill about 4 mile
30th. [struck: March'd today from the 4 Mile encampment to Worcester Township] [strikeout]
30th. Verry cold nights, having no Blanket His Excelly [strikeout] company by a great number Genl. Officers rode out Reconnoiter the ground about our presen[text loss] and intended encampme[text loss] no very particular accou[text loss] from the Enemy
[9] Oct 1. Orders were [up] to day for the march of the army tomorrow from the right
2d. March'd this day from the 4 Mile [enemies] were to Worcester which situation is rather [illegible] eligible [illegible].we had for some [text loss] past.
3. of. 4th This evening at 6 O Clock the whole army march'd from this emcampment toward the Enemy at Germantown in 4 Columns after having march'd all night. we [struck: ad] arrivd at the Advance Picket of their [10] line in [Beggartown] about sunrise: the [struck: action] [inserted: attacking] of which began the action of this memorable days the enemy soon reinforced their picket to 4 or 5. men with 2 field pieces the Action soon became [genera] [text loss] - The Americans push'd on with great ardor and [regularity], and the enemy ret[text loss] with great disorder an[text loss] precipitation for a mile [text loss] two, when a heavy fog whi[text loss] had arisen early in the morning became so thick that one part of our army would take [other] parts for the enemy, and these for some of us, which cau[text loss] such confusion that [w] [text loss] [11] were under the necessity of retreating in turn so we did bringing of all ar[text loss] Cannon and every thing and everything else except an [struck: y] empty Ammunition Waggon - The number of kill'd and wounded are not ascertain'd - General Na[text loss] of the North Carolinian was [struck: kill'd, or rather] mort[text loss] [inserted: wounded] by a cannon Ball's taking of his thigh - Generals Agnews Grant and Kniphausin are reported to be [struck: wounded] kill'd - with the Colo. Abercrombie, Wallice and [struck: an] Mr. Depeister Aid de Camp to Genl Kniphausin [12] Our Army for the better [text loss] [struck: baing] being [struck: the] [inserted: its] scatterd pur[text loss] retreated as far as the others [text loss] the Perkeomin -
5th. This day we were bussy in [collecting] to the Perkeomin
6th This afternoon we were alarm'd by the Militia, firing platoons by way of clearing their [guns] with any [text loss] the time limited in gene[text loss] orders.
7th. Nothing of consequence took place in Camp today
8th This morning we march from our encampment near Perkeomin - to a pla[text loss] call'd Lower Sulford or Skipba[text loss] Creek - A very heavy cannonade heard this night suppos'd to be down on the river
[13] 9th. Continued at Lower Sulford on the Creek
10th. This morning was buried with the honours of war John White [Engr.] Aid de Camp to General [Sullivan] was mortally wounded in the action of the 4th. he was buried in the same ground with General [Nash]
It is worthy of Gene[text loss] that this Gentleman Native of Hibernia left a Pregnant Wife with a Genteel fortune in England to encounter all the hardships of ravaging War, such was his exalted Idea of defending the Religious [&] civil rights of mankind
[14] General Sullivan left in this action another of his Aids de Camp - Major Sherburne - At 12 O Clock was executed for Dersertion [sic] a Soldier who deserted from Colo Hartleys Regt. and was taken after having enlisted in the Brittish army at [illegible] [text loss] - By the many accounts from the Brittish Army, their loss must have been much more than was at first suppos'd -
11th - A court of Enquiry sat today at our quarters [strikeout] to enquire into the conduct of Major Genl Sullivan in the affair [15] of Staten Island - very heavy cannonade heard today and yesterday suppos'd to be on the fort at Red bank
12th [Sunday]
Major General Sullivan is acquitted of the charge of [text loss] again him by major Tayl[text loss] in his Expedition to Stat[text loss] Island -
arriv'd a Confirmation of the [text loss] reports [repairing] the Ford up the north River - [strikeout] a Letter [home] General Parson's mentiond [struck: in our last] that on Monday the 6th. Inst. Fort Montgomery was taken by Storm - that the Fort made as brave a resistance as ever was [struck: heard] [inserted: read] of in history - Governor [16] and General Clinton with Colo Lamb & [illegible] made their escape after they were in possession of the Fort - The 2 frigates which lay in the Genl North River were burnt [illegible] [at wind and tide], were again [text loss] being taken [illegible] [text loss] river - General [illegible] with his Army have march'd to Fishkill
13th We hear the enemy are throwing up lines for the security of their Camp - at Germantown, Frankford & Philadelphia
[17] 4th By a letter from [text loss] Trumbul paymaster Genl Northern Department that on the 7th Genl Gates [illegible] an advantage over Genl Burgoine amounting to a defeat took [510] prisoners & peices Brass ordinance let 2 or 3 [illegible] on the [text loss] [and surprizing] [text loss] Burgoines Army who the accounts [illegible]
Genl Frazer was klld in this engagement Sir Francis Carr Clark taken with many officers of distinction - We had Generals Lincoln & Arn[text loss] [18] wounded in the leg [text loss] except which out [loss] was trifling - & upon the most rational prin[text loss] we may expect [struck: gu] to pe[text loss] of Gen Burgoine and [his] army falling into our hands -
15th. A discharge of [text loss] at the [inserted: [pack]] consequence [text loss] army under General Gates - Orders for marching tomorrow Morning 7. O Clock from the Right -
16th This morning the Army began the march at 7 O Clock
[Mr Shaw of finance 20 21 [illegible]]
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People: Knox, William, 1756-1795

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Battle of GermantownRevolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsBattleDeathInjury or WoundWomen's HistoryChildren and FamilyArtilleryMilitary LawCourt Martials and Courts of Inquiry

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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