Posted by: Ron DuBour | February 1, 2011

American Heroes~Henry Knox (1750-1806)~by rldubour

Knowing your American Heroes

Henry Knox (1750-1806)

To Scots-Irish immigrants.
William Knox and Mary Campbell
Born in Boston, Massachusetts
They taught Henry not to amble.

Father was a ship’s captain
He died in fifty-nine.
At age twelve he went to work
Worked in a bookstore at the time.

Later opened his own bookshop
Named the London Book Store.
Largely self-educated
For Knox there would be much more.

On June 16 in seventy-four
He married Lucy Flucker.
Fleeing Boston in seventy-five
Montpelier is where he took her.

Supported the American rebels
The Sons of Liberty.
Was soon to play a key role
In our country’s history.

At the Boston Massacre
And fought at Bunker Hill.
Became good friends with Washington
A great task was at his will.

The recently captured cannons
At Fort Ticonderoga.
Was commissioned as a colonel
He would fulfill that quota.

During the Battle of Trenton
Was in charge of crossing the Delaware.
With Washington and his forces
They caught the British unaware.

So many things Knox had achieved
Our first Secretary of War.
Established the Springfield Armory
A Major General and much more.

A true hero to our country
His family and his friends
The list of his accomplishments
Never seems to end.

AUTHOR NOTES: HENRY KNOX was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 25 July 1750; upon his father’s death left school at twelve to work in a bookstore; joined a local military company at eighteen, was present at the Boston Massacre, 1770, joined the Boston Grenadier Corps in 1772; married Lucy Flucker in 1774; joined the patriot cause and offered his services to General Washington in 1775; was commissioned colonel of the Continental Regiment of Artillery; led the expedition to transfer captured British guns from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston in 1776, a move that forced the British to evacuate the city; led the Delaware River crossing and participated in the Battle of Trenton in 1776; was promoted to brigadier general and Chief of Artillery of the Continental Army, December 1776; participated in the battles of Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown in 1777 and Monmouth in 1778; sat on the court-martial of Major John Andre in 1780; placed the American artillery at the Yorktown siege in 1781; commanded the West Point post, 1782–1783; organized the Society of the Cincinnati, 1783; was commander in chief of the Army, 23 December 1783–20 June 1784; served under the Confederation as Secretary at War, 8 March 1785–11 September 1789; served under the Constitution as first Secretary of War, 12 September 1789–31 December 1794; prepared a plan for a national militia, advocated and presided over initial moves to establish a regular Navy, urged and initiated the establishment of a chain of coastal fortifications, and supervised Indian policy; retired to Thomaston, Maine, 1796; engaged in lumbering, shipbuilding, stock raising, and brick manufacturing; died in Thomaston on 25 October 1806. Two separate American forts, Fort Knox (Kentucky), and Fort Knox (Maine) were named after him. Knox Hall [ 1] at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, home of the Field Artillery Center and Field Artillery School, is also named after him. A Knox County has been named for him in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. Knoxville, Tennessee, is also named for him. As the Siege of Boston continued, he suggested that the cannons then at recently captured Fort Ticonderoga could have a decisive impact. Washington commissioned him to colonel and gave him charge of an expedition to retrieve them. His force brought them by ox-drawn sled south along the west bank of the Hudson River from Fort Ticonderoga to Albany, where they crossed the Hudson and then continued east through The Berkshires and finally to Boston Knox and his men averaged approximately 5 ⅜ miles per day, completing the 300 mile trip in 56 days, between December 5th, 1775, and January 24th, 1776. The Cannon Train was composed of fifty-nine cannon and mortars, and weighed a total of 60 tons. Upon their arrival in Cambridge, when Washington’s army took the Heights of Dorchester, the cannons were placed in a heavily fortified position overlooking Boston, from which they seriously threatened the British fleet in the harbor (see fortification of Dorchester Heights). As a result, the British were forced to withdraw to Halifax on March 17, 1776. During the Battle of Trenton, Colonel Knox was in charge of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River. Though hampered by ice and cold, with John Glover’s Marbleheaders (14th Continental Regiment) manning the boats, he got the attack force of men, horses, and artillery across the river without loss. Following the battle, he returned the same force, along with hundreds of prisoners, captured supplies, and all the boats, back across river by the afternoon of December 26. Knox was promoted to brigadier general for this accomplishment. He died of an infection (peritonitis) three days later on October 25, 1806 and was buried in Thomaston, Maine (then Massachusetts)


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