Henry and Lucy Knox collection  1777-1807
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Henry and Lucy Knox collection (50 items) contains miscellaneous letters and documents related to Henry Knox, Continental Army officer and 1st United States secretary of war, and his wife Lucy Flucker Knox. The bulk of the collection is comprised of War Department documents concerning the American forces on the Ohio Frontier between 1791 and 1794.

The collection contains 4 items related to the American Revolution, including three letters to Benjamin Lincoln concerning military intelligence and prisoner exchange with the British (1780-1781), and a draft of an 11-page letter to General George Washington, in which Knox discussed possible courses of action for the Continental Army to take after their winter training at Valley Forge (April 23, 1778).

Material related to Knox's activities in the War Department comprise the bulk of the collection. These document his decisions regarding military provisioning (food and arms), recruiting, troop payments and pensions, and logistics, and his leadership role under the Continental Congress and President Washington. Of note are 20 letters from Henry Knox to Quartermaster Samuel Hodgdon concerning preparations for war with the Western Indian Confederacy of the Miami River Valley in the Ohio Territory (1791-1794).

Items of note include:

  • September 28, 1789: Knox to Arthur St. Clair concerning a bill about troops is postponed; Senate postponed treaty with Six Nations; advised president to ratify treaty with Wyandot
  • June 27, 1792: Henry Knox to Joseph Brant, inviting Brant, a Mohawk, to a treaty with the Six Nations
  • February 28, 1793: Henry Knox to William Hull concerning American relations with Indians and a council with hostile Indians to negotiate peace. Discusses arrangements that need to be made with Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada John Simcoe
  • May 3, 1794: Henry Knox to Samuel Hodgdon regarding the inspection of articles for the United States Army and complaints made by General Anthony Wayne

The collection contains six items related to Lucy Flucker Knox. These include one letter from Henry to Lucy, four from Lucy to Henry, and one from Lucy to Henry Jackson.

  • May 13, 1777: Lucy Knox to Henry Knox, discussing the prices of local goods, the health of their child, and advice on attacking Boston and the attitudes of the people of Danbury, Connecticut, toward the war
  • October 25, 1777: Lucy Knox to Henry Knox expressing tenderness, love, and concern for the effect the war will have on him: "I fear I greatly fear, that in the soldier I shall lose the lover, the tender, delicate engaging friend…"
  • June 11, 1780: Lucy Knox in Morristown, New Jersey, to Henry Knox, discussing Dr. Shippen's treatment of her poor health, news of their children, her lack of tea and spirits [liquor], and waiting for a black servant to arrive
  • August 11, 1806: Henry Knox to Lucy Knox discussing business matters and the Thomas O. Selfridge and Benjamin Austin affair
  • February 17, 1807: Lucy Knox to General Henry Jackson, discussing her recovery from an illness, and news of her son Henry Jackson Knox
  • Undated: From Lucy Knox in Boston during the Revolution to Henry Knox, relating her recent stiff neck, her growing anxiety over not hearing from him, and her plan to join him soon in New York
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