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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox [incomplete]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01000 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Sleepy Hollow, New York Type: Autograph letter Date: 26 July 1781 Pagination: 6 p. ; 30 x 19.1 cm.

Summary of Content: Knox writes to his wife from Philipsburgh (present-day Sleepy Hollow, New York). "... I have never found any absence from [Lucy] so truly insupportable as the present. I am alone amidst a croud [sic], and unhappy without my companion." Bemoans the War: "...vile I call it because it is a War upon the affections of humanity. It has deprived us of the right enjoyment of six years, long years of our Life-- a period infinitely too long to be engrossed by other objects than the business of Love." Discusses a recent reconnaissance mission to assess the British force in New York City with optimism, stating that many of the British troops in the vicinity will soon depart for Virginia. Reports that some of the Marquis de Lafayette's troops, led by General Anthony Wayne, had a recent encounter with the British under Lord Cornwallis (Knox is possibly referring to the engagement at Green Spring plantation 6 July 1781). Refers to General Nathanael Greene's May-June 1781 Siege of Ninety-Six, and praises Greene's actions in the south: "His conduct has exhibited him a great man, and established his reputation beyond the powers of malice to injure it lastingly." Mentions arranging a place for Lucy to stay at a Dr. [Darbys] house. Possibly discussing enslaved people or servants, asks, "whether you are pleas'd with your [Servant]. I want to know whether I can get Cato, you will exchange him for William..." Lacks closing and possibly the address leaf.

Full Transcript: Camp Phillipsburg 26 July 1781

It is only for the few of similar sentiments and who love with the Zeal of my Lucy & I to conceive of the anxiety and distress of ...being separate, especially when the purest affection has been crown'd with such charming pledges as our little celestials. Although it is painful, to suppose my Lucy will not be displeas'd at the confession that I have never found my absence from her so truly insupportable as the present. I am alone amidst a croud, and unhappy without my companion. haste happy time, when we shall be no more seperated, when we shall [struck: truly] justly be the shadow of each other [2] and when every emotion of [inserted: our] hearts & minds shall be [inserted: to render] our happiness complete, employ'd in the ravishing care, of tutoring the young minds of our sweet babes, and endevoring to sit & prepare ourselves, for a glorious eternity. "too enthusiastic my Harry! endevor to obtain a permanent fortune for yourself & children. you are always flying off into some eccentric path, and instead of improving your time like other rational mortals you are suffering [that to elapse] which can never be regain'd." Indeed my [sweetest] tye to mortality, I will exert myself in every laudable pursuit to render you easy in your circumstances, as soon as this vile War shall cease. vile I call it [3] because it is a War upon the affections of humanity. It has deprived us of the right enjoyment of six years, long years of our Life - a period infinitely too long to be enjoyed by other objects than the business of Love.
I know not what to say about the prospects of the campaign. The number of men which were to have been furnish'd fall vastly short. We have lately been down to the grounds adjacent to York Island, with a view to reconnoitre the points of attack, and where the Enemy were most vulnerable - our view was satisfactory, and amounted to a conviction that with a proper force the possession of both Islands would not be so difficult as has hitherto been imagined. I speak now, even if we should not have [strikeout] a superior fleet. that event [4] combined as above could render our success certain & complete. But we have the fullest evidence that the enemy intend to recall the greatest part of their forces from Virginia, and that the British fleet saild from the Hook on the 4th to convoy them hither. This [tho] it was part of our original plan, will prevent our operations in this quarter provided the reinforcements which shall be brought, amount to a large number.
Time the great developer of human events, will shew us how far we can go.
[Struck: We] Some of the Marquis's troops under General Wayne have had a recontre with the Enemy under Lord Cornwallis in which we suffer'd some, and lost 2 pieces of Cannon. But it will have no consequences to it as the Enemy continued to pursue their plan which was to retire to Plymouth that they might have the liberty to send troops this way according [5] according to exigencies.
General Greene after having the best prospects of expelling the Enemy from all the upper country of South Carolina & Georgia has been oblig'd to raise the siege of ninety six when just within the grasp of victory. This was owing to a reinforcement of about 1500 men receivd by the Enemy from England. But previous to this event he had taken all the other posts of the Enemy. His conduct has exhibited him a great man, and established his reputation beyond the powers of malice to ensure [it] it [sic] lastingly.
I Yesterday received a message from Colonel Livingston by Colonel Webb - informing me that he had prospects of obtaining two rooms for you in Doctor Darbys house provided he could get out a family which was on the point of going away, and which was expected hourly. That he would write me by the post - By this it does not appear that the persons he [6] he mentiond [vzt] Mr & Mrs D could make it convenient to take you. however we shall know more about it in a few days.
I am at a loss to know where to Direct this. I shall send it Colonel Hughes with a request to send it to Colo Duers & for him to send it to the place where you may be. write me I beseech You, and let me know where you are and whether you are pleas'd [text loss] your [servant]. I want to know whether [if] I can get Cato, you will exchange him for William, you know my reasons for this and they operate forcibly for this exchange - when you get fix'd, black [Jace] may answer, and then others can join me.
Kiss my dear little Girl & boy and assure them next to Mama papa wishes to see them of all people on earth.
With the most
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People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Knox, Lucy Flucker, 1756-1824

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMarriageLove LettersWomen's HistorySpyingGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFranceBattleIndentured ServantAfrican American HistoryFrance

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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