Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Bushnell, David (1740-1826) to Henry Knox

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
or
subscribe to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10514 Author/Creator: Bushnell, David (1740-1826) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 2 January 1783 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 46.5 x 31 cm.

Summary of Content: Bushnell signs as Captain, Sappers and Miners. Gives his account of a situation involving Captain Lieutenant Taulman and Kirkpatrick. The two soldiers disobeyed his orders concerning their baggage and he had to arrest them. Refer to GLC02437.01788 for Knox's reply.

Background Information: David Bushnell built the first man-propelled submarine boat, called the "American Turtle." It featured a wooden magazine containing gunpowder and a clock mechanism for igniting it at any particular time. ...Although he was not successful in his attempts to destroy British ships during the American Revolution, he is recognized as the father of the modern submarine. While it could not be definitively confirmed that the writer of this document is the same Bushnell as the inventor of the submarine, it appears likely, as the inventor served as Captain of a corps of sappers and miners during the Revolution. David Bushnell's birth date appears as 1740 in most sources. His death date appears as either 1824 or 1826.See More

People: Bushnell, David, ca. 1740-1826
Knox, Henry, 1750-1806

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyMilitary CampMilitary LawArtillery

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources