78 Facts About Henry Knox


Henry Knox, a Founding Father of the United States, was a senior general of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, serving as chief of artillery in most of Washington's campaigns.


Henry Knox is perhaps best remembered today as the namesake of Fort Knox in Kentucky, the repository of a large portion of the nation's gold reserves.


Henry Knox quickly rose to become the chief artillery officer of the Continental Army.


Henry Knox established training centers for artillerymen and manufacturing facilities for weaponry that were valuable assets in winning the war for independence.


Henry Knox saw himself as the embodiment of revolutionary republican ideals.


Henry Knox was formally responsible for the nation's relationship with the Indian population in the territories it claimed, articulating a policy that established federal government supremacy over the states in relation to Indian nations and called for treating Indian nations as sovereign.


Henry Knox retired to Thomaston, District of Maine in 1795, where he oversaw the rise of a business empire built on borrowed money.


Henry Knox died in 1806, leaving an estate that was bankrupt.


Henry Knox's father was a shipbuilder who, due to financial reverses, left the family for Sint Eustatius in the West Indies where he died in 1762 of unknown causes.


Henry Knox was admitted to the Boston Latin School, where he studied Greek, Latin, arithmetic, and European history.


Henry Knox immersed himself in literature from a tender age.


However, Henry Knox was involved in Boston's street gangs, becoming one of the toughest fighters in his neighborhood.


Henry Knox testified at the trials of the soldiers, in which all but two were acquitted.


Shortly before his 23rd birthday Henry Knox accidentally discharged a gun, shooting two fingers off his left hand.


Henry Knox managed to bind the wound up and reach a doctor, who sewed the wound up.


Henry Knox supported the Sons of Liberty, an organization of agitators against what they considered tyrannical policies by the British Parliament.


Henry Knox's parents left, never to return, with the British during their withdrawal from Boston after the Continental Army fortified Dorchester Heights, a success that hinged upon Knox's Ticonderoga expedition.


Henry Knox's abandoned bookshop was looted and all of its stock destroyed or stolen.


Henry Knox served under General Artemas Ward, putting his acquired engineering skills to use developing fortifications around the city.


Henry Knox directed rebel cannon fire at the Battle of Bunker Hill.


Henry Knox did not have a commission in the army, but John Adams in particular worked in the Second Continental Congress to acquire for him a commission as colonel of the army's artillery regiment.


Henry Knox bolstered his own case by writing to Adams that Richard Gridley, the older leader of the artillery under Ward, was disliked by his men and in poor health.


Henry Knox is generally credited with suggesting the prospect to Washington, who thereupon put him in charge of an expedition to retrieve them even though Henry Knox's commission had not yet arrived.


The region was lightly populated and Henry Knox had to overcome difficulties hiring personnel and draft animals.


Henry Knox established a close friendship with Massachusetts general Benjamin Lincoln.


Henry Knox was with Washington's army during the New York and New Jersey campaign, including most of the major engagements resulting in the loss of New York City.


Henry Knox narrowly escaped capture following the British invasion of Manhattan, only making it back to the main Continental Army lines through the offices of Aaron Burr.


Henry Knox was promoted to brigadier general for this accomplishment, and given command of an artillery corps expanded to five regiments.


In 1777, while the army was in winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, Henry Knox returned to Massachusetts to improve the Army's artillery manufacturing capability.


Henry Knox raised an additional battalion of artillerymen and established an armory at Springfield, Massachusetts before returning to the main army in the spring.


Henry Knox returned to the main army for the 1777 campaign.


Henry Knox was present at Brandywine, the first major battle of the Philadelphia campaign, and at Germantown.


The army saw no further action that year, but privateers that Knox and fellow Massachusetts native Henry Jackson invested in were not as successful as they hoped; many of them were captured by the British.


In 1781, Henry Knox accompanied Washington's army south and participated in the decisive siege of Yorktown.


Henry Knox was personally active in the field, directing the placement and aiming of the artillery.


Henry Knox joined the main army at Newburgh, New York, and inspected the facilities at West Point, considered a crucial defensive position.


Henry Knox soldiered on becoming involved in negotiations with the Confederation Congress and Secretary of War Benjamin Lincoln over the issue of pensions and overdue compensation for the military.


Henry Knox wrote a memorial, signed by a number of high-profile officers, suggesting that Congress pay all back pay immediately and offer a lump-sum pension rather than providing half-pay for life.


Henry Knox served as The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati's first Vice President.


Henry Knox drafted plans for the establishment of a peacetime army, many of whose provisions were eventually implemented.


Henry Knox had been considered for the job when it was given to Lincoln in 1781, and expressed his interest in succeeding Lincoln.


Henry Knox resigned his army commission in early 1784, "well satisfied to be excluded from any responsibility in arrangements which it is impossible to execute", and Congress' idea failed.


Henry Knox returned to Massachusetts, where the family established a home in Dorchester.


Henry Knox worked to reassemble a large parcel of land in Maine that had been confiscated from his Loyalist in-laws.


Henry Knox was able to assemble a vast multi-million acre real estate empire in Maine, including almost all of the old Flucker holdings, in part by getting appointed the state's official for disposing of seized lands, and then rigging the sale of his in-laws' lands to a straw buyer acting on his behalf.


Henry Knox was appointed to a state commission responsible for negotiating treaty provisions with the Penobscot Indians of central Maine.


The War Department Henry Knox took over had two civilian employees and a single small regiment.


Henry Knox was only able to recruit six of the authorized ten companies, which were stationed on the western frontier.


Henry Knox first proposed an army mainly composed of state militia, specifically seeking to change attitudes in Congress about a democratically managed military.


Henry Knox personally went to Springfield to see to its defense.


Henry Knox actively promoted the adoption of the new constitution, engaging correspondents in many colonies on the subject, but especially concentrating on achieving its adoption by Massachusetts, where its support was seen as weak.


In 1792 Congress, acting on a detailed proposal from Henry Knox, created the short-lived Legion of the United States.


Henry Knox urged and presided over the creation of a regular United States Navy and the establishment of a series of coastal fortifications.


Henry Knox was responsible for managing the nation's relations with the Native Americans resident in lands it claimed, following a 1789 act of US Congress.


Henry Knox stated that Indian nations were sovereign and possessed the land they occupied, and that the federal government should therefore be responsible for dealings with them.


The bloody campaigns that Secretary Henry Knox oversaw in some cases involved armies many times larger than later battles in the 1870s.


The Native American nations were reluctant to leave their hunting grounds but Henry Knox thought he could make a deal with the southern tribes headed by Alexander McGillivray.


Washington and Henry Knox generally felt the use of force would be too costly to Americans and a violation of republican ideals.


Henry Knox proposed furnishing the Natives with livestock, farming implements, and missionaries, in order to make them pacific farmers.


Henry Knox signed the Treaty of New York on behalf of the nation, ending conflict with some, but not all, Cherokee tribal units.


Henry Knox went on to cite the fact that where there was white settlement, there was "the utter extirpation" of natives, or almost none left alive.


Washington's policies, as carried out by Secretary Henry Knox, set the stage for the rise of Tecumseh two decades later.


Henry Knox was succeeded in the post of Secretary of War by Timothy Pickering.


Henry Knox settled in Thomaston, and built a magnificent three story mansion surrounded by outbuildings called Montpelier, the whole of "a beauty, symmetry and magnificence" said to be unequaled in the Commonwealth.


Henry Knox spent the rest of his life engaged in cattle farming, ship building, brick making and real estate speculation.


One of the people Henry Knox took land from was Joseph Plumb Martin, a soldier who settled in Maine and wrote a memoir of his war experiences.


Henry Knox briefly represented Thomaston in the Massachusetts General Court, but he eventually became so unpopular that he lost the seat to a local blacksmith.


Many incidents in Henry Knox's career attest to his character, both good and bad.


Henry Knox was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1805.


Henry Knox had interests in lumbering, ship building, stock raising and brick manufacturing.


Unfortunately for him, these businesses failed, and Henry Knox built up significant debts.


Henry Knox was forced to sell large tracts of land in Maine to satisfy some of his creditors.


Henry Knox died at his home on October 25,1806, at the age of 56, three days after swallowing a chicken bone which lodged in his throat and caused a fatal infection.


Henry Knox was buried on his estate in Thomaston with full military honors.


The house he used as a headquarters in New Windsor, New York, during the Revolution has been preserved as Henry Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site; it is a listed National Historic Landmark.


Henry Knox was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1791.


Henry Knox Hall at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, home of the US Army Field Artillery School, is named in his honor, as is an annual award recognizing the performance of US artillery batteries.


Henry Knox's papers have been preserved at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and his personal library resides in the Boston Athenaeum in proximity to that of his friend, George Washington.