From Henry Knox’s days as a teenaged street brawler in Boston, fighting was in his blood. Although the co-founder of the Boston Grenadier Corps lacked a military education, he knew where to find it—on the shelves of his shop, the London Book-Store. The plump, 24-year-old bookseller quickly impressed George Washington when he arrived in 1775 to take command of the Continental Army during the siege of Boston. “Knox was really responsible for the patriots’ first victory when they forced the British out of Boston,” according to Jack Kelly, author of the new book “Band of Giants” The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence.” Tasked with transporting cannons from the recently captured Fort Ticonderoga, Knox managed to move the heavy artillery over 300 miles of winter terrain using enormous ox-drawn sleds until they pointed at the British from Dorchester Heights and forced their evacuation. Washington, who Kelly says had “an extraordinary knack for reading men and sensing ability,” chose Knox over more experienced veterans as his chief artillery officer. Knox managed the logistics for Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River and ran the siege at Yorktown that forced the British surrender. Washington’s trusted advisor also served as the first secretary of war for the new United States.
We honor you, Henry Knox.