All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Regarding Henry Knox

Robert Manns of Camden wrote his play "The Swan that Slept" about James Swan, the founder of Swans Island spent 22 years in a French prison for refusing to pay a bill. The central figure in his latest project, "Yorktown," is General Henry Knox of Thomaston—hero of the Revolution, and our first Secretary of War.
It was the totally untrained Knox who went to war with George Washington and rose to general with an astounding knowledge of artillery, which came strictly from books. His coup of moving artillery 300 miles from Fort Ticonderoga to the heights around Boston in 1775 was considered one of the deciding events of the war.

"Washington was lucky to have Knox as well as Nathaniel Greene of Rhode Island. Greene was to the infantry what Knox was to artillery. Both were geniuses who knew instinctively how to convert knowledge into action.

"By the end of the war, Knox's prowess in artillery was common knowledge in Europe. When Cornwallis returned to England after losing the war, he asked Parliament to insist that artillery officers be forced to apply reading in their training, as much as field practice, like Knox did," Manns said.

The fact that Knox came to Maine and Thomaston with hundreds of acres of land and managed to lose it all, is not explored in the play, Manns said. [Link]

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