Henry Knox

When the American War for Independence began there were few men in the thirteen colonies that possessed any experience commanding large numbers of men in combat. The colonial wars had been fought primarily by small bands of militia and settlers on the frontiers of New England, New York and the Appalachian Mountains. The French and Indian War (1756-1763) provided limited opportunity for command by Americans since the main armies were red-coated professionals from England and were led by English or Scottish Generals, often contemptuous of the colonials. George Washington had the most experience in higher rank but had not held independent command, except at the Battle of Fort Necessity, where he lost his entire army to a small band of French and Indians. In 1775, Congress gave the supreme command of the American militia army to George Washington. Trial and error would characterize his search for qualified men who would and could obey his orders and lead the country to victory. Providence brought a brilliant and scrappy Scotch-Irish Boston bookseller named Henry Knox to Washington’s doorstep.