This week is the anniversary of one of the most interesting events of the American Revolution. After the initial battles of the Revolution in 1775, the British army held the city of Boston while Continental troops under command of George Washington attempted to lay siege to the city while holding the high ground in neighboring communities. Things were in deadlock though because the British controlled the sea and could easily sail in and out of the port.
A young man named Colonel Henry Knox came up with a logical solution. The Green Mountain Boys had captured a large number of cannon at Fort Ticonderoga in New York. If this artillery could be brought to Boston and used to fortify Dorchester Heights, the Continentals Army would then be able to take shots at British shipping and thus control the harbor.
The story of the band of men under Colonel Knox swiftly transporting 60 tons of artillery across Massachusetts in the winter of 1776 is one of daring and intrigue. On the one hand marching through the snow and ice must have been miserable, but on the other hand crossing frozen rivers and transporting cannon by sleigh made actually eased the effort compared to what difficulty they may have faced in warmer months. Knox and his men successfully brought the cannon to Boston and in the dark of night fortified Dorchester Heights. The British had no choice but to evacuate the city.
The story is so fascinating to me I am surprised there aren’t really and books or documentaries about it. Last year I read Ye cohorn caravan: The Knox Expedition in the winter of 1775-76 by Wm. L. Bowne, but it was no more than a pamphlet and dry one at that. One can still follow the Knox Trail to this day. I think an interesting book would be to follow the trail today and recount the adventures of Knox and his noble train of artillery. Perhaps that will be a book I will write.