< Back

Revolutionary War General Henry Knox Museum

Henry Knox was an ordinary man who rose to face extraordinary circumstances. He was born into poverty in Boston in 1750. He left Boston Latin Grammar School at a young age to apprentice to a bookbinder, helping to support his widowed mother and younger brother. He eventually worked his way to opening his own bookshop in Boston at the age of 21, little suspecting the important role that he would play in the birth of our nation. His keen interest in military strategy led him to do a lot of reading on the subject, and when he joined the local militia, his talent was noticed. In 1775, as the situation between Great Britain and the American colonies was heating up, General George Washington inspected a rampart at Roxbury designed by Knox and was instantly taken with the young man's abilities. Knox soon became Washington's Chief of Artillery, and earned a place in history in the winter of 1776 by carting sixty tons of captured cannon from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to Dorchester Heights, driving the British from Boston Harbor. Throughout most of the war he was by Washington's side, and eventually rose to Major-General. Following the war he was Washington's choice for the first Secretary at War. They remained life-long friends.