Washington and His Generals - Vol. 2

By J. T. Headley | Go to book overview

XIV
MAJOR GENERAL KNOX.

His early Life--Joins the Army as Volunteer--Transports Cannon from Canada--Appointed over the Artillery--Fights bravely at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth-- Appointed Secretary of War--His death and Character.

In battle the commander of heavy artillery, though one of the most efficient men, has but few opportunities to perform brilliant deeds. Neither commanding a division, nor expected to make a charge, his power is seen only in the way he manages his guns. Artillery is the most powerful arm of an army, and, when well served, makes terrible work on a field. Bonaparte, perhaps, rendered it more effective than any other general, and had some of the best artillery officers in the world. Drouot stands first among these. So rapidly would he discharge his guns, that in advancing to an attack one could hardly discover that he stopped to load: they seemed to explode as they moved, and with terrible effect. He never could be prevailed upon to ride a horse like other commanding officers, but always moved on foot amid his guns. A Polish officer in one of the late revolutions in Poland, saved the army by charging with his artillery, as if it had been cavalry. The battle was fierce, and had raged for a long time, when, seeing

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