Hey, there! Log in / Register

Revolutionary mystery: Why were the cannons that forced the British out of Boston diverted to Framingham first?

J.L. Bell ponders why Henry Knox might have had the cannons he and his troops were hauling from Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights brought to Framingham even though that meant diverting from the fastest route to the Boston area.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Not sure many people comment on them, so not sure you get the feedback you need - but I always find them interesting and will read the post, frequently click through and occasionally send link to my Dad who is a Rev/Civil war buff.

Thanks Adam.

up
Voting closed 0

The Latin work for military baggage is the same as the word for hindrances. What Knox did in the middle of winter, especially getting across the Hudson saved Boston. He had 80 teams of oxen in two phases pulling cannon from Troy to Springfield then Springfield to Boston.

There was a book on Knox that came out about 10 years ago by Mark Puls. I wasn't thrilled with it but it is a good cursory study.

That being said I think the Bank of America on West Broadway still has 1940's paintings of the actions to place the siege cannons on Dorchester Heights. Gates(Horatio Gates) Street and Thomas (John Thomas) Park up on Dorchester Heights are named for generals during the war with Thomas being one of the directors of the siege.

Knox grew up in a house that was located on that sidewalk next to the now 176 Federal Street, that part of the sidewalk at the top of Federal Street that you take from South Station when you cross over High. He was self-taught in artillery based on books and conversations with British soldiers during the early 1770's and was only 25 when he led the expedition from New York.

Knox was given a lot of land up in Maine for his efforts around Thomaston and Rockland (Knox County). He kind of went broke and his family squandered everything after his death. There is a reconstruction of his Maine house just before that massive cement plant along Route 1 in Thomaston if you are ever up that way.

He is sort of unsung and was very important in Boston not being torched by the British in 1776.

up
Voting closed 0

I'd be ok with New England being part of Canada right now.

(this is a joke, save your high dudgeon)

up
Voting closed 0

Knox mansion was torn down to make way for the railroad. This was in maybe 1847 or so. There are pictures of the old mansion, it was kind of a wreck. One of the outbuildings was saved and became the train station.

Interesting. I always thought he was from the Rockland/Thomaston area.

up
Voting closed 0

Indeed, Adam's links are probably how I found Bell's blog in the first place, and therefore why I bought his book.

up
Voting closed 0

I do have a history background but without looking this up, my guess is that there were no feasible direct routes through NH to go straight to Boston. I believe that since it was winter, the roads were frozen which made hauling the cannon on sleds easier than going through Springtime mud. Going south from Ticonderoga would follow the relatively flat land of the Connecticut River valley before turning due east across Massachusetts. Current route 30 in Framingham is one of the original Post Roads that would have existed by 1775. Worcester and Framingham were hotbeds of patriot support so it makes sense to go through 'friendly' territory. I could be wrong, just a guess.

up
Voting closed 0

Read Bell's post. The issue wasn't up in NH: Knox was headed towards Boston/Roxbury/Dorchester Heights on the Boston Post Road (today's Rte. 20, more or less) and was up in what was basically Wayland before deciding to send the cannons down to Framingham.

up
Voting closed 0