Henry Knox (1750-1806)
Born in Boston, Henry Knox was the son of a shipmaster who died when Henry was nine. Though he quit school at an early age in order to help support his mother, Henry nonetheless became an avid reader with an interest in military history and the use of artillery in particular. Upon the outbreak of the Revolution, he made a point of meeting and befriending General Washington, who appointed him chief artillery officer of the Continental Army. His first mission was to bring cannon from newly-captured Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, a feat he accomplished by means of ox-drawn sleds in the middle of winter. Once installed, the heavy guns quickly forced the British to withdraw from the city. A mainstay of the war effort from beginning to end, Knox would go on to serve as Secretary of War in Washington’s cabinet.