Knox, Henry (1750–1806), a United States army officer and statesman. As one of General Washington's most capable officers, he rose to the rank of major general during the Revolutionary War and later was the first secretary of war. He was one of the few American patriots who knew anything about artillery.
Knox was born in Boston. He fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill early in the Revolution. In the winter of 1775 Knox led a hazardous expedition that brought badly needed cannon from Fort Ticonderoga, New York, to Boston. The guns forced the British to evacuate Boston soon afterward.
Knox arranged the difficult crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776, that resulted in the victory at Trenton. He spent the winter of 1777–78 at Valley Forge. Knox was in charge of artillery at the battles of Princeton (1777), Brandywine (1777), and Monmouth (1778), and during the siege of Yorktown (1781). In 1780 he sat on the court-martial that condemned Major John André to death as a spy.
Knox was secretary of war under the Articles of Confederation (1785–89) and under President Washington (1789–94). He was bitterly attacked by anti-Federalists for advocating establishment of a national militia system and a national military academy. Knox suggested the founding of the oldest military society in America, The Society of the Cincinnati.