Thomas Thomas Knowlton, Lt Col (1740 - 1776) MP

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Birthplace: Boxford, MA
Death: Died in New York, New York, NY, USA
Occupation: Lt.Col.Commander of "Knowlton's Rangers" Father of Military Intel., Public Servant and Farmer
Managed by: Angie Marmo
Last Updated:

About Thomas Thomas Knowlton, Lt Col

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT with the rank of LIEUTENANT COLONEL. DAR Ancestor #: A066850

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Knowlton

Thomas Knowlton (22 November 1740 – 16 September 1776) was an American patriot who served in the French and Indian War and acted as a Colonel during the American Revolution. Knowlton is considered America's first Intelligence professional, and his unit, Knowlton's Rangers, made a significant contribution to intelligence gathering during the early Revolutionary War. Knowlton was killed in action at the Battle of Harlem Heights.

Thomas Knowlton

1740.. Born in West Boxford, Mass

Bef 1755.. Family moves to Ashford, Conn

1755.. Age 15, enlists in the English Army for the final French-Indian War under a Major Putnam for four years. Achieved rank of Lieutenant by age 20.

1759.. Married Anna Keyes of Ashford, Conn

1762.. Served with the English troops in hostilities in Havana, Cuba against the Spanish.

1773.. Elected Selectman of Ashford, Conn (rough modern day equivalent of City Councilman). This was unusual for someone so young. He was only 33.

1775.. A Company is organized in Ashford for the struggle against the British. Their commander is elected. He thus became Captain Knowlton. He leads the company from Connecticut into Massachusetts, the first unit from an outside colony to march to Massachusetts to assist with the struggle after the Lexington and Concord incidents.

1775.. The Company of Ashford Volunteers finds themselves about to enter the Battle of Bunker Hill. The leader of the Battle was General Putnam, who had previously commanded Thomas Knowlton during the French-Indian War twenty years earlier. His troops repulse the early British charges and covered the retreat of the rest of the force. Captain Knowlton was promoted to Major based on his performance here, and was considered the "first officer of his grade in the army".

1775-76.. (Winter Operation) Major Knowlton leads a daring foray into Charlestown to burn homes housing British officers.

1776..Spring.. A Special Force of Connecticut men is formed for "special" operations, a ranger force. Major Knowlton is asked to command and is promoted to Lt. Colonel.

1776..Spring.. In preparing for the defense of New York, General Washington feels the need for more intelligence about the British situation in the city. Lt. Col. Knowlton is put in charge of the intelligence operation. Nathan Hale was the volunteer to put the operation into effect. He was captured by the British and hanged the day after his capture. His words that day have been immortalized into our history: "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

1776.. Aug.. Lt. Col. Knowlton is killed in action in the Battle of Harlem Heights. His sixteen year old son was also in this battle. George Washington said the next day: "The gallant and brave Col. Knowlton, who would have been an honor to any country, having fallen yesterday while gloriously fighting, Capt. Brown is to take command of the party lately led by Col. Knowlton."

Find a Grave Memorial #17277888 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=17277888

A monument of Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton presently stands on the state capitol grounds of Connecticut.

Bibliography: New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XV, No. 1, January, 1861, Pg. 1-12, Article by Ashbel Woodward, M. D.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Knowlton

Thomas Knowlton (22 November 1740 – 16 September 1776) was an American patriot who served in the French and Indian War and acted as a Colonel during the American Revolution. Knowlton is considered America's first Intelligence professional, and his unit, Knowlton's Rangers, made a significant contribution to intelligence gathering during the early Revolutionary War. Knowlton was killed in action at the Battle of Harlem Heights.

Early life

Knowlton was born into a military family on November 22, 1740 in West Boxford, Massachusetts. When he was eight, his family relocated to a farm in Ashford, Connecticut (current property of the June Norcross Webster Scout Reservation). In 1755, at fifteen, Knowlton served in the French and Indian War with his older brother Daniel. He enlisted in Captain John Durkee's company, and is known to have joined Daniel on scouting missions into enemy territory. He later served in Captain John Slapp's 8th Company, where he served with Throope Chapman. He served during six campaigns in the war and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1760. He also fought in Israel Putnam's company against the Spanish during the British expedition against Cuba in 1762.

By August 1762, Knowlton had returned home and married Anna Keyes. He and his wife raised nine children. At the age of thirty-three, Knowlton was appointed a Selectman of Ashford, Connecticut.

Battle of Bunker Hill

On April 18, 1775, General Thomas Gage dispatched a contingent of British troops to Lexington and Concord, about fifteen miles from Boston, Massachusetts. This action led to the outbreak of hostilities that became the American Revolution. On learning of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the militias of Massachusetts and Connecticut communities mobilized their members. Thomas Knowlton joined his militia, the Ashford Company, which became part of the 5th Connecticut Regiment, along with the men from Windham, Mansfield and Coventry, Connecticut. Knowlton was chosen unanimously as Captain and led 200 men into Massachusetts. His force consisted of farmers, without uniforms, primarily armed with shotguns.

Knowlton was ordered to Charlestown to join Colonel William Prescott. Knowlton’s troops were sent by Colonel Prescott to oppose the advancing British grenadiers, and took their posts on the side of Breed's hill. Using a rail fence as a base, the men threw up a parallel fence and, filling the space between with new-mown grass, formed an effective breastwork. There they held their ground until the general retreat, and were among those providing cover as the troops retreated. Only three men from Knowlton’s company died in the battle.

Years later, Colonel Aaron Burr said: "I had a full account of the Battle from Knowlton's own lips, and I believe if the chief command had been entrusted to him, the issue would have proved more fortunate. It was impossible to promote such a man too rapidly." In June 1775, for his bravery at Bunker Hill, Knowlton was promoted by Congress to Major. One of his men later remembered that Knowlton was courageous to a fault, never crying, Go on, boys! but always, Come on, boys!. (Rose, p. 16) On January 8, 1776, he led a troop in a successful incursion into Charlestown to burn housing used by British officers.

Knowlton's Rangers

On August 12, 1776, General of the Army George Washington promoted Knowlton to Lieutenant Colonel. He was ordered to select an elite group of men from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to carry out reconnaissance missions. America's first official spies, "Knowlton's Rangers" were also the first organized American elite troops, analogous to a modern special forces unit. The famous American spy, Captain Nathan Hale, was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton. The date "1776" on the modern U.S. Army's intelligence service seal refers to the formation of Knowlton's Rangers.

On September 16, 1776, Knowlton's Rangers, outfitted as a regiment of light infantry, were scouting in advance of Washington's Army at the Battle of Harlem Heights. They stumbled upon the Black Watch, an elite Highlander British unit with an attachment of Hessians. They managed a successful retreat but re-engaged the enemy with the support of a unit led by Major Andrew Leitch of Virginia. General Washington ordered the units to fall on the enemy's rear, while a feint in front engaged the British troops’ attention. An American premature shot into the right flank of the British ruined Washington's element of surprise. and placed Knowlton's Rangers and the Virginians at risk. Once the premature shot had been fired, Knowlton rallied his troops to carry on the attack. Both commanding officers were killed in front of their men. Knowlton's loss was lamented by Washington in his general orders for September 17, 1776 with the statement "The gallant and brave Col Knowlton, ... would have been an Honor to any Country, having fallen yesterday, while gloriously fighting ...".

The Knowlton Award

In 1995, the Military Intelligence Corps Association established the Knowlton Award, presented to individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of Army Intelligence.

-------------------- 1740.. Born in West Boxford, Mass

Bef 1755.. Family moves to Ashford, Conn

1755.. Age 15, enlists in the English Army for the final French-Indian War under a Major Putnam for four years. Achieved rank of Lieutenant by age 20.

1759.. Married Anna Keyes of Ashford, Conn

1762.. Served with the English troops in hostilities in Havana, Cuba against the Spanish.

1773.. Elected Selectman of Ashford, Conn (rough modern day equivalent of City Councilman). This was unusual for someone so young. He was only 33.

1775.. A Company is organized in Ashford for the struggle against the British. Their commander is elected. He thus became Captain Knowlton. He leads the company from Connecticut into Massachusetts, the first unit from an outside colony to march to Massachusetts to assist with the struggle after the Lexington and Concord incidents.

1775.. The Company of Ashford Volunteers finds themselves about to enter the Battle of Bunker Hill. The leader of the Battle was General Putnam, who had previously commanded Thomas Knowlton during the French-Indian War twenty years earlier. His troops repulse the early British charges and covered the retreat of the rest of the force. Captain Knowlton was promoted to Major based on his performance here, and was considered the "first officer of his grade in the army".

1775-76.. (Winter Operation) Major Knowlton leads a daring foray into Charlestown to burn homes housing British officers.

1776..Spring.. A Special Force of Connecticut men is formed for "special" operations, a ranger force. Major Knowlton is asked to command and is promoted to Lt. Colonel.

1776..Spring.. In preparing for the defense of New York, General Washington feels the need for more intelligence about the British situation in the city. Lt. Col. Knowlton is put in charge of the intelligence operation. Nathan Hale was the volunteer to put the operation into effect. He was captured by the British and hanged the day after his capture. His words that day have been immortalized into our history: "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

1776.. Aug.. Lt. Col. Knowlton is killed in action in the Battle of Harlem Heights. His sixteen year old son was also in this battle. George Washington said the next day: "The gallant and brave Col. Knowlton, who would have been an honor to any country, having fallen yesterday while gloriously fighting, Capt. Brown is to take command of the party lately led by Col. Knowlton."

A monument of Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton presently stands on the state capitol grounds of Connecticut.

Bibliography: New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XV, No. 1, January, 1861, Pg. 1-12, Article by Ashbel Woodward, M. D.

Captain Thomas Knowlton

Revolutionary War Hero

Commended by George Washington


http://ntgen.tripod.com/bw/k_cpttom.html

Intelligence in the War of Independence

In 1776 George Washington picked Thomas Knowlton to command the Continental Army's first intelligence unit, known as "Knowlton's Rangers." Intelligence failure during the battle of Long Island convinced Washington that he needed an elite detachment dedicated to reconnaissance that reported directly to him. Knowlton, who had served in a similar unit during the French and Indian War, led 130 men and 20 officers-all hand-picked volunteers-on a variety of secret missions that were too dangerous for regular troops to conduct. The date 1776 on the seal of the Army's intelligence service today refers to the formation of Knowlton's Rangers.

The DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 states "Thomas Knowlton commanded the first company of men that went from Connecticut to assist the troops at Charlestown and led the hundred men who set fire to the British stores"

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Colonel Thomas Knowlton's Timeline

1740
November 22, 1740
Boxford, MA
1759
April 5, 1759
Age 18
1761
December 12, 1761
Age 21
Massachusetts, United States
1768
June 19, 1768
Age 27
1776
September 16, 1776
Age 35
New York, New York, NY, USA
1776
Age 35
New York, New York, NY, USA
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