It is thought that General Knox had hired Christopher Calles, a
European-trained engineer and scientist. as a Conductor of Military Stores.
However, his main function was to serve as "Preceptor of the Academy," which all officers up to the rank of Major were to attend six days a week.
Classes are said to have begun on March 1. 1779. and continued at least into the middle of
June 1779. How long the lectures continued after this have not been confirmed.
There is evidence that Calles had also hired a number of Assistant
Conductors who were in fact young men waiting for their commissions as junior
artillery officers to be sent forward for approval to the Board of War. These men went with
Colles wherever he moved and presumably received ongoing instructions from
Knox had seen the need for more than an educated officer corps and he had been asking for one since the before the war began. He felt
equally committed to standardizing and upgrading the performance of the
enlisted men. John Seidel wrote in 1982 "To this end he ordered that from April 16, 1779 on a line of 16
fieldpieces was to be maneuvered in the field to a new order of fife and drum
commands which he had composed. The men were to practice this for two
hours each day until thoroughly familiar with it and then to continue to
practice until the Army was again ready to take up active campaigning.
One of the most important aspects of the artillery are the procedures necessary to effectively position, prepare, load, and fire a canon. Take a look here as Joe Swain, from the Royal Artillery shows how a 3-pound cannon is loaded and fired. (Video by Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger) - 2009
Written by: Brooks Betz
Photos/Images by: Brooks Betz/ Matt Koppinger/Star Ledger
Last Updated: July 2009
About the Vanderveer/Knox House & Museum
& the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment
For over two centuries, the Jacobus Vanderveer House has been at the center of Bedminster Township’s rich and colorful history. The house is the last surviving building in Bedminster associated with the Vanderveer's, a family prominent in Bedminster Township history from its earliest settlement through the mid 19th century.
The Vanderveer house served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79, when the Continental Army artillery was located in the village of Pluckemin during the Revolutionary War's Second Middlebrook Encampment. The house is the only known building still standing that was associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment. The artillery park and military academy is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery and predates the United States Military Academy at West Point (est.1802) by twenty four years.
The Vanderveer family house was later enlarged with two additions in the nineteenth century, remodeled in the twentieth century, and subsequently abandoned. The Township of Bedminster purchased the home and the surrounding area as part of River Road Park in 1989. The home has been restored by The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, a non-profit group of inspired volunteers dedicated to use the home as a museum and educational center.
The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House
P.O. Box 723, Bedminster, New Jersey 07921-0723
908 - 212 - 7000 ext. 611