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Members Only Knowlton's Rangers

Members Only Knowlton's Rangers

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Knowlton's Rangers was a reconnaissance and espionage detachment of the Continental Army established by George Washington. Named after its commander, Thomas Knowlton, the unit was formed in 1776. Washington chose Knowlton as the unit’s commander because of his experience as a scout in the French and Indian Wars and adept leadership at the battles of Breed's Hill and Long Island. Consisting of 130 men and 20 officers, the unit was charged with conducting reconnaissance, carrying out raids against British facilities and other dangerous covert missions. Even Thomas Knowlton’s own son and brother were part of the small reconnaissance detachment.

On September 16, 1776, Knowlton's Rangers were scouting in advance of Washington's Army at Harlem Heights, New York. The skirmish turned into an all-out battle with multiple flanks and counter maneuvers from both the British and Rangers. In the face of heavy enemy fire, Knowlton rallied his troops to carry on the attack. He fell mortally wounded in front of his men. Knowlton accepted his fate with the same fortitude that he had accepted his mission with. Just before his death, Knowlton was quoted saying, “I do not value my life if we do but get the day.”

Knowlton's Rangers are considered the United States of America's first organized intelligence service organization, as well as the first American Ranger unit formed after America declared its independence from the United Kingdom.


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