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General Putnam was in the mean time sent forward to su perintend the erection of lines of desence from the Schuylkill to the Delaware, for the security of Philadelphia. Small redoubts were hastily thrown up, to guard the fords; and Germantown was fixed upon as a place of rendez vous, in case the British should cross, and drive the Americans from their extended encampments on the Delaware. This retreat through New Jersey was attended with almost every circum. stance that could occasion embarrassment or depression.Washington was depressed by difficulties on all sides. In casting his eyes around, he could not promise himself ade. quate support from any quarter. His gloomy prospects were not brightened by any expectations, on the fulfilment of which he could depend. Distrusting, but not despairing, he asked colonel Reed, “Should we retreat to the back parts of Pennsylvania, will the Pennsylvanians support us ?– The colonel answered, “ If the lower counties are subdued and give up, the back counties will do the same. Washington nobly replied, “We must retire to Augusta county, in Virginia. Numbers will be obliged to repair to us for safety, and we must try what we can do, in carrying on a predatory war; and, if overpowered, we must cross the Alleghany mountains."

General Washington had no cavalry, except a small corps of badly mounted Connecticut militia, and was almost equal. ly destitute of artillery, while conducting this retreat. It commenced in a few days after the reduction of Fort Washington, in which the flower of the American army were made prisoners of war. A great part of the retreating troops consisted of those who had garrisoned Fort Lee. These had been compelled to abandon their post so suddenly, that they left behind them their tents, blankets, and cooking utensils. In this situation, they retreated, badly armed, worse clad, and in many instances barefooted, in the cold months of November and December, through a desponding country, more disposed to seek safety by submission, than resistance.- Under all these disadvantages, they performed a march of about ninety miles, and had the address to prolong it to a space of nineteen days; that as much time as possible might be gained for expected reinforcements to arrive. As they retreated through the country, scarcely one of the inhabitants Joined them, while numbers daily flocked to the British army,

and took the benefit of a royal proclamation, issued at this critical time, for pardoning all who, within sixty days, would return to the condition of British subjects.

The small force which began this retreat, was daily lessening, by the expiration of the term of service for which they were engaged. This terminated in November with many, and in December with nearly two thirds of the remainder. No persuasions were availing, to induce their continuance. They abandoned their general, when the advancing army were nearly in sight. The Pennsylvania militia were engaged to the first of January, but they deserted in so great numbers, that it became necessary to place guards at the ferries to intercept them. Two regiments had been ordered from Ticonderoga, to join General Washington; but their terni of service expired on the first of December. They refused to re-enlist, and every one of them departed.

General Lee, who commanded the eastern troops, was repeatedly ordered by Washington to cross the North River, and join the retreating army, but these orders were not obeyed. He manifested a strong disposition to maintain his separate command, and rather to hang on and threaten the rear of the enemy, than strengthen the army in their front. With this view, he proposed to establish himself at Morristown; but, on receiving a letter from General Washington, stating his disapprobation of this plan, which, though proper in itself, and under other circumstances, was now totally inadmissible, as the army, without this re-inforcement, was not strong enough to stop the march of the enemy to Philadelphia—and pressing him to come on-he still declared an opinion in favour of his own proposition, and proceeded reluctantly towards the Delaware. While on this march through Morris county, and at a distance of about twenty miles from the enemy, he, very indiscreetly, quartered, under a slight guard, in a house about three miles from his army.--Information of this circumstance was given, by a countryman, to colonel Harcourt, at that time detached, with a body of cavalry, for the purpose of gaining intelligence concerning his movements, who immediately formed and executed the design of seizing him. By a rapid march, this corps of cavalry, very early in the morning, reached the house where the general lodged, who received no intimation of its approach until the house was surrounded, and he found himself a prisoner to colonel




Harcourt, who bore him off in triumph to the British army, where he was for some time treated, not as a prisoner of war, but as a deserter from the British service.

This misfortune made a very serious impression throughout the United States. The confidence, originally placed in general Lee, created by his experience and real talents, had been greatly increased by the success which liad attended him while commanding in the southern department. In addition to this, it was generally believed, that his opinions, during the military operations in New York, had contributed to the adoption of those judicious movements, which had, in a great measure, defeated the plans of the enerfiy, in that quarter. It was also believed, but without any certain knowledge of the fact, that he had opposed the majority in the council of war, which determined to maintain forts Washington and Lee.--Nó officer, except the commander-in-chief, possessed, at that time, so large a portion of the confidence, either of the army, or the country; and his loss was almost universally be wailed, as the greatest calamity that had befallen the American

It was regretted by no person more than by General Washington himself, who highly esteemed his merit as a soldier, and sincerely lamented his captivity, both on account of his personal feelings, and of the public interest. Suspicions, indeed, very generally prevailed, that, despairing of the success of the Americans, he had chosen to abandon their service; and these apprehensions, though unfounded, produced the same mischievous effects on the minds of the people, as if they were realities.

About the same time, congress thought it expedient to leave Philadelphia, and retire to Baltimore.

Under all these trying circumstances, Washington was undismayed. He did not despair of the public safety. With unconquerable firmness, and the most perfect self-possession, he was always the same, and constantly showed himself to his army with a serene and undisturbed countenance. Nothing was omitted by him, that could embarrass the enemy, or animate his army and country. He forcibly pointed out to congress the defective constitution of their army, without cavalry, without artillery and engineers ; and enlarged upon the impolicy of short enlistments, and placing confidence in militia suddenly called out, and frequently changed. He urged these matters with great-warmth; but, to prevent

offence, added, “A character to lose ; an estate to forfeit; the inestimable blessings of liberty at stake; and a life devoted; must be my excuse.'

He also hinted at the propriety of enlarging his powers, so as to enable him to act in cases of urgency, without application to congress; but apologized for this liberty, by declaring, 66 that he felt no lust of power, and wished, with the greatest fervency, for an opportunity of turning his sword into a ploughshare ;” but at the same time adding, that “his feelings, as an officer and a man, had been such as to force him to say, that no person ever had a greater choice of difficulties to contend with than himself.”

In this very dangerous crisis, Washington made every exertion to procure re-inforcements, to supply the place of those who were daily leaving him. He sent generals Mifflin and Armstrong to roase the citizens of Pennsylvania. Colonel Reed was despatched to governor Livingston, to represent to him the necessity of calling out the New Jersey militia. These exertions were in a great measure unavailing, except in and near the city of Philadelphia. Fifteen hundred of the citizens of that metropolis associated together, and marched to the aid of Washington. Though most of these were accustomed to a city life, they slept in tents, barns, and sometimes in the open air, during the cold months of December and January.

On the capture of general Lee, the command of his army devolved on general Sullivan, who, in obedience to the orders formerly given, joined General Washington. About the same time, an addition was made to his force, by the arrival of a part of the northern army. The Americans now amounted to about seven thousand men, though, during the retreat through New Jersey, they were seldom equal to half that number. The two armies were separated from each other by the river Delaware. The British, in the security of conquest, cantoned their troops in Burlington, Bordenton, Trénton, and other towns in New Jersey, in daily expectation of being enabled to cross into Pennsylvania, by means of ice, which is generally formed about that time. On receiving information of their numbers and different cantonments, Washington observed, “Now is the time to clip their wings, when they are so spread." Yielding to his native spirit of enterprise, which had hitherto been repressed, he formed the bold

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design of recrossing the Delaware, and attacking the British posts on its eastern banks.

In the evening of christmas day, he made arrangements for passing over in three divisions, at M Konkey's ferry, at Trenton, and at or near Bordenton. The troops which were to have crossed at the last two places, exerted themselves to pass over, but failed, from the quantity of ice which obstructed their passage. The main body, about two thousand four hundred men, began to cross very early in the evening, but were so retarded by ice, that it was nearly four o'clock in the morning before they were in a condition to form their line of march on the New Jersey side. They were formed into two divisions. One was ordered to proceed on the lower or river road; the other, on the upper or Pennington road.These; having nearly the same distance to march, were ordered, immediately on forcing the outguards, to push directly into Trenton, that they might charge the enemy before they had time to form. Though they marched by different roads, yet they arrived within three minutes of each other.

The outguards of the Hessian troops at Trenton, soon fell back; but kept up a constant retreating fire. Their main body being hard pressed by the Americans, who had already got possession of half their artillery, attempted to file off by a road leading towards Princeton, but were checked by a body of troops thrown in their way.-Finding they were surrounded, they laid down their arms. The number which submitted was twenty-three officers, and eight hundred and eighty-six privates. Between thirty and forty of the Hessians were killed and wounded.

Colonel Rahl was amongst the former, and seven of his officers amongst the latter. Captain Washington, of the Virginia troops, and five or six of the Americans, were wounded, Two were killed, and two or three were frozen to death,

The detachment in Trenton consisted of the regiments of Rahl, Rosberg, and Kniphausen, amounting in the whole to about fifteen hundred men, and a troop of British light horse. All these were killed or captured, except about six hundred, who escaped by the road leading to Bordenton.

The British' had a strong battalion of light infantry al Princeton, and a force yet remaining near the Delaware, su: perior to the American army. Washington, therefore, in tha evening of the same day, thought it most prudent to cross

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