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The only danger to be guarded against by the Americans at Ty, and the neighbouring posts, is, gen. Carleton's attempting to possess hintself of them, when Lake Champlain shall be frozen over, so as to be capable of bearing horses, which probably will not be till the middle of January. The troops occupying these posts will not tarry longer than the end of the year: before that there is time enough to procure a sufficient force from the Massachuseits, Connecticut and New-Hampshire, to defend them. And if the weeks, between Sir Guy's returning to Canada and the frost's setting in so as to suspend all operations, are duly improved, something considerable may be wrought toward securing the en- . trance into the northern states. During the summer season, a road has been cut through the woods, for some miles, leading to Mount Independence, and communicating with the one leading to Hubbarton, so that the intercourse between that post and the northern states can be carried on by land, without coming. either through Lake George, or by water from Skeensborough. That the road is horridly bad for carriages and horses in many places but not impassable, my own experience convinces me. Teams have travelled them with heavy loads, though not with. out ropes fastend to each side, and nien attending to keep them. from falling over, through the unevenness of the ground. But it is astonishing, that loads of tent-poles should be sent scores of miles to pass through these woods to the American camp, instead of being ordered to cut in the neighbourhood, where there was little other than woodland. By some strange fatality, or folly, the Americans conduct their business in a most expensive way, whereas they ought to exercise the greatest æconomy practicable without injuring the common cause. If the fate of war depends upon the expenditure of money, and the ability of the parties to continue the expences, the United States must be a-ground much sooner than Great-Britain, unless the latter practises and continues an equal degree of extravagance and pro. fusion.
Mr. James Lovell, who has at length recovered his liberty by an exchange, was chosen, ten days ago, by the Massachusetts general court, one of their delegates to congress.
T ET the present letter begin with mentioning, that the repre-to sentatives of the freemen of the state of North-Carolina elected and chosen for that purpose, assembled in Congress at Halia fax, and after a third reading, ratified their form of goverment, with a declaratien of rights prefixed, on the 18th of last December.
When gen. Washington retreated with a handful of men across the Delaware, he trembled for the fate of America, which now thing but the infatuation of the enemy could have saved*. Thoughthey missed the boats with which they expected to follow him in mediately into Pennsylvania, yet Trenton and the neighbourhood could have supplied them with materials, which industry might have soon constructed into sufficient conveniences for the transportation of the troops, over a smooth river, and of no great extent in some places. But they were put into cantonments for the present, forming an extensive chain from Brunswick to the Delaware, and down the banks of the Delaware for several miles, so as tocompose a front at the end of the line, which looked over to Phi. ladelphia. Mr. Mercerau was employed by the American general to gain intelligence, and provided a simple youtht, whose apparent defectiveness in abilities prevented all suspicion, but whose fidelity and attention, with the capacities he possessed, constituted him an excellent spy: he passed from place to place, mixed with the soldiers, and having performed his business, returned with an account where they were cantoned, and in what nuni. bers. Gen. Fermoy was appointed to receive, and communicate the information to the commander in chief: upon the receipt of it, he cried out, “ Now is our time to clip their wings while they are so spread.” But before an attempt could be made with a desirable prospect of success, (Dec. 21.] gen. Washington was almost ready to despair, while he contemplated the probable state of his own troops within the compass of ten days. He could not count upon those whose time expired the first of January : and expected, that as soon as the ice was formed, the enemy would pass the Delaware. He found his numbers on en-, quiry less than he had any conception of; and while he commu. nicated the fact, thus charged his confidant-“For Heaven's sake keep this to yourself, as the discovery of it may prove fatal to us." Col. Reed wrote the next day from Bristol, and proposed to the general the making of a diversion, or something more at or about Trenton, and proceeded to say, “If we could possess ourselves again of New-Jersey, or any considerable part, the effect would be greater than if we had not left it. Allow me to hope you will consult your own good judgment and spirit, and let not the goodness of your heart subject you to the influence of the opinions of men in every respect your inferiors. Something must be at.. tempted before the sixty days expire which the commissioners have allowed; for, however many may affect to despise it, it is evident a very serious attention is paid to it; and I am contident that unless some more favorable appearance attends our arms and cause before that time, a very great number of militia officers here, will follow the example of Jersey, and take benefit from it. Our cause is desperate and hopeless if we do not strike some stroke. Our affairs are hastening space to ruin if we do not retrieve them by some happy event. Delay with us, is near equal to a total defeat. We must not suffer ourselves to be lulled into security and inactivity because the enemy does not cross the ri'ver. The love of my country, a wife (formerly miss De Berdt) and four children in the enemy's hands, the respect and attachment have to you, the ruin and poverty that must attend me and thousands of others, will plead my excuse for so much freedom.” The general on the 23d answered, “Necessity, dire necessity will -nay, must justify any attempt. Prepare, and in concert with Griffin, attack as many posts as you possibly can with a prospectof success. I have now ample testimony of the enemy's intentions to attack Philadelphia, as soon as the ice will afford the means of conveyance. Our men are to be provided with three days provision, ready cooked, with which and their blankets they are to march. One hour before day is the time fixed upon for our attempt upon Trenton. If we are successful, which Heaven grant! and other circumstances favor, we may push on. I shall direct every ferry and ford to be well guarded, and not a soul suffered to pass without an officer's going down with the permit.” .
* The general's words in his own letter.
+ After having been employed fome time in similar services, ibe memy grew suspicious of him, and upon that, without proof, put bine into prison, where he was farved to death.
The origin of the present distress was stated in a letter of the same date, from a member of congress to his friend, in these words, “The causes of our present unhappy situation have long been known; the consequences of them were often foretoid, and the measures execrated by some of the best friends of America; but an obstinate partiality (in the New-England delegates) to the habits and customs of one part of this continent, has predomis
nated in the public councils, and too little attention has been paid to others. It has been my fate to make an ineffectual oppo. sition to all short, enlistments, to colonial appointments of officers, and other measures pregnant with mischiefs; but these things either suited the genius and habits, or squared with the interests of some states that had sufficient influence to prevail; and nothing is now left but to extricate ourselves from difficulties as well as we can.”
Colonel Griffin, unacquainted both with the plan and the time for attacking Trenton, crossed over from Philadelphia into the Jerseys, unknown to general Washington, and being joined with a few of the Jersey militia, proceeded to Mount-Holly, which induced colonel Donop to quit Bordentown; he returned however to his station before the attack upon colonel Rall. The commander in chief would have comprehended in his plan, a diversion for count Donop by general Putnanı; but the latter gave such a representation of the militia, of the confusion that prevailed, and of his apprehensions of an iusurrection in Philadelphia, in case of his absence, that it was laid aside. The question for independency had been carried in Pennsylvania by a great majority ; but that did not lessen the bitterness of those who opposed it, among whom were most of the quakers. These coalesced with the royalists of other denominations, and composed so formidable a party in the city, that it was dangerous, in the present crisis, to withdraw the militia serving in it in the side of the American cause. I
The plan was, to have crossed the Delaware in three divisions, one from the neighborhood of Bristol, which miscarried by a strange inattention to the tide and state of the river, so that it was impossible for the horses and cannoa to land on the Jersey shore, through the heaps of ice cast upon it with the change of the tide
a second at Trenton ferry, under gen. Erwing; but the quantity of ice was so great, that though he did every thing in his power to effect it, he could not get over; and finding it impossible to embark his artillery, he was obliged to desist--the third and principal, was commanded by gen. Washington, assisted by generals Sullivan and Greene, and col. Knox of the artillery. It was meant to attack early on the morning of the 26th, from the supposition that the festivity of the preceding day would make surprise more easy, and conquest more certain. · On the evening of the 25th, gen. Washington orders the troops, which are about 2400, to parade at the back of M'Kenky's ferry, that they may begin to cross as soon as it grows dark; for he · imagines that he shall throw them all over, with the necessary ar
uillery, by twelve o'clock, and arrive at Trenton, nine nuiles below,
by five. The quantity of ice made in the night, impedes the boats, and it is three before the artillery gets over, and near four betore the troups take up their line of march, which makes the general despair of surprising the town, as they cannot reach it before full day-break; but as there is no making a retreat without being discovered and harassed, he determines to push on at all events Colonel Rall has received information of an intended attack, and that the 25th at night is thought to be the time fixed upon. His men are paraded and his picket is looking out for it. " Captain Washington,* commanding a scouting party of about fifty fout soldiers, has been in the Jerseys about three days, without effecting any exploit. He therefore concludes upon marching toward Trenton; advances, and attacks the pickef. He exchanges a few shot, and then retreats. As he is making for the Delaware, on his return to Pennsylvania, he - meets with general Waslıington's troops. [Dec. 26.] Conjec
taring their design, he is distressed with an apprehension that by
the attack he has alarmed the enemy, and put them on their ..guard. The enemy, on the oiher hand, conciude from it, after * a while, that it is all the aitack which is intended; and so retire to their quarters and become secure; many get drunk. General Wasirington forms his detachment into two divisions; one takes
the lower road to Trenton; while the other, with the general, • marches along the upper or Penningtont road. The upper di
vision arrives at the enemy's advanced post exactly at 8 o'clock; and in three minutes after, the fire in the lower road announces the arrival of the other division. When the enemy's pickett discovers, in the grey of the morning, the advance of the general's troops, they suppose it to be only the scouting party returned. The out guards make but a small opposition; though thcy behave well for their number, keeping up a constant retreating · fire behind houses. The main body fornis; the Americans
press the men hard, and soon get possession of half their artillery. Finding, from the position of their enemy, that they are surrounded, and must inevitably be cut to pieces if they make any further resistance, they agree to lay down their armis, to the number of 23 officers and 886 men. . General Greene and col. Knox (elected by ballot, a brigadier the next day, before the news had reached congress) would have
.* Since colonel of horse.
+ lu the maps it is put down Penningion : but the Jersey inhabitants in common, would not know the place meant, unless you called it Penny-town.
I What relates to the attack upon the picket, &c. was confirmeiro me, August 11, 1785, at New York, by the Rev. Mr. Van Ardelea, who bad the story from thc Hillian officer commanding the picket. VOL. II.