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persuaded the commander in chief to have pushed on and im. proved the alarm given to the enemy, to which he was inclined; but the generality of the officers were against it, and his excellency did not then think he could answer going contrary to the judgment of a majority of a council of war. He has since regretted his not seizing the golden opportunity.
Seven of the enemy's officers were wounded, beside col. Rall mortally. There were about thirty others killed and wounded. The regiments of Rall, Lossberg and Knyphauseii, were obliged to surrender. The light-horse, chasseurs, a number of privates, with a few officers, in all to the amount of about 600, escaped by the road leading to Bordentown. The Americans lost about two men; beside two or three frozen to death. Captain Washington, who assisted in securing the artillery, was wounded in both hands. The Americans took in all, 918 prisoners; as many muskets, bayonets and cartouch boxes; 12 drums and 4 colours-an ample compensation for all the sufferings of the preceding night, though they were not trifling. The weather was sleety, snowy and intensely cold, and the road slippery. A more disagreeable, severe, wintry night, is seldom to be met with, even in America. , - In the evening gen. Washington repassed the Delaware, carrying with him the prisoners, their artillery and colours and elevated hopes that this successful attack would draw after it a train of the most beneficial and important consequences. It has excited not less astonishment in the British and auxiliary quarters, than it has done joy in those of the Americans. The Hessians will be no longer terrible; and the spirits of the Americans will rise amazingly. But before this happened, a small party in the neighborhood of Quaker-town had flown to arms, with a resolution not to lay them down more, while they had enemies near them; being provoked to it by the insufferable behavior of some British light-horsemen.
Though gen. Cadwallader did not pass over the Delaware at the time intended, yet the day after the surprise (Dec. 27.] he crossed about two miles above Bristol, with 1500 men, imagining that gen. Washington was still on that side. Receiving intelli gence that the enemy had left Mount Holly, he determined upon proceeding to Burlington (even after learning that the successful troops had re-crossed) and upon marching the next day to Bordentown; which was accordingly done, the enemy going off in the utmost confusion on the alarm of his approach. The day he crossed, 500 men were sent from Philadelphia, who passed over to Burlington on the morning of the 28th; in the evening gen. Mifflin sent over 300 more, and soon followed with a further
reinforcement of some hundreds, designing to join çen. Cadwallader as soon as possible. Pennsylvani. was now roused, and coming in great numbers to the aid of the cominander in chief. On the last mentioned day, gen. Greene crossed atresi: into the Jerseys with 300 militia.. The time for which many of the militia were to serve, was just expiring. In order to prevail with them to continue, they were harangued. Their pride was addressed. They were told that if they withdrew, it would be charged upon them that they were afraid.. Application was artfully made to every passion; and not altogether in vain. . • [Dec. 29.) General Washington reached Trenton with about 1800 continentals. Twelve kundred of them were released from their enlistment the first of January. Attentpis were made to engage them to continue a month or six wecks longer. Ten dollar's extra pay was offered; they took the bounty, and near ene hulf went off in a few days after, before the critical moment arrived. It was soon debated whether to order up the Pennsylvania nilitia from Bordentown, Mount Holly, and elsewhere, to join general Washington. Gen. Knox had prepared Dr. Rush, a member of congress, to assist in cffecting the scheme. He was asked in to give his opinion, and declared in favor of ordering them up, which was then done, Jan. 1, 1777.] The junction of the militia with the continentals (making in the whole about 5000 men) emboldened the latter to remain in their position after hearing that the enemy was advancing toward them. The aların which had been given, induced the British and auxiliary troops to assemble; and general Grant, with the forces at Brunswick and in that quarter, marched spec. dily for Princeton. Lord Cornwallis was goue to New-York in his way to Great Britain; but upon this unexpected turn of af. fairs, concluded upon deferring his voyage, and returning to the defence of the Jerseys. He pressed on with the greatest expe. dition ; left the fourth brigade, consisting of the 70th, 40th, and 55th regiments, under the command of lieut. col. Mawhood, at Princeton, and the second brigade, under general Leslie, at Maidenhead, and joined the main body by the time they got near Trenton.
Gen. Greene is seat out with a considerable detachment to sup. port a party stationed about a mile off, and to check the mach of the enemy; but finds them advancing in such force and so expeditiously, that he is at some difficulty in making a good retreat with the whole of the Americans. Mean while general Washington makes a disposition for an action ; which, as the enemy do not come on directiy, is afterward varied to preveoi their getting in on the American rear. The bridge over Sanpink Creek, is
well secured; but can be of little advantage, as the stream is * fordable in many places. The American arnıy has between. thirty and forty pieces of artillery in front, facing the creek' The fate of the continent seems suspended by a single thread ; ; and the independence of America to hang on the issue of a bato , tle which appears inevitable; and in which the most sanguine son of liberty can scarce flatter himself with the hope of a victo. tory, the enemy being so superior in numbers and discipline. A defeat must be totally ruinous, from the nature of the ground. , which the Americans occupy.
Sir William Erskine, according to report, advises lord Corn. wallis to an immediate attack, saying, “Otherwise Washington, if any general, will make a move to the left of your army: if your lordship does not attack, throw a large body of troops on the road to your left.” The attack is put off till the morning; his ... lordship might act upon what is said to be a military principle, : that the strongest army ought not to attack toward night. Mean while gen. Washington calls a council of war. It is known that they are to be attacked the next day, by the whole collected force of the enemy. The matter of debate is, “ Shall we march dowa on the Jersey side, and cross the Delaware over against Phila delphia, or shall we fight?” Both are thought to be too hazard-, ous. On this gen. Washington says, “What think you of a circuitous march to Princeton ?” It is approved, and concluded up a on. Providence favors the manæuvre. The weather having been . for two days warm, noist and foggy, the ground is become quite » soft, and the roads to be passed so deep that it will be extremely difficult, if practicable, to get on with the cattle, carriages and artillery. But while the council is sitting, the wind suddenly changes to the north-west, and it freezes so hard that by the time the troops are ready to move, they pass on as though.. upon a solid pavement. Such freezings, frequently happen in the depth of winter, upon the wind's coming suddenly about to the north-west. This sudden change of weather gives a plausi. ble pretext for that line of fires which gen. Washington causes to be kindled soon after dark, in the front of his army; and by which he conceals himself froin the notice of the enemy, and induces them to believe he is still upon the ground, waiting for them till morning. The stratagem is rendered the more complete by an order given to the men who are entrusted with the business, to keep up the fires in full blaze, till break of day. While the fires are burning, the baggage and three pieces of Ordnance are sent off to Burlington for security, and with the design, that if the enemy follow it, the Americans may take advantage of their so doing. The troops march about one o'clocking
with great silence and order, and crossing Sanpink Creck, proceed toward and arrive near Princeton a little before day-break. The three British regiments are marching down to Trenton on another road, about a quarter of a mile distant. The centre of the Americans, consisting of the Philadelphia militia, under gen. Mercer, 'advances to attack them. Col. Mawhood considers it only as a flying party attempting to interrupt his march, and approaches with his 17th regiment so near before he fires, that the colour of their buttons is discerned. He repulses the assailants with great spirit, and they give way in confusion ; officers and men seem siezed with a panic, which spreads fast, and indicates an approaching defeat. Gen. Washington perceives the disorder, and penetrates the fatal consequence of being vanquished. The present monient requires an exertion to ward off the danger, however hazardous to his own person. He advances instantly ; encourages his troops to make a stand ; places himself between them and the British, distant from each other about thirty yards; reins his horse's head toward the front of the enemy; and boliy faces them while they discharge their pieces; their fire is immediately returned by the Americans, without their adverting to the position of the general, who is providentially preserved from being injured either by toe or friend. The scale is turned, and col. Mawhood soon finds that he is attacked on all sides by a superior force; and that he is cut off from the rest of the brigade. He discovers also, by the continued distant firing, that the fifty-fifth is not in better circumstances. His regiment having usçd their bayonets with too much severity on the party put to fight by them in the beginning, now pay for it in proportion ; near sixty are killed upon the spot, beside the wounded. But the colonel and a number force their way through, and pursue the march to Maidenhead. The tifty-fifth regiment being hard pressed, and finding it impossible to continue iis march, makes good its retreat, and returns, by the way of Hillsborough, tu Brunswick. The fortieth is but little engaged; those of the men who escape, retire by another road to the same place.
It was proposed to make a forced march to Brunswick, where was the baggage of the whole British army, and gen. Lee; but the men liaving been without either rest, rum or provisions, for two days and two nights, were unequal to the task. It was then debated whether to file off to Cranberry, in order to cross the Delaware and secure Philadelphia. Gen. Knox urged their marching to Morristow!), and informed the commander in chief, that when he passed through that part of the country, he observed that it was a good position. ile also remarked, that they should be upon tác fink of the enemy, and might easily change
their situation, if requisite. By his earnest importunity he pres vailcd, and the measure was adopted. Gen. Greene was with the inain body, which was advanced; and had put it into the Morristown road, without having been first acquainted with the determination. Just as that was concluded upon, the enemy were firing upon the rear of the Americans. Lord Cornwallis had been waked by the sound of the American cannon at Princeton;and finding himself out generaled, and apprehensive for his stores and baggage, had posted back with the utmost expedition.The army under general Washington marched on to Pluckemin. in their way to Morristown, pulling up the bridges as they proceeded, thereby to incommode the enemy and secure themselves. Dy the time they got there, the men were so excessive. ly fatigued, that a fresh and resolute body of five hundred might have deinolished the whole. Numbers lay down in the woods and fell asleep, without regarding the coldness of the weather.' The royal army were still under such alarining impressions, that it continued its march from Trenton to Brunswick, thirty miles, without halting, longer at least than was necessary to make the bridges over Stony-Brook and Millsione passable. . • Gen. Howe admits that the loss in this affair, was 17 killed, and nearly 200 wounded and missing. But the Americans say, they have taken near 300 prisoners, of whom 14. are officers, all British. Capt. Leslie, the son of the carl of Leven, who was killed in the engagement, was buried by the Americans with the honors of war, not only as a British officer, but in testimony of respect to his lordship's worth. The American officers commended the bravery of the troops under colonel Mawhood; oné of the generals, observing how they fought, exclaimed, “When will our men fight like those fellows !" General Mercer met with hard usage, being bayoneted in three places, of which wounds he is since dead. He was a deserving character, and merited different treatment. Some may pronounce the treatment that captain Philips, of the thirty-fifth grenadiers, has inet with, much baser ; but not when they have the case properly represented. The captain, as he was returning from New York, to join his company, was surprised between Brunswick and Princeton, by a party of militia, who threatened him in case he attempted to escape; regardless of the threat, he clapped spurš to his horse and pushed forward, on which they fired and killed him. General Gates, who is married to the captain's sister, blames the captain more than the men.
The eagerness of the royal army to reach and secure Brups. wick, occasioned their marching through Princeton with such expedition as to divert their attention from either carrying off