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victorious army. Lord Cornwallis pursued to Brunswick, and General Washington retired to Princeton, December 1st. Lord Cornwallis halted one whole week at Brunswick, agreeable to orders from General Howe; and Gen. Washington saw himself abandoned by the Jersey, and Maryland brigades of militia, whose terms had then expired.
On the 7th, his lordship pursued to Princeton, and Gen. Washington retired to Trenton, and the next day his lordship entered Trenton, just at the critical moment that Gen. Washington, with his army, had crossed over the Delaware,* December 8th.
Gen. Washington took the precaution to cause all the boats upon the east side of the Delaware to be removed, which checked the enemy, and prevented his pursuit. Gen. Howe, who had joined Lord Cornwallis at Newark, made a stand at Trenton, and issued the proclamation of the king's commissioners, proffering pardon and peace, to all who should submit in sixty-days. Such was the pressure of distress upon the army, that they fled before a victorious enemy, in a state of despondency, and were reduced almost to a cypher, without pay, without clothes, without supplies, and imprinting the snow with their blood-stained steps. Such was the distress of the country, when they saw their liberties wasting 'away, and about to expire under the pressure of an overwhelming foe, that men of the first distinction, in great numbers, in that part of the country, embraced the overture, and made their submission. · To add to the distresses of this distressing scene, Gen. Lee, who had harassed the rear of the British army, with about three thousand men, was now surprised in his camp, and taken by the enemy; who exulted in this triumph, as having decided the contest, by the capture of the palladium of America. December 13..
* Gen. Washington could muster at this time only 2200 men.
To fill up the measure of this scene, the term of service of the Jersey, and Maryland brigades expired, and they withdrew at the moment, notwithstanding the most pressing solicitations of the general and his officers, as well as their remonstrances against their abandoning the cause of liberty, at such an eventful crisis.
Pending the delay of Lord Cornwallis at Trenton, Gen. Washington, by the assistance of Gen. Miflin, collected a body of militia from Pennsylvania, and at the same time he was joined by the corps of Gen. Lee, then under the command of Gen. Sullivan, all which gave permanence, and support to his army. With this force Gen. Washington resolved to make a stand, and if possible commence offensive operations against the enemy, to recover the spirits of the army, and the nation.
On the night of the 25th of December, Gen. Washing. ton took advantage of a snow-storm ; recrossed the Delaware, and commenced an attack upon the British army, gained a signal victory, took about one thousand prisoners, (amongst whom was an entire regiment of Germans, with their whole encampment,) and took up his position at Trenton. · The enemy soon recovered this shock, by large reinforcements, and Gen. Washington sent off his prisoners into the country, and retired to Princeton, where he again triumphed over the enemy, and pursued them to Bruns. wick. Lord Cornwallis collected all his forces at Brunswick, and made a stand ; Gen. Washington took up his position at Morristown, and watched the motions of the enemy.
During these operations in New Jersey, the British army had thrown up the rein, and given full scope to the brutal passions :: this roused the indignation of the people, and rekindled the fire of Lexington, which spread like lightning through the nation. New Jersey then exhibited
a scene which was considered but the miniature of what the nation would exhibit, should Britain prevail. Husbands saw the fate of their wives, and parents of their daughters; and the nation became more seriously alarmed for their safety, and more immediately alive to the interest of the common cause. New-Jersey became active in the contest, and rose in arms to revenge the wrongs she had suffered from a brutal foe.
Lord Cornwallis having been surprised by Gen. Washington, and driven from Elizabethtown, took up his quarters at Amboy, where he was closely invested through the winter, and the Jersies were generally cleared. · In June following, Gen. Howe took the field in person, with a view to revenge upon Gen. Washington the affair of Trenton. To effect this he attempted to embark his army, and by a sudden movement recalled bis troops and commenced an attack upon a division of the American army, but was repulsed with loss, and compelled to retire, embark his army, and cross over to Staten Island, June 30, *1777.
Thus ended this expedition into New-Jersey; an expedition which had filled the country with alarm, and even despair ; but which ultimately proved one of the great causes of saving the nation.
Pending these operations in New Jersey, Sir William Howe detached Gov. Tryon, with the command of a major general of the Provincials, at the head of about 2000 men, to destroy the American stores at Danbury, (Conn.) Gen. Tryon, supported by Gen. Agnew, and Sir William Erskine embarked his troops at New-York; proceeded up the Sound, under a strong convoy ; landed his troops at Fairfield, April 25th, and on the 26th marched to Danbury, distant 23 miles, where he burnt and destroyed 18 houses, 1800 barrels of beef and pork, 2000 bushels of wheat, &c. 700 barrels of flour, 1700 tents, together with
articles of clothing for a regiment; also 100 hogsheads of rum, and 100 barrels of flour, on their return. When this hero had accomplished the object of the expedition, he took up his march for New-York, on the 27th ; but Generals Wooster and Arnold had collected a small force in the vicinity, and pressed upon their rear with incessant skirmishing, which galled the enemy very severely until they reached Campo, 'where they embarked on board their shipping and returned to New York, with the loss of about 400 men, killed, wounded, and taken.
The Americans lost about forty, killed and wounded; aniongst the former was Doctor Atwater, and amongst the latter was Gen. Wooster, who died of his wounds on the 2d of May.
Congress did houor to his worth by causing a monument to be erected to his memory.
Congress also directed the quarter master general to present Gen. Arnold with a horse, as a mark of respect due to his distinguished services, as well as to replace the horse which was killed under him at the skirmish at Ridgefield.
To revenge this excursion upon the enemy, Colonel Meigs embarked a small body of troops at Guilford, May 23d, and crossed over the Sound to Egg-Harbour, where he took and destroyed twelve brigs and sloops, 100 tons of pressed hay, oats, corn, &c. ten hogsheads of rum, and a great quantity of merchandize, &c. and returned witbout loosing one man, May 25th. Congress ordered an elegant sword to be presented to Colonel Meigs, in honor of his services.
When Congress were fully acquainted with the perilous situation of the American army, at the time they crossed the Delaware, they were roused to a true sense of the desperate situation of the nation, and when they witnessed
the wonderful change which was effected by the victory of Trenton, they became sensible, that under God, Washington must become the saviour of his country ; to enable him to act more promptly, and more effectually, they passed a resolution empowering him-“to collect 16,000 infantry, three thousand horse, three regiments of artillery, and a corps of engineers ; appoint their officers, and establish their pay: to call from all the states such militia as shall become necessary, form such depots of magazines and stores, as he may think proper; to displace all officers under a brigadier, and fill all vacancies; to take whatever he may want for the public service, wherever he may be, paying reasonably therefor; and to confine all who shall refuse the currency; all for the term of six months." Thus in this expedition into New Jersey, God turned the counsels of the enemy into foolishness, and out of weakness brought forth strength.*
Pending these operations, the British General Prescot, with a strong force took possession of Newport, (RhodeIsland,) December 25th, 1776, which will be noticed in its place. · Upon the fall of General Montgomery, General Thomas was sent on to take the command of the army before Quebec, who died with sickness shortly after, and was succeeded by General Sullivan, and the American army suffered every possible distress from the small-pox, and other diseases, until they were reduced to the pitiful number of 400 men, when they raised the siege, and retir
* On the 30th of December, Congress resolved that commissioners be forth with sent to the courts of Vienna, Spain, Russia, and the grand Duke of Tuscany, to invite their co-operation in the war, first by the recall of all the German mercenaries in the British service, and next by making a diversiou upon the British dominions in Germany, and the West-lodies, or in Canada and Novascotia, &c. On the 24th of March following, more than 20,000 stand of arms arrived in America from France, and woollens for clothing, &c. to supply the army.