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ing strength from the disaffected. This strength, liko a snowball by rolling, will increase, unless some means can be devised to check, effectually, the progress of the enemy's arms: militia may possibly do it for a little while ; but in a little while also, the militia of these states, which have frequently been called upon, will not turn out at call; or if they do, it will be with so much reluctance and sloth, as to amount to the saine thing : instance New-Jersey! witness Pennsylvania' could any thing but the river Delaware have saved Philadelphia ? could any thing (the exigency of the case indeed may justify it) be more destructive to the recruiting service, than giving ten dollars boun ty, for six weeks' service of the militia, who come in, you cannot tell how, go, you cannot tell when, and act, you cannot tell where-consume your provisions, exhaust your stores, and leave you at last, at a critical inoment. These are the men I am to depend upon ton days hence. This is the basis on which your cause will, and must for ever depend, till you get a large standing army, sufficient of itself to oppose the enemy."

With deference he suggested to Congress the expe diency of enlarging his own powers, that he might execute important measures, without consulting with them, and possibly, by the delay, missing the favourable moment of action. “ It may be said,” he observed, " that this is an application for powers that are too dangerous to be entrusted. I can only add, that despe rate diseases require desperate- remedies, and with truth declare, that I have no lust after power, but wish with as much fervency as any man upon the wide extended continent, for an opportunity of turning the oword into a ploughshare. But my feelings as an officer and a man, have been such as to force me to say, that no person ever had a greater choice of difficulties to contend with than I have.” Having recommended Bundry other measures, and mentioned several ar


rangements which he had adopted beyond the spirit of liis commission, he concluded with the following observations.

- It may be thought that I am going a good deal out of the line of my duty to adopt these measures, or to advise thus freely. A character to lose, an estate to forfeit, the inestimable blessings of liberty at stake and a life devoted, must be my apology." These weighty representations were not fruitless.

Congress, by a resolution, invested their Dec. 27. General with almost unlimited powers to

manage the war. The united exertions of civil and military officers had by this time brought a considerable body of militia into the field. General Sullivan too, on whom the command of General Leo's division devolved upon his capture, promptly obeyed the orders of the Commander in Chief, and at this period joined him ; and General Heath was marching a detachment from Peck’s Kill. The army, with these reinforcements, amounted to seven thousand men, and General Wash INGTON determined to recommence active operations.

General Maxwell had already been sent into NewJersey, to take the command of three regiments of regular forces, and about eight hundred of the militia. His orders were to give the inhabitants all possible support, and to prevent the disaffected from going into the British lines to make their submission, to harass the marches of the enemy, and to give early intelli gence of their movements, particularly of those to wards Princeton and Trenton.

These moasures were preparatory to more erter prising and bold operations. General WASHINGTON had noticed the loose and uncovered state of the winter quarters of the British army; and he contemplated

vation of Philadelphia, and the recovery of New-Jersey, by sweeping, at one stroke, all the Britista

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that way

cantonments upon the Delaware. The present posi tion of his forces favoured the execution of his plan.

The troops under the immediate command of Gene ral Washington, consisting of about two thousand and four hundred men, were ordered to cross the river at M’Konkey's ferry, nine miles above Trenton, to attack that post. General Irvine was directed to cross with his division at Trenton ferry, to secure the bridge below the town, and prevent the retreat of the enemy

General Cadwallader received orders to pass the river at Bristol ferry, and assault the post at Burlington. The night of the twenty-fifth was assigned for the execution of this daring scheme. It proved to be severely cold, and so much ice was made in the river, that General Irvine and General Cadwallader, after having strenuously exerted themselves, found it impracticable to pass their divisions, and their part of the plan totally failed.

The Commander in Chief was more fortunate. With difficulty he crossed the river, but was delayed in point of time. He expected to have reached Trenton at the dawn of day, and it was three o'clock in the morning before he had passed the troops and artillery over the river, and four before he commenced his line of march. Being now distant nine miles from the British encampment, the attempt tɔ surprise it was given up. He formed his little army into two divisions, one of which was directed to proceed by the river road into the west end of Trenton, and the cther by the Pennington road which leads into the north end of the town. The distance being equal, the General supposed that each division would arrive at the scene of action about the same time; and therefore he ordered each to attack the moment of its arrival, and driving in the piquet guard, to press after it into the town. The General accompanying the division . on the Pennington road, reached the outpost of the

enemy precisely at eight o'clock, and in three minutes after, had the satisfaction to hear the firing of his men on the other road.

T'he brave Colonel Rawle, the commanding officer, paraded his forces for the defence of his post. He was by the first fire mortally wounded, and his men in apparent dismay, attempted to file off towards Prince. ton. General Washington perceiving their intention, moved a part of his troops into this road in their front, and defeated the design. Their artıllery being seized, and the Americans pressing upon them, they surrendered. Twenty of the Germans were killed, and one thousand made prisoners. By the failure of General Irvina, a small body of the enemy stationed in the lowei part of the town escaped over the bridge to Bor. denton. Of the American troops, two privates were killed, and two frozen to death, one officer and three or four privates were wounded.

Could the other divisions have crossed the Delaware, General Washington's plan in its full extent would probably have succeeded. Not thinking it pru. dent to hazard the fruits of this gallant stroke by more daring attempts, the General the same day, recrossed the Delaware with his prisoners, with six pieces of ar. tillery, a thousand stand of arms, and some military stores.

General Howe was astonished at this display of en terprise and vigour. He found the American Com. mander, a formidable enemy under circumstances of the greatest depression, and although in the depth of winter, determined to recommence active ope. rations. In pursuance of this resolution, he called in his outposts and assembled a powerful force at Princeton.

Having allowed his men two or three days' rest, General Washington again passed into New-Jersey, and concentrated his forces, amounting to five thoucand, at Trenton. He pushed a small detachment to


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Maidenhead, about half way between Trenton and Princeton, to watch the movement of the enemy, and delay their march, should they advance upon him

On the next morning, Lord Cornwallis moved JAN. 2, towards the American General with a supe1777.

riour force, and reached Trenton at foui o'clock of the afternoon. General Washington drew up his men behind Assumpinck creek, which runs through the town. A cannonade was opened on both sides. His Lordship attempted at several places to cross the creek ; but finding the passes guarded, he halted his troops, and kindled his fires.

Early in the evening General Washington assembled his officers in Council, and stated to them the critical situation of the army. " In the morning,” he observed,“ we certainly shall be attacked by a superiour force, defeat must operate our absolute destruc tion, a retreat across the Delaware is extremely hazardous, if practicable, on account of the ice. In either case, the advantages of our late success will be sacrificed. New-Jersey must again be resigned to the enemy, and a train of depressing and disastrous con sequences will ensue." He then proposed to their consideration the expediency of the following measure. “ Shall we silently quit our present position, by a circuitous route, gain the rear of the enemy at Princeton, and there avail ourselves of favourable circumstances ? By this measure we shall avoid the appearance of a retreat, we shall assume the aspect of vigorous operation, inspirit the publick mind, and subserve the intorests of our country.”

The plan was unanimously approved, and measures were instantly adopted for its execution ; the baggage was silently removed to Burlington; the fires were renewed, and ordered to be kept up through the night · guards were posted at the bridge and fords of the creek, and directed to go the usual rounds. At one o clock at night, the army moved upon the left flank

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