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hundrud men, mostly Germans. Soon after the second summons, General WASHINGTON found ineans to send a billet to Colonel Magaw, requesting him to defend himself until the evening, and he would take measures to bring him off; but the situation of the garrison was tou desperate, and the negotiation had proceeded tuo far to make the attempt.
The conquest of Mount Washington made the evacuation of Fort Lee necessary. Orders were therefore issued to remove the ammunition and stores in it; but before much progress had been made in this
business, Lord Cornwallis crossed the Hudl Nov. 18. son with a number of battalions, with the
intention to enclose the garrison between the Hackensack and North rivers. This movement made a precipitate retreat indispensable, which was happily eftected with little loss of men ; but a greater part of the artillery, stores, and baggage, was left for the enemy.
The loss at Mount Washington was heavy. The regiments captured in it were some of the best troops in the army. The tents, camp-kettles, and stores, lost at this place and at Fort Lee, could not during the campaign be replaced, and for the want of them the men suffered extremely. This loss was unnecessarily sustained. Thosc posts ought, unquestionably, to have been evacuated before General Hcwe was in a
situation to invest them. When the British General · gained possession of the country above those positions,
they became in a great degree useless to the Ameri. cans. This opinion is clearly expressed in the letter of General WASHINGTON to General Green. The errour to be attributed to the Commander in Chief, consisted in submitting the measure of evacuation to the discretion of a subaltern officer, instead of absolutely directing it, in the exercise of powers vested in him. After the disastrous event had taken place, he possessed too much magnanimity to exculpate himself by criminating General Green.
The American force was daily diminished oy the ex piration of the soldiers' term of enlistment, and by the desertion of thie militia.
When General Howe in force crossed into Nov. 29. New Jersey, General WASHINGTON posted
the army under his immediale command, consisting of only three thousand men, along the Hackensack ; but was unable seriously to oppose the enemy in its passage. The country behind him was level; he was without entrenching tools, and without tents; his troops were miserably clothed, and the scason was becoming inclement. The firm mind of General WASHINGTON sunk not under these depressing circumstances. Although no bright prospect presented itself to his contemplation, yet he exerted himself to increase: his effective force, and to make the best disposal of that under his direction. He ordered General Schuyler to send to his aid the troops, belonging to Pennsylvania and Jersey, which had been attached to the Northern army; but their term of service ex. pired before they reached his encanıpinent, and they brought him no effectual support. He ordered General Lee to cross the Hudson, and join him with those of his troops, whose time of service was not expiring; but General Lee loitered upon the East side of the river, and discovered an ardent inclination to retain a separate command in the rear of the enemy. WASHINGTON in repeated messages inforined Lee, that his joining was of absol·-te necessity, that the people of Jersey expected security from the American army; and if disappointed, they would yield no support to a force, that did not protect them; and cautioned him to take his route so high in the country, as to avoid the danger of being intercepted by the enemy. These ore ders General Lee executed in a reluctant and tardy manner, and soon after he entered New-Jersey, carelessly taking his quarters for a night in a house three miles from his force, he was surprised and taken
prisoner by a detachment of British dragoons. General WASHINGTON also renewed his letters to Congress, and to the Executives of the neighbouring States, urging them to bring the whole strength of the militia into the field, to enable him to check the progress of the invading foe. To back these requests, he di. rected General Mifflin to repair to Philadephia, Gene. ral Armstrong to the interiour of Pennsylvania, and Colonel Reed, his Adjutant General, to the distant counties of New Jersey. The known influence of these gentlemen in those places, united to the exertions of the constituted authorities, would, the General hoped, bring a powerful reinforcement to his army All these efforts were for the present time ineffectual.
As General Howe advanced, the American army retreated towards the Delaware. It frequently happened, that the front guard of the British entered one end of a village, as the rear of the Americans quitted the other. Whenever it could be done with safety, General Washington made a stand, to show the sem. blance of an army, and to retard the progress of the enemy. .
At Brunswick, Lord and General Howe, Commissioners, issued a proclamation, commanding all persons in arms against the King, peaceably to return to their homes, and all civil officers to desist from their treaBonable practices; and offering a full pardon to all persons, who should in sixty days appear before appointed officers of the crown, and subscribe a declaration of their submission to royal authority.
This was the most gloomy period of the revoDec. lutionary war. It was the crisis of the st ugglo
of the United States for Independence. The American army, reduced in numbers, deprcssed by de feat, and exhausted by fatigue, naked, barefoot, and destitute of tents, and even of utensils, with which to dress their scanty provisions, was fleeing before a triumphant army, well appointed and abundantly sup
plied. A general spirit of despondency through Nev: Jersey was the consequence of this disastrous state of publick atlairs. No city or town indeed, in its corpo. rale capacity submitted to the British government. A few characters of distinction maintained their political integrity; and nearly a thousand of the militia of the state bravely kept the field in defence of their country. But most of the families of fortune and induence, discovered an inclination to return to their allegiance to the king. Many of the yeomanry claimed the benefits of the Commissioners' proclamation; and the great body of them were too much taken up with the incurity of their families and their property, to make any exertion in the publick cause.
In this worst of times Congress stood unmoved. Their measures exhibited no symptoms of confusion or dismay, the publick danger only roused them to more vigorous exertions, that they might give a firmner tone to the publick mind, and animate the citizens of United America to a inanly defence of their Independence.
Beneath this cioud of adversity, General WASHINGTON shone, perhaps with a brighter lustre, than in the day of his highest prosperity. Not dismayed by all the difficulties which encompassed him, he accommodated his measures to his situation, and still made the good of his country the object of his unwearied pur. suit. Ho ever wore the countenance of composure and confidence ; by his own example inspiring his little band with firmness to struggle with adverse for tune.
As the British advanced upon him, he retreated, and having previously broken down the bridges on the Jer.
sey shore, he crossed the Delaware, and se Dec. 8. cured the boats upon the river for a distance
of seventy miles. The van of the enemy appeared upon the left bank of the Delaware, while the rear of the American army was upon its passage.