« ZurückWeiter »
RETREAT THROUGH THE JERSEYS.
223 Washington was compelled to retreat. He withdrew in good order, and occupied an advantageous post behind the river Croton.
Howe, finding himself unable to bring on a general action, relinquished the
pursuit, and employed his troops in reducing and taking possession of Forts Washington and Lee, the first on the island of New York, not far from King's Bridge; and the other on the Jersey side of North River, nearly opposite the former. This he accomplished in November; and the Americans were thus driven, with considerable loss, from New York island, and from the Jersey bank of the North River.
On the fall of Forts Washington and Lee, General Washington with his little army consisting of about 3,000 men, ill armed, worse clad, and almost without tents, blankets, or utensils for cooking their provisions, commenced a disastrous retreat through the Jerseys. He first retired behind the Hackensack ; thence to Newark, and thence to Brunswick. While there, the term of service of many of his troops expired, and he had the mortification to see them abandon him. From Brunswick he retreated to Trenton; and there received a reinforcement of about 2,000 men from Pennsylvania. He now collected and guarded all the boats on the Delaware, and sent his sick and wounded, and his heavy artillery and baggage across the Delaware. After remaining at Trenton some time, and even advancing towards Princeton, he leart that Earl Cornwallis, strongly reinforced, was marching against him;
8th of December, he passed the Delaware at Trenton ferry, the van of the British army appearing, just as his rear-guard had crossed.
While retreating through the Jerseys, Washington had earnestly desired General Lee, who had been left in command of the division of the army at North Castle, to hasten his march to the Delaware and join the main army. But for reasons of his own, Lee was in no haste to obey, and by his carelessness in getting separated from the main body of his troops he was actually made prisoner, and put in close confinement by the English. General Sullivan, who succeeded in the command, immediately joined Washington, and thus
What was the result of the battle of What happened at Brunswick ?
Where did Washington cross the How did General Howe employ his Delaware? troops ?
What is said of General Lee ? In what condition was the American of General Sullivan?
army now compelled to retreat through the Jerseys ?
WASHINGTON APPOINTED DICTATOR. increased his foree to nearly 7,000. Still his men were daily eaving him, and of those who remained, the greater part were raw troops, ill provided, and all of them dispirited by defeat.
General Howe, with an army of 27,000 men, completely armed and disciplined, well provided, and flushed with success, lay on the opposite side of the Delaware, stretchiug his encampments from Brunswick to the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, and was expected to cross as soon as the river should be frozen over.
To the Americans this was the most gloomy period of the contest; and their affairs appeared in a very hopeless condition. To deepen the gloom of this period, so alarming to all true patriots, an expedition, under Clinton and Sir Peter Parker, was sent to Rhode Island and took possession of it, without resistance, on the very day that Washington crossed the Delaware.
On the 12th of December congress quitted Philadelphia, and retired to Baltimore. On the 20th they conferred on General Washington full and ample power to raise forces and appoint officers; to apply to any of the states for the aid of their militia ; to form magazines of provisions at his pleasure ; to displace all officers under the rank of brigadier general, and fill the vacancies thus created by officers of his own choice; to take for the use of the army whatever he might want, if the inhabitants would not sell it, allowing a reasonable price for the same; and to arrest and confine all persons who should refuse to take the continental
currency. These have been truly denominated dictatorial, were vested in the commander in chief for six months, unless sooner determined by congress.
The conferring of such ample powers on Washington is at once an evidence of the desperate condition of public affairs at this time, and of the perfect confidence reposed in him by his countrymen.
Howe, who was well aware of the dispirited state of the colonists generally, now put forth a proclamation offering pardons to all who would desert the American cause. Many men of property, who were desirous of saving it from confiscation, embraced the offer; and a few timid spirits among other classes of society followed their example ; among the rest, to
Of General Howe and his army? What powers did congress confer on of the Americans and their condi- General Washington ? tion?
What was done by General Howe? What island was taken by the British ? | What was the effect of his proclama Whither did congress retire?
BATTLE OF TRENTON.
Battle of Trenton. their eternal disgrace, two who had been members of congress, Galloway and Allen.
Still in this alarming posture of affairs, when an enemy near 30,000 strong was separated only by a river, expected every day to freeze, from the main army of the republic consisting of about one-fifth that number, the American leaders maintained an erect posture, and their noble commander in chief dared to meditate an assault on the lately victorious British.
He perceived the security of Howe, and the advantage which the scattered cantonment of his troops presented to the American arms. • Now,' exclaimed he, on being informied of the widely dispersed state of the British troops, now is the time to clip their wings, when they are so spread ;' and, accordingly resolving to give them an unexpected blow, he planned an attack on the Hessians at Trenton.
On the evening of the 25th of December, he crossed the Delaware, marched all night, attacked the Hessians, who had not the slightest intelligence of his approach, and routed them with great slaughter. Colonel Rawle, who commanded the royalists in that quarter, did every thing which could be expected from a brave and experienced officer ; but the attack was sudden and impetuous; and it was directed by Washington himself. The Hessians gave way on all sides; their artillery was seized, and one thousand of their best troops remained prisoners of war. Washington recrossed to his camp with the loss of but nine of his men.
Some of the colonial reinforcements having now arrived
What were the condition and force of What remark did he make ? the two armies !
Describe the battle of Trentop What did Washington design? What was its result?
BATTLE OF PRINCETON.
the provincial army was not only increased in numbers, but improved in courage and zeal. Emboldened by his success, Washington resolved to leave Philadelphia, and make another attempt against the British forces. At the beginning of the year, he again crossed the Delaware, and marched to Trenton.
An alarm had already been spread through the British army by the late success and increased force of Washington's army. A strong detachment, under General Grant, marched to Princeton; and Earl Cornwallis, who was on the point of sailing for England, was ordered to leave New York, and resume his command in the Jerseys.
On joining General Grant, Lord Cornwallis immediately marched against Trenton, where Washington was encamped at the head of about 5,000 men. On his approach,* Washington crossed a rivulet, named the Assumpinck, and took post on some high ground, with the rivulet in his front. On the advance of the British army, on the afternoon of the 2d of January, 1777, a smart cannonade ensued, and continued till night, Lord Cornwallis intending to renew the attack next morning ; but, soon after midnight, General Washington silently decamped, leaving his fires burning, his sentinels advanced, and small parties to guard the fords of the rivulet, and, by a circuitous route through Allentown, proceeded towards Princeton.
About half way between Trenton and Princeton the Americans encountered three regiments, under Colonel Mawhood, who were advancing to join Cornwallis. A battle ensued, in which the British were worsted, and most of them compelled to retreat towards Brunswick. Washington pressed on towards Princeton, where one regiment had been left, and succeeded in taking 300 of them prisoners. The rest escaped by a precipitate flight. The British lost about 100 men in this affair; the Americans less. But they had to regret the loss of one of their bravest and most valuable officers, General Mercer. In this action James Monroe was wounded, who subsequently became president of the republic.
Washington was still pressed by Cornwallis with a vastly superior force. He retreated towards Morristown, and, on What was Washington's next move- On the night succeeding? ment?
On the way to Princeton ?
What distinguished officer
wounded ? What took place sanuary 28, 1777 ? Whither did Washington retreat ? :
WASHINGTON RECONQUERS THE JERSEYS.
crossing Millstone river, broke down the bridge at Kingston, to impede the progress of the British ; and there the pursuit ended.
Both armies were completely worn out, the one being as unable to pursue as the other was to retreat. Washington took a position at Morristown, and Lord Cornwallis reached Brunswick, where all was alarm and confusion, in consequence of the battle of Princeton, and the expected approach of the Americans.
At Morristown, Washington now fixed his head quarters. This place is situated among hills of difficult access, with a fine country on the rear, from which he could easily draw supplies ; and he might retire across the Delaware, if necessary. Giving his troops little repose, he overran both East and West Jersey, and even made himself master of the coast opposite Staten Island. With a greatly inferior army, by judicious movements, he wrested from the British almost all their conquests in the Jerseys. Brunswick and Amboy were the only posts which remained in their hands, and even in these they were not a little harassed and straitened. The American detachments were in a state of unwearied activity, frequently surprising and cutting off the British advanced guards, keeping them in continual alarm and melting down their numbers by a desultory and indecisive warfare. It was by the operations of this campaign that Washington gained for himself among European tacticians the name of the American Fabius. By judiciously delaying the decisive action, he conquered a greatly superior force of the enemy.
Thus terminated the campaign of 1776, not altogether unfavourably to the American interest. The whole country south of the Jerseys was entirely freed from the British troops. Rhode Island, indeed, was wholly in their possession ; and so was the city of New York; and while they kept their position in the latter place, they were so nearly in a state of siege that their situation was scarcely more comfortable than that of General Gage and his army had been in Boston during the preceding winter.
Meantime the people throughout the colonies, who had watched, with breathless and terrible anticipation, the unfor
What was the state of both armies?
What name did he gain by his opera
tions in this campaign? What was the state of affairs at the
termination of the campaign of 1776?