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his opinion differed from mine, it was unhappily delayed too long, to my great grief."

The correspondence of Washington with his brother, is full of gloomy anticipations. "In ten days from this date, there will not be above two thousand men, if that number, of the fixed established regiments on this side of Hudson River, to oppose Howe's whole army; and very little more on the other, to secure the eastern colonies, and the important passes leading through the Highlands to Albany, and the country about the lakes. In short, it is impossible for me, in the compass of a letter, to give you any idea of our situation, of my difficulties, and of the constant perplexities I meet with, derived from the unhappy policy of short enlistments, and delaying them too long. Last fall, or winter, before the army, which was then to be raised, was set about, I represented in clear and explicit terms the evils which would arise from short enlistments, the expense which must attend the raising an army every year, and the futility of such an army when raised; and if I had spoken with a prophetic spirit, I could not have foretold the evils with more accuracy than I did. All the year since, I have been pressing Congress to delay no time in engaging men upon such terms as would insure success, telling them that the longer it was delayed, the more difficult it would prove. But the measure was not commenced until it was too late to be effected.*** I am wearied almost to death with the retrogade motion of things; and I solemnly protest, that a pecuniary reward of twenty thousand pounds a year would not induce me to undergo what I do, and, after all, perhaps to lose my character; as it is impossible, under such a variety of distressing circumstances, to conduct matters agreeably to public expectation."





The Enemy cross the Hudson Retreat of the Garrison from Fort Lee The Crossing of the Hackensack Lee ordered to move to the West Side of the River Reed's letter to him - Second move of the Army beyond the Passaic Assistance sought from various quarters - Correspondences and Schemes of Lee Heath stanch to his Instructions Anxiety of George Clinton for the safety of the Hudson Critical situation of the Army - Disparaging Correspondence between Lee and Reed Washington retreats across the Raritan Arrives at Trenton - Removes his baggage across the Delaware Dismay and Despondency of the Country Proclamation of Lord Howe Exultation of the Enemy Washington's resolve in case of extremity.

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WITH the capture of Fort Washington, the project of obstructing the navigation of the Hudson, at that point, was at an end. Fort Lee, consequently, became useless, and Washington ordered all the ammunition and stores to be removed, preparatory to its abandonment. This was effected with the whole of the ammunition, and a part of the stores, and every exertion was making to hurry off the remainder, when, early in the morning of the 20th, intelligence was brought that the enemy, with two hundred boats, had crossed the river and landed a few miles above. General Greene immediately ordered the garrison under arms, sent out troops to hold the enemy in check, and sent off an express to Washington, at Hackensack.

The enemy had crossed the Hudson, on a very rainy night, in two divisions; one diagonally upward from King's Bridge, landing on the west side, about eight o'clock; the other marched up the east bank, three or four miles, and then crossed to the opposite shore. The whole corps, six thousand strong, and under the command of Lord Cornwallis, were landed, with their cannon, by ten o'clock, at a place called Closter Dock, five or six miles above Fort Lee, and under that line of lofty and perpendicular cliffs known as the Palisades. "The seamen," says Sir William Howe, "distinguished them

selves remarkably on this occasion, by their readiness to drag the cannon up a very narrow road, for nearly half a mile, to the top of a precipice, which bounds the shore for some miles on the west side."*

Washington arrived at the fort in three quarters of an hour. Being told that the enemy were extending themselves across the country, he at once saw that they intended to form a line from the Hudson to the Hackensack, and hem the whole garrison in between the tworivers. Nothing would save it but a prompt retreat to secure the bridge over the Hackensack. No time was to be lost. The troops sent out to check the enemy were recalled. The retreat commenced in all haste. There was a want of horses and waggons; a great quantity of baggage, stores and provisions, therefore, was abandoned. So was all the artillery excepting two twelvepounders. Even the tents were left standing, and campkettles on the fire. With all their speed they did not reach the Hackensack River before the vanguard of the enemy was close upon them. Expecting a brush, the greater part hurried over the bridge, others crossed at the ferry, and some higher up. The enemy, however, did not dispute the passage of the river; but Cornwallis stated in his despatches, that, had not the Americans been apprised of his approach, he would have surrounded them at the fort. Some of his troops that night occupied the tents they had abandoned.

From Hackensack Colonel Grayson, one of Washington's aide-de-camps, wrote instantly, by his orders, to General Lee; informing him that the enemy had crossed into the Jerseys, and, as was reported, in great numbers.

* Some writers have stated that Cornwallis crossed on the 18th. They have been misled by a letter of Sir William Howe, which gives that date. Lord Howe, in a letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty, gives the date we have stated (the 20th), which is the true one.




"His Excellency," adds Grayson, "thinks it would be advisable in you to remove the troops under your command on this side of the North River, and there wait for further commands."

Washington himself wrote to Lee on the following day (Nov. 21st). "I am of opinion," said he, "and the gentlemen about me concur in it, that the public interest requires your coming over to this side of the Hudson with the Continental troops. ** ** The enemy is evidently changing the seat of war to this side of the North River, and the inhabitants of this country will expect the Continental army to give them what support they can; and failing in that, they will cease to depend upon, or support a force from which no protection is to be derived. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance, that at least an appearance of force should be made, to keep this province in connection with the others."

In this moment of hurry and agitation, Colonel Reed, also, Washington's fidus Achates, wrote to Lee, but in a tone and spirit that may surprise the reader, knowing the devotion he had hitherto manifested for the commander-in-chief. After expressing the common wish that Lee should be at the principal scene of action, he adds: "I do not mean to flatter or praise you, at the expense of any other; but I do think it is entirely owing to you, that this army, and the liberties of America, so far as they are dependent on it, are not entirely cut off. You have decision, a quality often wanting in minds otherwise valuable, and I ascribe to this our escape from York Island, King's Bridge, and the Plains; and I have no doubt, had you been here, the garrison of Mount Washington would now have composed a part of this army; and from all these circumstances, I confess, I do

ardently wish to see you removed from a place where there will be so little call for your judgment and experience, to the place where they are likely to be so necessary. Nor am I singular in my opinion; every gentleman of the family, the officers and soldiers generally, have a confidence in you. The enemy constantly inquire where you are, and seem to be less confident when you are present."

Then alluding to the late affair at Fort Washington, he continues: "General Washington's own judgment seconded by representations from us, would, I believe, have saved the men, and their arms; but, unluckily, General Greene's judgment was contrary. This kept the general's mind in a state of suspense, till the stroke was struck. Oh, general! An indecisive mind is one of the greatest misfortunes that can befall an army; how often have I lamented it this campaign. All circumstances considered, we are in a very awful and alarming situation; one that requires the utmost wisdom, and firmness of mind. As soon as the season will admit, I think yourself and some others, should go to Congress, and form the plan of the new army. **** I must conclude, with my clear and explicit opinion, that your presence is of the last importance.”*

Well might Washington apprehend that his character and conduct, in the perplexities in which he was placed, would be liable to be misunderstood by the public, when the friend of his bosom could so misjudge him.

Reed had evidently been dazzled by the daring spirit and unscrupulous policy of Lee, who, in carrying out his measures, heeded but little the counsels of others, or even the orders of government; Washington's respect for both, and the caution with which he hesitated in adopt

* Memoirs of Reed, 1. 255.

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