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Recapitulation Events of 1777-Low state of the American Army
at Morristown—Dismission of Dr. Stringer, and resolution of Congress, censuring General Schuyler's want of respect—State of the British Army-Expedition of Cornwallis against Boundbrook-Narrow escape of General Lincoln-Governour Tryon's expedition against Danbury-Gallant conduct of Generals Wooster and Arnold—Arnold makes a stand at Radfield-Is obliged to retreat-Follows the enemy to Sagatuck bridge, Action there Expedition of Colonel Meigs to Saggharbour --Sir William Howe takes the field—his sudden retreat to Amboy-Washington moves his army to Quibhletown—Howe evacuates the Jerseys-General Schuyler appointed to the command of the Northern Army-General St. Clair ordered to the command of Ticonderoga—The weak state of that garrison-Burgoyne makes his appearance before it-St. Clair evacuates it and joins General Schuyler.
THE army under General Washington had never been more active, nor the cautious skill of the Commander more conspicuously displayed, than dur
ing the winter campaign of 1776. Beaten, and driven from his strong positions on the North River, with the loss of a large portion of his army, we have seen that General Washington found himself reluctantly compelled to make a precipitate retreat across the Jerseys into Pennsylvania, with a shattered force of little more than three thousand men. Arrived at Newark, Washington felt as if the struggle must soon be terminated; but he felt too, that the western world contained too many secure and safe retreats for the sons of liberty, to admit even the momentary idea of being compelled to relinquish their independence. There was a world beyond the mountains, to which he looked as a dernier asylum. My neck, said he, to his friend Colonel Reed, does not feel as though it were made for a halter-if driven from every other place, we must cross the Allegany mountains. At no period of our trying contest, were the hopes of the American army at so low an ebb. The royal forces had been every where successful; the term of service of the greater part of our soldiers, was about expiring; many of our most meritorious and useful officers were in the hands of the enemy; and Cornwallis, flushed with recent victory, was then in hot pursuit of the flying band that stuck to the fortunes of Washington. If Cornwallis had been Commander in Chief of the British army at this time, instead of General Howe, who seems at all times to have laboured under some strange infatuation in his conduct of the war, the revolution would in all probability have closed here, and we might have been at this day under the guardianship of the Mother Country. We have seen that Lord Cornwallis entered Newark only a few hours after Washington had evacuated it ;
and that if his orders had not been peremptory, to advance no further than Brunswick, which last place he also reached just as the rear of Washington's army were quitting it, he must inevitably have prevented them from crossing the Delaware. If General Howe had even attended to the subsequent representations of his pursuing General, Washington must have been overtaken at Princeton ; but Providence had decreed that we should be free, or the activity of Cornwallis would have been sufficient to have counteracted the effects even of General Howe's dilatory disposition. At Newark, Brunswick, Princeton, and Trenton, the escape of Washington may almost be regarded as miraculous. At Brunswick, thirteen hundred of his men, the Jersey and Maryland brigades, deserted him, their period of service having there expired, and no inducement being sufficient to detain them, a moment beyond their legal engagement. After crossing the Delaware, five hundred others abandoned bim, so that his whole force now amounted to no more than seventeen hundred men.
What added greatly to the embarrassments of Washington at this critical juncture of his affairs, was a proclamation issued by the two brothers, Lord and General Howe, commanding all persons in arms against His Majesty's government, all general and provincial Congresses, and all others who were aiding and abetting the rebels, forthwith to desist from their treasonable practices, and return to their homes and business, on the promise of a full pardon. The effects of this proclamation upon the weak and timid, and particularly upon the men of fortune, who were