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sey. Its chief strength was in its situation, and it was defended by three thousand men, well supplied with artillery. On the 16th of November, this fort was attacked by the British army, in four divisions, after a resista ance of some hours, the garrison were overpowered and obliged to surrender themselves prisoners of war.
In order to obtain the full command of the North River, it was also necessary to reduce Fort Lee. For this purpose Lord Cornwallis crossed the river, landed on the Jersey shore, and marched with all possible expedition to surprise the garrison. Being apprized of his approach, they evacuated the fort, leaving all their artillery and warlike stores to the enemy. Thus both the Jersies were laid open to the incursions of the British troops. They penetrated so far that their winter quarters extended from New-Brunswick to the river Delaware; and so great was the consternation of the Americans, that had the British army found a sufficient number of boats to ferry them over the Delaware, it is highly probable that Philadelphia would have fallen into their hands.
Meanwhile, Sir Henry Clinton undertook an expedition to Rhode Island, and became master of that province without the loss of a
The affairs of the Americans also wore an inauspicious aspect on their northern frontiers, where General Arnold was defeated by General Carleton, and compelpelled to retire from Crown Point to Ticonderoga.
The American army was now almost entirely disbanded. As the time for which the soldiers had enlisted, was only a twelvemonth, at the expiration of that period, having fulfilled their agreement, they returned home, in consequence of which Gen. Washington found his army decreased from thirty thousand to about three thousand men. Το assist the commander in chief as much as possible, General Lee had collected a body of forces in the north, but on his way southward, having imprudently lodged at some distance from the troops, he was made prisoner by a party of British light dragoons, who brought him to New York.
The capture of General Lee was a heavy loss to the Americans. His professional knowledge was great, both in the theory and practice of tactics; he was full of activity, fertile in expedients, and of a most intrepid and enterprising disposition.
Congress now exerted themselves to retrieve their losses, and to recruit their army. They were furnished with a just plea for altering their mode of enlisting men; they ordered a new army to be levied, of which the soldier should be bound to serve three years, or during the continuance of the war. The most liberal encouragement was to be given to recruits. Twenty dollars was allowed to every soldier as bounty, besides an allotment of lands, at the end of the war, to all that served, and to the families of those who should lose their lives in the service of their country.
All the provinces exerted themselves in this season of universal danger, and hastened to send whatever reinforcements could be raised, to their army that lay in the vicinity of Philadelphia.
Exclusive of the dread of being exposed to a victorious enemy, the Americans were particularly apprehensive of the Hessians, and other Germans. who had on every occasion committed the most barbarous outrages. Those ferocious mercenaries appropriated to themselves every thing they could lay their hands
upon, and plundered a people who not only detested but despised them.
As the British troops lay cantoned on the banks of the Delaware, and only waited till the frost would enable them to cross it, the
Americans thought it advisable to remove their Congress to Baltimore, in Maryland.--Meanwhile General Washington continued to watch over the safety of his country, his mind was continually occupied with new plans, for the protection of his beloved America, and he beheld, with filial solicitude, the dangers that threatened her liberties.
The British army now occupied a chain of towns and villages through the heart of the Jerseys, and had extended their quarters into several places in the vicinity of Philadelphia. Gen. Washington resolved to make some attempts on those divisions of the enemy that lay nearest that city, and, if possible, relieve it from the danger to which it was exposed.
A corps of Hessians lay at Trenton ; another at Bordenton, some miles lower, and a third at Burlington. Those towns were on the opposite bank of the Delaware, and the last within twenty miles of Philadelphia.--The Hessians, from a confidence in their military superiority, became inattentive to the motions of the Americans, and were wholly engaged with those licentious outrages that had rendered them particularly odi
Washington prepared to surprize the enemy in their quarters. Accordingly he form
ed his army into three divisions; the first. was to cross the Delaware at Trenton ferry; the second below Bordenton ; and the third he commanded in person, accompanied by Generals Sullivan and Greene. This division consisted of three thousond of the best men in the American service; with a train of twenty field pieces. On the 25th of December, Washington marched at the head of his division, to a ferry some miles above Trenton, with an intention to pass it at midnight, which would enable him to arrive at Tren-' ton, with the dawn.
It is impossible to contemplate the progress of this little army of patriots without emotion. As they march in solenın silence, without one friendly ray to guide their footsteps, what must be their sensations? On the success of their enterprize depends the freedom and happiness of innumerable millions yet unborn; on its failure awaits every evil that can appal the heart. The virluous matron, the innocent child, the chaste virgin, all depend for protection on this heroic band. As they proceed, their bosoms tbrob with anxiety, while all the ardour of the soldier arises to overcome apprehension ; neither the rigour of a winter's night, nor the certainty of the perils they must tace, can deter them from