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vance work on his side; and lieutenant-colonel Sterling forced his way up a steep ascent, and took one hundred and seventy prisoners. Their outworks being carried, the Americans left their lines and crowded into the fort. Colonel Rahl, who led the right column of Knyphauzen's attack, pushed forwards, and lodged his column within a hundred yards of the fort, and was there soon joined by the left column. The garrison surrendered on terms of capitulation, by which the men were to be considered as prisoners of war, and the officers to keep their baggage and side arms. The number of prisoners amounted to two thousand seven hun. dred. The loss of the British was considerable.
Shortly after the surrender of fort Washington, fort Lee, situate on the opposite shore of the North River, was evacuated by the Americans at the approach of lord Cornwallis; and at the expense of their artillery and stores.
Fort Lee being evacuated by the Americans, the Jerseys lay wholly open to the incursions of the British troops, and was so entirely taken possession of by the royal army, that their winter quarters extended from New Brunswick to the river Delaware. Had any number of boats been at hand, it was thought Philadelphia would have fallen into their hands. All these had been carefully removed by the Americans. Instead of this enterprise, Sir Henry Clinton undertook an expedition to Rhode Island, and became master of it without losing a man. His expedition was attended with this further advantage, that the American fleet upder commodore Hopkins was obliged to sail so far up Providence river, that it was entirely useless. The same ill success attended the Americans in other parts. After their expulsion from Capada, they had crossed lake Champlain, and taken up their quarters at Crown Point, as we have already mentioned. Here they remained for some time in safety, as the British had no vessels on the lake; and consequently general Burgoyne could not pur
To remedy this deficiency, there was no other method, but to construct vessels on the spot, or take to pieces some vessels already constructed, and drag them up the river into the lake. This, however, was effected in the space of three months; and the British general, after incredible toil and difficulty, saw himself in possession of a great number of vessels: by which means, enabled to pursue his enemies, and invade them in his turn. The labour undergone at this time, by the sea and land forces, must indeed have been prodigious; since they were conveyed over land, and dragged up the rapids of St. Lawrence, no fewer than thirty large long boats, four hundred batteaux, besides a vast number of flat-bottomed boats, and a gondola of thirty tons. The intent of the expedition was, to push forward, before winter, to Albany, where the army would take up its winter quarters; and
the next spring effect a junction with that under general Howe; when it was out doubted, that the united force and skill of the two commanders, would speedily put an end to the war.
It was the beginning of October, before the expedition could be undertaken; it was then allowed to be completely able to answer the purpose for which it was intended.
The fleet consisted of one large vessel of three masts, carrying 18 twelve pounders; two schooners, the one carrying 14, the other 12 six pounders; a large flai-bottomed radeau, with 6 twenty-four, and 6 twelve pounders; and a gondola with 8 nine pounders; besides these, there were twenty vessels of a smaller size; also gun-boats, carrying each a piece of brass ordnance, from nine to twenty-tour pounders, or howitzers. Several iong-boats were fitted out in the same manner, and a vast number of boats and tenders of various sizes to be used as transports for the troops anu baggage. It was manned by a number of select seamen; and the gun boats were served by a detachment froin the corps of artillery The officers and soldiers appointed for this expedition, were also hosen out of the whole army.
The Americau turce was too inconsiderable to withstand this formidable armament; general Arnold, who commanded it, after engaging the British fleet for a whole day, took advantage of the darkness of the night to set sail without being perceived, and was next morning out of sight: but he was su quickly pursued by the British, ihat on the second day after, he was overtaken and forced to a second engayevent. And notwithstanding his gallant behaviour, he was vulged to run his ships ashore, and set them on fire. A few only escaped to lake George; and the garrison of Crown Point having destroyed or carried off every thing of value, retired to Ticonderoya.
Thither general Curleton intended to have pursued them; but the difficulties he had to encouuter were so many, and so great, that it was thvught proper to march back into Canada, and des sist from any further operations until the next spring.
The American affairs now seemed every where going to wreck; even those who had been most sanguine in her cause, began to despair. The time alsu, for which the soldiers had enlisted, was now expired; and the bad success of the preceding campaign had been so very discouraging, that no person was willing to engage himself during the continuance of the war, of which the event appeared so dubtfui. General Washington had the mortifying evi. dence of the daily decrease of his arıny; so that from thirty thousand, of which ii consisted when general Howe landed on Staten Island, scarce a tenth part could be mustered. General Lee had collected a body of troops to assist the commander in chief, but having imprudently taken up his lodgings at a distance from the troops, information was given to colonel Harcourt, who happened at the time to be in the neighbourhood, and who took him prisoner The loss of this general was much regretted, the more especially as he was of superior quality to any prisoner in possession of the colonists, and could not therefore be exchanged. Six field officers were offered in exchange for him, and refused; and congress was highly irritated at its being reported that he was to be treated as a deserter, having been a half pay officer in the British service at the commencement of the war. They therefore is. sued a proclamation, threatening to retaliate on the prisoners in their possession, whatever punishment should be inílicted on any of those taktu by the British; and especially that their conduct shouiu be regulated by their treatment of general Lee,
Congress now proveeded with the utmost diligence to recruit their army; and bound their soldiers to serve for the term of three years, or during the continuance of the war. The army for the ensuing campaign, was to consist of eighty-eight battalions, of which each province was to contribute its quota; and twenty dolo lars were offered as a bounty to each soldier, besides an allotment of lands at the end of the war. In this agreement it was stipulated, that each soldier should have one hundred acres, an ensign one hundred and fifty, a lieutenant two hundred, a captain three hundred, a major tour hundred, a lieutenant-colonel four hun. dred and hity, and a colonel five hundred. Those who only enlisted for three years were not entitled to any lands. Those who were wounded in the service, both officers and soldiers, were to enjoy halt-pay during life. To meet this expense, congress borrowed tive millions of dollars, at five per cent, for which the United States was security.
At the same time, a declaration was published, tending to animate the people to vigorous exertions, in which they set forth the necessity there was of taking proper methods for securing success. They endeavoured to palliate, as much as possible, the mis. fortunes which had already happened, and represented the true cause of the present distress, to be the short term of enlist. ment.
This declaration, and the imminent danger of Philadelphia, roused the Americans to exert themselves to the utmost, to obtain reinforcements for general Washington's army. An exploit of that general, however, did more to animate the Americans in the cause thaa all the declarations of congress. As the royal ar. my extended in different cantonments for a great way, general Washington saw the necessity of making an attempt on some of those divisions which lay nearest to Philadelphia. These happened to be the Hessians, who lay in three divisions, the last only twenty miles from that city. On the twenty-fifth of December, having collected as considerable a force as he could, he set out with an intent to surprise that body of the enemy which lay at Trenton.
His army was divided into three bodies; one of which he ordered to cross the Delaware at Trenton ferry, a little below the town; the second at a distance below, at a place called Bordentown, where the second division of Hessians was placed; while he himself, with the third, directed his course to a ferry some miles above Trenton, which he intended to have passed at midnight, and make the attack at break of day; but various impediments so far obstructed his plans, that it was eight in the morning before he reached the place of his destination. The enemy, . however, did not perceive his approach till they were suddenly attacked. Colonel Rahl, their commander, did all that could be expected from a brave and experienced officer; but every thing was in such confusion, that no efforts of valour or skill could now retrieve matters. The colonel himself was mortally wounded, his troops were entirely broken, their artillery seized, and about one thousand taken prisoners. After this gallant exploit, general Washington returned into Pennsylvania,
This action, though to appearance of no very decisive nature, was what turned the fortune of war in favour of America. It lessened the apprehensions which the Americans had of the Hessians, at the same time that it equally abated the confidence which the British had till now put in them; it also raised the desponding hopes of the Americans, and gave a new spring to all their operations. Reinforcements now came in from all quarters, and general Washington soon found himself in a condition once more to repass the Delaware, and take up his quarters in Trenton, where he was emboldened to take his station, notwithstanding that accounts were received of the enemy's rapid advance towards him under lord Cornwallis, who shortly after made his appearance in full force; and on the evening of his arrival, the little tower of Trenton contained the two hostile armies, separated only by a small creek, which was fordable in many places.
This was indeed the crisis of the American revolution; and had his lordship made an immediate attack, in pursuance of what is reported to have been the advice of Sir William Erskin, general Washington's defeat would have been inevitable; but a night's delay turned the fortune of the war, and produced an enterprise, the magnitude and glory of which, can only be equalled by its success.
A council of war having been called, general Washington stated the calamitous situation to which his army was reduced, and after hearing the various opinions of his officers, finally proposed a circuitous march to Princeton, as the means of avoiding at once the imputation of a retreat and the danger of a battle, with forces so inferior and in a situation so ineligible. The idea was unanimously approved, and as soon as it was dark, the necessary measures were effected for accomplisbiog it. A line of fires were kindled, which served to give light to the Americans, while it obscured them from the observation of the enemy; the weather, which had been for some time warm and foggy, suddenly changed to a hard frost; and rendered the road, which had been deep and heavy, smooth and firm as a pavement. The Americans considered this as a providential interposition in their favour.
At break of day, general Washington was discovered by a party of British troops, consisting of three regiments, under the command of colonel Mawhood, near Princeton, on their march to Trenton. With these the centre of the Americans engaged, and after killing sixty, wounding many, and taking three hundred prisoners, obliged the rest to make a precipitate retreat; some towards Trenton, and others to Brunswick. The loss of the Americans, as to number, was inconsiderable, but the fall of general Mercer was sensibly felt.
The British, astonished and discouraged at the syecess and spirit of these repeated enterprises, abandoned both Trenton and Princeton, and retreated to Brunswick; while the Americans in triumph retired to Morristown. General Washington, however, omitted no opportunity in recovering what had been lost; and by dividing his army into small parties, which could be called into general action at a few hours notice, he in a manner almost entirely covered the country with it, and took possession of the most important places.
Thus ended the campaign of 1776, with no other real advantage to the British, than the acquisition of New York, and a few fortresses in the neighbourhood, where the troops were constrained to act with as much circumspection, as if they had been besieged by a victorious army, instead of being themselves the conquerors.
The British, in New York, began in 1777 to carry on a kind of predatory war, by sending out parties to destroy magazines, make incursions, and take or destroy such forts as lay on the banks of rivers accessible to their shipping; in this they were generally successful; the provincial magazines at Peek's kill, a place about fifty miles distant from New York, were destroyed; the town of Danbury in Connecticut was burnt, and that of Ridgefield in the same province was taken possession of. The British, however, as they were returning from this last expedition, were harrassed by generals Arnold, Wooster, and Sullivan; but they made good their retreat, in spite of all opposition, with the loss of only seventy killed and wounded. On the American side the loss was much greater: general Wooster was killed, and Arnold was in the most imminent danger. On the other hand the Americans destroyed the stores at Sagg harbour, in the east end of Long Island, and made prisoners of all who defended the place.
As this method of making war answered no essential purpose, it was resolved to make an attempt on Philadelphia. It was first