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WASHINGTON APPOINTED DICTATOR

161 livarı, who succeeded in the command, immediately joined Washington, and thus increased his force to nearly 7000. Still his men were daily leaving 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, stretching 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 provi. sions 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 ard confine all persons who should refuse to take the continental currency. These powers, which 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 publin 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

What is said of General Sullivan ?--Of General Howe and his army! --Of the Americans and their condition ?-What island was taken by The British ?-Whither did congress retire !---What powers did con :ress confer on General Washington ?- What was done by General

Howe?

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savmg it from contiscation, embraced this offer; and few timid spirits among other classes of society followed their example.

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 Americar leaders maintained an erect posture, and their noble com mander in chief dared to ineditate 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 informed 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 expe. rienced officer ; but the attack was sudden and impetuous; and it was directed by Washington himself. The Hes sians gave way on all sides; their artillery was seizei, and one thousand of their best troops remained prisoners

Washington recrossed to his camp with the loss of but nine of his men.

Some of the colonial reinforcements having now arrived, the provincial army was not only increased in numbers but improved in courage and zeal. Emboldened by his success, Washington resolved to leave Philadelphia, an. 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 Britis) army by the late success and increased force of Washing ton'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

What was the effect of this proclamation ?- What were the condi. tion and force of the two armies ?-Whau did Washington design What remark did he make !--Describe the battle of Trenton.-What was its result?- What was Washington's next movement ?

of war.

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leave New York, and resume his command in the Jer. seys.

On joining General Grant, Lord Cornwallis immediately marched against Trenton, where Washington was encamped at the head of about 5000 men. On his approach, Washington crossed a rivulet, named the Assumpinck, and took post on some high ground, with the rivio let 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 Cormwallis intending to renew the attack next morning; but soon after midnight, General Washington silently de. camped, 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 Colone. Mawhood, who were advancing to join Cornwallis. A battle ensued, in which the British were worsted, and inost of them coinpelled to retreat towards Brunswick. Washington pressed on towards Princeton, where one regiment had been left, and succeeded in taking 300 o 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

What was done by the British ?-Describe the movement of Genera, Grant.-Of Washington ?-What took place January 20, 1777 ?-Or. the night succeeding ?- On the way to Prince-on ?--At Princeton ?

164

SSHINGTON RECONQUER: THE JERSE

bravest and most valuable officers, General Mercer. In his 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 crossing. Millstone river, broke down the bridge at hings'on, to impede the progress of the British ; and there the pursuit ended.

Both arinizwere completely worn out, the one being as unable to pursue as the other was to re 'reat. Wash ington took a position at Morristown, and Lord Corn wallis riached Prunswick, where all was alerm and confusion, in conseq 'ence of the battle of Prince ton, and the expected approach of the Amer cans.

At Morristown, W. bington now fixed his head quare ters. This place is a tu ted among hills of difficuli access, with a fine country on the war, 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 almu 't 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 de ‘aying the decisive actiorı, he conquered a greatly suerior force of the enemy.

Thus terminated the campaign of 1776, not altogether lavourably to the American interest. The whole country south of the Jerseys was entirely freed from the British troops, Rhode Island, indeed, was wholly in theis

What officer fell in this action ?-What distinguished officer was wounded ?-Whither di 4 Washington retreat ?- What was the state of both armies ?-Where did Washington fix his head quarters ?-What was his situation ?- What country did he overrun ?-What did he wrest

rom the British ?--What name did he gain by his operations in this campaign ?-What was the state of affairs at the termination of the campaign of 1776?

ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION.

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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 unfortunate retreat of Washington through the Jerseys and his late critical situation at Philadelphia, were now inspirited by the news of his brilliant successes at Tren ton and Princeton, and his subsequent expulsion of the enemy from all their important posts in the Jerseys.

CHAPTER XXVII.

CAMPAIGN OF 1777.

While General Washington was actively employed in the Jerseys in asserting the independence of America, congress could not afford him much assistance; but that body was not backward in promoting the same cause by its enactments and recommendations. Hitherto the colă nies had been united by no bond but that of their common danger and common love of liberty. Congress resolved to render the terms of their union more definite, to ascertain the rights and duties of the several colonies, and their mutual obligations towards each other. A committee was appointed to sketch the principles of the union or confederation.

This committee presented a report in thirteen Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States, and proposed that, instead of calling themselves the UNITED COLONIES, they should assume the name of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ; that each state should retain its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which was not by the confederation expressly delegated to the United States in congress assembled, and that they shouid enter into a firm league for mutual defence. The articles also dehnen

What was the effect of Washington's success on the popular mind ? What were the chief provisions of the old Articles of Confederation !.. What name was assumed to designate the American nation ?

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