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General Cadwalader reports from Bristol

December 26, 2011

Bristol, 26 December 1776


There was a general attack to be made last night. The river was impassable here and we made the attempt at Dunk’s Ferry but found it impracticable to get over our Cannon, we returned this morning to Bristol about four. I this moment have an account by Mr. McLane (a man of veracity) that he was at Trenton Ferry this morning & heard a very heavy firing on the River and Penny Town roads that lead to Trenton — the heavy firing lasted about 1/4 an hour and continued moderate for about three Quarters. The Light Horse and Hessians were seen flying in great confusion towards Bordentown, but without Cannon or Waggons, so that the Enemy must’ve lost the whole, a party of firemen intercepted about a Dozen Hessians insight of our people on this site and brought them to the Ferry and huzza’d. I have ordered the boats from Dunk’s and shall pass as soon as possible — we can muster here about 1800 men if the Expedition last night in the storm does not thin our Ranks. Has General Putnam crossed and with what numbers — pray let me know; everything of this kind gives Confidence to the Troops. I have no doubt of the report, the heavy firing was heard at this place — an attempt was made to pass at or a little below Trenton Ferry, but could not get over, that would’ve made the Victory still more complete.

Yours &

John Cadwalader

Visit for a listing of activities December 27 – 31 commemorating Trenton’s role in turning the tide of America’s War for Independence.

Contact us anytime for tours of New Jersey’s historic capital city.


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