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General Cadwalader to General Washington

December 27, 2011

This letter was started in the morning but completed in the afternoon after the receipt of General Washington‘s account of the events at Trenton the day prior.

Burlington 27th December 1776

10 o’clock


As I did not hear from you this morning and being prepared to embark, I concluded you was still on this side and therefore embarked and landed about 1500 men about two miles above Bristol. After a considerable number were landed, I had information from the paymaster of Colonel Hitchcock’s Brigade, that you had crossed over from Trenton. This defeated the scheme of joining your army. We were much embarrassed which way to proceed. I thought it was prudent to retreat, but Colonel Reed was of opinion that we might safely proceed to Burlington and recommended it warmly, lest it should have a bad effect on the militia, who were twice disappointed. The landing in open daylight must have alarmed the enemy and we might have been cut off by all his force collected to this place. We had intelligence immediately afterwards that the enemy had left the Blackhorse and Mount Holly ! upon this we determined to proceed to Burlington. Colonel Reed and two other officers went on from one post to another, ’till they came to Bordentown, where they found the coast clear. Colonel Reed and Colonel Coxe are now there and we shall march at four to-morrow morning for that place.

This information has induced me to proceed, though not quite comfortable to your workers which I received on the march this afternoon. If you should think proper to crossover, it may be easily effected at the place where we passed; a pursuit would keep up the panic. They went off with great precipitation impressed all the wagons in their reach. I am told many of them are gone to South Amboy. If we can drive them from West Jersey, the success will raise an army next spring and establish the credit of the Continental money to support it. I shall write to you to-morrow, I hope from Trenton.

I am ,Sir, your most obedient, very humble servant

John Cadwalader.

The Battles of Trenton and Princeton, William S. Stryker, pg. 241

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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