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General Washington to the Congress

December 29, 2011

Newtown, 29 December 1776.

 Sir:

I am just setting out to attempt a second passage over theDelawarewith troops that were with me on the morning of the 26th. I am determined to affect it if possible: but note that it will be attended with much fatigue and difficulty on account of the ice, which will neither allow us to cross on foot, nor give us an easy passage with the boats. General Cadwalader crossed fromBristolon the 27th, and, by his letter of yesterday, was at Bordentown with about eighteen hundred men. In addition to these General Mifflin sent over five hundred fromPhiladelphiaon Friday, three hundred yesterday evening fromBurlingtonand will follow today with seven or eight hundred more. I have taken every precaution in my power subsisting the troops and shall, without loss of time, and as soon as circumstances will admit of it, pursue the enemy in their retreat — try to beat up more of their quarters — and in a word adopt in every instance such measures as the exigency of our affairs requires, and their situation will justify.

Had it not been for the unhappy failure of Generals Ewing and Cadwalader in their attempt to pass, on the night of the 25th, — and if several concerted attacks could have been made — I have no doubt that our views would have succeeded to our warmest expectations. What was done occasioned the enemy to leave their several posts on theDelawarewith great precipitation. The peculiar distresses to which the troops, who were with me, were reduced by the severities of cold, rain, snow, and storm — the charge of the prisoners they had taken, and another reason that might be mentioned, and the little prospect of receiving succors on accounts of the season and the situation of the river — would not authorize a further pursuit at that time. Since transmitting the list of prisoners, a few more have been discovered and taken toTrenton: — among ’em a lieutenant- colonel and a deputy adjutant general, — the whole amounting to about a thousand.

I have the honor to be great respect sir your most obedient servant,

Go. Washington.

P.S. I am under great apprehension about obtaining proper supplies of provisions for the troops. I fear it will be extremely difficult, if not impracticable, as the Enemy, from every account has taken and collected every thing they could find.

Text from The Battles ofTrentonandPrinceton, William S. Stryker pgs. 429 – 430

Visit www.Patriotsweek.com 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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