Battle of Hubbardton
The Battle of Hubbardton was an engagement in the Saratoga campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought in the village of Hubbardton, Vermont. Vermont was a disputed territory sometimes called the New Hampshire Grants, claimed by New York, New Hampshire, the newly organized and not yet recognized but de facto independent government of Vermont. On the morning of July 7, 1777, British forces, under General Simon Fraser, caught up with the American rear guard of the forces retreating after the withdrawal from Fort Ticonderoga, it was the only battle in Vermont during the revolution. The American retreat from Fort Ticonderoga began late on July 5 after British cannons were seen on top of high ground, Mount Defiance that commanded the fort; the bulk of General Arthur St. Clair's army retreated through Hubbardton to Castleton, while the rear guard, commanded by Seth Warner, stopped at Hubbardton to rest and pick up stragglers. General Fraser, alerted to the American withdrawal early on July 6 set out in pursuit, leaving a message for General John Burgoyne to send reinforcements as as possible.
That night Fraser camped a few miles short of Hubbardton, the German General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel, leading reinforcements, camped a few miles further back. Rising early in the morning, Fraser reached Hubbardton, where he surprised some elements of the American rear, while other elements managed to form defensive lines. In spirited battle, the Americans were driven back, but had succeeded in turning Fraser's left flank when Riedesel and his German reinforcements arrived scattering the American forces; the battle took a large enough toll on the British forces that they did not further pursue the main American army. The many American prisoners were sent to Ticonderoga while most of the British troops made their way to Skenesboro to rejoin Burgoyne's army. Most of the scattered American remnants made their way to rejoin St. Clair's army on its way toward the Hudson River. General John Burgoyne began his 1777 campaign for control of the Hudson River valley by moving an army of 8,000 down Lake Champlain in late June, arriving near Fort Ticonderoga on July 1.
On July 5, General Arthur St. Clair's American forces defending Fort Ticonderoga and its supporting defenses discovered that Burgoyne's men had placed cannons on a position overlooking the fort, they evacuated the fort that night, with the majority of the army marching down a rough road toward Hubbardton in the disputed New Hampshire Grants territory. The day was hot and sunny, the pace was rapid and grueling; the British general, a Scotsman named Simon Fraser discovered early on July 6 that the Americans had abandoned Ticonderoga. Leaving a message for General Burgoyne, he set out in pursuit with companies of grenadiers and light infantry, as well as two companies of the 24th Regiment and about 100 Loyalists and Indian scouts. Burgoyne ordered Riedesel to follow. Fraser's advance corps was only a few miles behind Colonel Ebenezer Francis' 11th Massachusetts Regiment, which acted as St. Clair's rear guard. American general St. Clair paused at Hubbardton to give the main army's tired and hungry troops time to rest while he hoped the rear guard would arrive.
When it did not arrive in time, he left Colonel Seth Warner and the Green Mountain Boys behind, along with the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment under Colonel Nathan Hale, at Hubbardton to wait for the rear while the main army marched on to Castleton. When Francis' and Hale's men arrived, Warner decided, against St. Clair's orders, that they would spend the night there, rather than marching on to Castleton. Warner, who had experience in rear-guard actions while serving in the invasion of Quebec, arranged the camps in a defensive position on Monument Hill, set patrols to guard the road to Ticonderoga. Baron Riedesel caught up with Fraser around 4 pm, insisted that his men could not go further before making camp. Fraser, who acquiesced to this as Riedesel was senior to him in the chain of command, pointed out that he was authorized to engage the enemy, would be leaving his camp at 3 am the next morning, he advanced until he found a site about three miles from Hubbardton, where his troops camped for the night.
Riedesel waited for the bulk of his men, about 1,500 strong, made camp. Fraser's men did not make good time due to the darkness. Riedesel left his camp at 3 am with a picked group of men, was still behind Fraser when the latter arrived at Hubbardton near dawn and nearly surprised elements of Hale's regiment, which were scattered in the early fighting. A messenger had arrived from General St. Clair delivering news that the British had reached Skenesboro, where the elements of the retreating army had planned to regroup, that a more circuitous route to the Hudson River was now required. St. Clair's instructions were to follow him to Rutland. Francis' men had formed a column to march out around 7:15 when the British vanguard began cresting the hill behind them. Reforming into a line behind some cover, the Massachusetts men unleashed a withering volley of fire at the winded British. General Fraser took stock of the situation, decided to send a detachment around to flank the American left, at the risk of exposing his own left, which he hoped woul
Landing at Kip's Bay
The Landing at Kip's Bay was a British amphibious landing during the New York Campaign in the American Revolutionary War on September 15, 1776, occurring on the eastern shore of present-day Manhattan. Heavy advance fire from British naval forces in the East River caused the inexperienced militia guarding the landing area to flee, making it possible for the British to land unopposed at Kip's Bay. Skirmishes in the aftermath of the landing resulted in the British capture of some of those militia. British maneuvers following the landing nearly cut off the escape route of some Continental Army forces stationed further southeast on the island; the flight of American troops was so rapid that George Washington, attempting to rally them, was left exposed dangerously close to British lines. The operation was a British success, it forced the Continental Army to withdraw to Harlem Heights, ceding control of New York City on the lower half of the island. However, General Washington established strong positions on Harlem Heights, which he defended in a fierce skirmish between the two armies the following day.
General Howe, unwilling to risk a costly frontal attack, did not attempt to advance further up the island for another two months. The American Revolutionary War had not gone well for the British military in 1775 and early 1776. At besieged Boston, the arrival of heavy guns for the Continental Army camp prompted General William Howe to withdraw from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia in March 1776, he regrouped there, acquired supplies and reinforcements, embarked in June on a campaign to gain control of New York City. Anticipating that the British would next attack New York, General George Washington moved his army there to assist General Putnam in the defensive preparations, a task complicated by the large number of potential landing sites for a British force. Howe's troops began an unopposed landing on Staten Island in early July, made another unopposed landing on Long Island, where Washington's Continental Army had organized significant defenses, on August 22. On August 27, Howe flanked Washington's defenses in the Battle of Long Island, leaving Washington in a precarious position on the narrow Brooklyn Heights, with the British Army in front and the East River behind him.
On the night of August 29–30, Washington evacuated his entire army of 9,000 troops to York Island. Despite showing discipline and unity during the evacuation, the army devolved in despair and anger. Large numbers of militia, many of, departed for home. Leadership was questioned in the ranks, with soldiers wishing for the return of the colorful and charismatic General Charles Lee. Washington sent a missive to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia asking for some direction—specifically, if New York City, which occupied only the southern tip of Manhattan Island, should be abandoned and burned to the ground. "They would derive great conveniences from it, on the one hand, much property would be destroyed on the other," Washington wrote. York Island was occupied principally on the southern tip by New York City, on the western tip by Greenwich village, in the north by the village of Harlem; the sparsely-populated center of the island featured a few low hills, principally Indianburg and Crown Heights.
Ferry services connected the island to the surrounding lands, with the primary ferry to the mainland of Westchester County crossing the Harlem River at King's Bridge near the northern tip of the island. The island was bordered by two rivers, on the west by the Hudson River and on the east by the East River, which separated the island from Long Island. Kip's Bay was a cove on the eastern shore of the island, extending from present-day 32nd to 38th Streets, as far west as Second Avenue; the bay no longer exists as such, having been filled in, but in 1776, it provided an excellent place for an amphibious landing: deep water close to the shore, a large meadow for mustering landed troops. Opposite the bay on Long Island, the wide mouth of Newtown Creek surrounded by meadowlands, offered an excellent staging area. Washington, uncertain of General Howe's next step, spread his troops thinly along the shores of York Island and the Westchester shore, sought intelligence that would yield clues to Howe's plans.
He ordered an attempt against HMS Eagle, the flagship of General Howe's brother and commander of the Royal Navy at New York, Admiral Richard Howe. On September 7, in the first documented case of submarine warfare, Sergeant Ezra Lee, volunteered to pilot the submersible Turtle to Eagle and attach explosives to the ship. Lee was able to escape, although he was forced to release his explosive payload to fend off small boats sent by the British to investigate when he surfaced to orient himself; the payload exploded harmlessly in the East River. Meanwhile, British troops, led by General Howe, were moving north up the east shore of the East River, towards King's Bridge. During the night of September 3 the British frigate Rose took advantage of a north-flowing tide and, towing thirty flatboats, moved up the East River and anchored in the mouth of Newtown Creek; the next day, more flatboats moved up the East River. Three warships—HMS Renown, HMS Repulse and HMS Pearl—along with the schooner HMS Tryal, sailed into the Hudson.
On September 5, General Nathanael Greene returned to duty from a serious illness, sent Washington a letter urging an immediate withdrawal from New York. Without possession of Long Island, Greene argued, New York City could not be held. Wit
Siege of Fort Ticonderoga (1777)
The 1777 Siege of Fort Ticonderoga occurred between 2 and 6 July 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga, near the southern end of Lake Champlain in the state of New York. Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's 8,000-man army occupied high ground above the fort, nearly surrounded the defenses; these movements precipitated the occupying Continental Army, an under-strength force of 3,000 under the command of General Arthur St. Clair, to withdraw from Ticonderoga and the surrounding defenses; some gunfire was exchanged, there were some casualties, but there was no formal siege and no pitched battle. Burgoyne's army occupied Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, the extensive fortifications on the Vermont side of the lake, without opposition on 6 July. Advance units pursued the retreating Americans; the uncontested surrender of Ticonderoga caused an uproar in the American public and in its military circles, as Ticonderoga was believed to be impregnable, a vital point of defense. General St. Clair and his superior, General Philip Schuyler, were vilified by Congress.
Both were exonerated in courts martial, but their careers were adversely affected. Schuyler had lost his command to Horatio Gates by the time of the court martial, St. Clair held no more field commands for the remainder of the war. In September 1775, early in the American Revolutionary War, the American Continental Army embarked on an invasion of Quebec; the invasion ended in disaster in July 1776, with the army chased back to Fort Ticonderoga by a large British army that arrived in Quebec in May 1776. A small Continental Navy fleet on Lake Champlain was defeated in the October 1776 Battle of Valcour Island; the delay required by the British to build their fleet on Lake Champlain caused General Guy Carleton to hold off on attempting an assault on Ticonderoga in 1776. Although his advance forces came within three miles of Ticonderoga, the lateness of the season and the difficulty of maintaining supply lines along the lake in winter caused him to withdraw his forces back into Quebec. General John Burgoyne arrived in Quebec in May 1777 and prepared to lead the British forces assembled there south with the aim of gaining control of Ticonderoga and the Hudson River valley, dividing the rebellious provinces.
His British Army troops consisted of the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 47th, 53rd and 62nd regiments, along with the flank companies of other regiments left as a garrison in Quebec. The light infantry and flank companies formed the army's advance force, were commanded by Brigadier General Simon Fraser; the remaining regulars, under the leadership of Major General William Phillips, formed the right wing of the army, while the left was composed of German Alliess under the command of Baron Riedesel. His forces consisted of the Rhetz, Specht, Barner regiments, along with one regiment of grenadiers and another of horseless dragoons from the Brunswick Army, Regiment Erbprinz and Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps from the Hesse-Hanau Army. Most of these forces had arrived in 1776, many participated in the campaign that drove the American army out of Quebec; the total size of Burgoyne's regular army was about 7,000. In addition to the regulars, there were about 800 Indians, a small number of Canadiens and Loyalists, who acted as scouts and screening reconnaissance.
The army was accompanied by more than 1,000 civilians, including a pregnant woman, Baroness Riedesel with her three small children. Including these non-military personnel, the total number of people in Burgoyne's army was more than 10,000. Burgoyne and General Carlton re-sited the troops at Fort Saint-Jean, near the northern end of Lake Champlain, on 14 June. By 21 June, the armada carrying the army was on the lake, they had arrived at the unoccupied Fort Crown Point by 30 June; the Indians and other elements of the advance force laid down such an effective screen that the American defenders at Ticonderoga were unaware of either the exact location or strength of the force moving along the lake. While en route, Burgoyne authored a proclamation to the Americans, written in the turgid, pompous style for which he was well-known, criticized and parodied. American forces had occupied the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point since they captured them in May 1775 from a small garrison. In 1776 and 1777, they undertook significant efforts to improve the defenses surrounding Ticonderoga.
A peninsula on the east side of the lake, renamed Mount Independence, was fortified. To the north of old Fort Ticonderoga, the Americans built numerous redoubts, a large fort at the site earlier French fortifications, a fort on Mount Hope. A quarter-mile long floating bridge was constructed across the lake to facilitate communication between Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. Command at Ticonderoga went through a variety of changes early in 1777; until 1777, General Philip Schuyler had headed the Continental Army's Northern Department, with General Horatio Gates in charge of Ticonderoga. In March 1777 the Continental Congress gave command of the whole department to Gates. Schuyler protested this action, which Congress reversed in May, at which point Gates, no longer willing to serve under Schuyler, left for Philadelphia. Command of the fort was given to General Arthur St. Clair, who arrived only three weeks before Burgoyne's army; the entire complex was manned by several under-strength regiments of the Continental Army and militia units from New York and nearby states.
A war council held by Generals St. Clair and Schuyler on 20 June concluded that "the number of troops now at this post, which are under 2,500 effectives and file, are inadequate to the defense", that "it is prudent to provide for a retreat". Plans were made for retreat along
The Forage War was a partisan campaign consisting of numerous small skirmishes that took place in New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War between January and March 1777, following the battles of Trenton and Princeton. After both British and Continental Army troops entered their winter quarters in early January, Continental Army regulars and militia companies from New Jersey and Pennsylvania engaged in numerous scouting and harassing operations against the British and German troops quartered in New Jersey; the British troops wanted to have fresh provisions to consume, required fresh forage for their draft animals and horses. General George Washington ordered the systematic removal of such supplies from areas accessible to the British, companies of American militia and troops harassed British and German forays to acquire such provisions. While many of these operations were small, in some cases they became quite elaborate, involving more than 1,000 troops; the American operations were so successful that British casualties in New Jersey exceeded those of the entire campaign for New York.
In August 1776 the British army began a campaign to gain control over New York City, defended by George Washington's Continental Army. Over the next two months, General William Howe gained control of New York, pushing Washington into New Jersey, he chased Washington south toward Philadelphia. Washington retreated across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, taking with him all the boats for miles in each direction. Howe ordered his army into winter quarters, establishing a chain of outposts across New Jersey, from the Hudson River through New Brunswick to Trenton and Bordentown on the Delaware River; the occupation of New Jersey by British and German troops caused friction with the local communities and led to a rise in Patriot militia enlistments. As early as mid-December, these militia companies were harassing British patrols, leading to incidents like Geary's ambush, in which a dragoon leader was killed, increasing the level of tension in the British and German quarters. On the night of December 25–26, 1776, Washington crossed the Delaware and surprised the Trenton outpost the following morning.
Over the next two weeks, he went on to win two further battles at Assunpink Creek and Battle of Princeton, leading the British to retreat to northern New Jersey. General Washington established his headquarters at Morristown, separated from the coast by the Watchung Mountains, a series of low ridges, he established forward outposts to the east and south of these ridges that served not only as a defensive bulwark against potential British incursions across the hills, but as launch points for raids. Over the course of January and February, Washington's Continental Army shrank to about 2,500 regulars after Washington's incentives for many men to overstay their enlistment periods ran out. A large number of militia from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania bolstered these forces, played a significant role that winter; the British army was deployed from posts as far north as Hackensack to New Brunswick. The garrison, numbering about 10,000, was concentrated between New Brunswick and Amboy, with a sizable contingent farther north, from Elizabethtown to Paulus Hook.
Militia pressure in January led General Cornwallis to withdraw most of the northern troops to the shores of the Hudson. The resulting concentration of troops overflowed the available housing, abandoned by its residents, with some of the troops living aboard ships anchored nearby; the area had been plundered during the American retreat in the fall, so there was little in the way of local provisions. The men subsisted on rations such as salt pork, but their draft animals required fresh fodder, for which they sent out raiding expeditions. Early in the winter, Washington sent out detachments of troops to systematically remove any remaining provisions and livestock from convenient access by the British. General Cornwallis sent out small raiding parties in January; these were met by larger formations of American militia companies, sometimes with Continental Army support, that led on occasion to significant casualties. In one early example, Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson mustered 450 militia and drove off a British foraging expedition in the Battle of Millstone on January 20.
Washington gave his commanders wide latitude in how to act, issuing commands that they were to be "constantly harassing the enemy", that they should be aggressive in their tactics. These early successes depended in part on successful intelligence. Supply convoys bringing provisions from outside the state to the large garrison at New Brunswick were not immune to the American attacks, where the Raritan River and the roads from Perth Amboy offered opportunities for sniping and raiding, their difficulties led British commanders to change tactics, attempting to lure these militia units into traps involving larger numbers of British regulars. But this was not successful, as wily militia and Continental commanders including Continental Army General William Maxwell used superior knowledge of the geography to set more elaborate traps. In one encounter in late February, British Colonel Charles Mawhood, thinking he had flanked a party of New Jersey militia found his advance force flanked by another, larger force.
As they were driven back toward Amboy and more Americans appeared
St. John River expedition
The St. John River expedition was an attempt by a small number of militia commanded by John Allan to bring the American Revolutionary War to Nova Scotia in late 1777. With minimal logistical support from Massachusetts and 100 volunteer militia and Natives, Allan's forces occupied the small settlement at the mouth of the Saint John River in June 1777; the settlement's defense was weakened by the war effort and that Americans occupied it and took prisoner British sympathizers. A month under command of Brigade Major Studholme and Colonel Francklin, British forces drove off the occupying Americans, forcing Allan to make a difficult overland journey back to Machias, Maine. Allan's incursion was the last significant American land-based assault on Nova Scotia during the war, which remained loyal throughout the war. In 1776, when the American Revolutionary War began, there was a small British settlement at the mouth of the Saint John River, where the modern city of Saint John, New Brunswick is located.
The territory was at the time part of Nova Scotia, was defended by a small garrison stationed at Fort Frederick. When the war broke out, the garrison was withdrawn to Boston. Under the command of Stephen Smith, an American militia from Machias, Massachusetts attacked and burned Fort Frederick. In late 1776, Jonathan Eddy raised a mixed force of Indians, Massachusetts Patriots, Nova Scotian sympathizers, unsuccessfully besieged Fort Cumberland, which protected the land approach to Halifax from the west. Privateers became active in raiding both Nova Scotia shipping and its communities. By the end of 1776, the Americans had taken nearly 350 prizes and raided the Nova Scotian communities of Yarmouth and Cornwallis. In early 1777, John Allan, an expatriate Nova Scotian, was authorized by the Second Continental Congress to organize an expedition to establish a Patriot presence in the western part of Nova Scotia. Although Congress authorized him to recruit as many as 3,000 men, the Massachusetts government was only prepared to give him a colonel's commission and authority to raise a regiment in eastern Massachusetts to establish a presence in the Saint John River valley.
Allan's intention was to establish a permanent post in the area and to recruit the local Maliseet and European settlers to join the American cause. He hoped to recruit a large enough force to launch another assault on Fort Cumberland. Colonel Allan left Machias with a party in four whale boats and four birch canoes, on May 30, 1777; the party, including Indians, numbered 43 men. More than half of Allan's troops had served under Eddy at Fort Cumberland. By the morning of June 2, reinforced by 13 canoes, Allan had proceeded eastward along the coast to Mechogonish, west of the mouth of the Saint John. Having ascertained that there were no ships or garrison at the mouth of the Saint John, Allan dispatched a party of 16 men under Captain West, who marched 3 miles through the woods, crossed the river above the Reversing Falls in bark canoes, made their way to Portland Point, where they surprised and captured James Simonds and William Hazen, two of the Saint John settlement's founders and leading businessmen.
Col. Allan and his party remained for about a month on the Saint John recruiting Maliseet Indians. Whilst engaged in his negotiations, which took place at the Maliseet encampment known as Aukpaque, Allan had posted nearly all his men, some 60 in number, at the mouth of the Saint John, under command of Captains Dyer and West. Allan's intention of establishing a permanent post was cut short when British authorities in Halifax learned of his operation from a Loyalist who escaped Allan's men; the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Admiral Marriott Arbuthnot, sent several British war vessels to the mouth of the river. On Monday, June 23, under command of Brigade Major Gilfred Studholme and Colonel Michael Francklin, the British sloop-of-war HMS Vulture arrived, a few days she was joined by the frigates Milford and Ambuscade, with a strong detachment of the Royal Fencible Americans and the 84th Regiment of Foot on board. On the morning of June 30, about 120 men left the ships in barges, they landed at Mahogany Bay and marched 2.5 miles in the direction of the falls, had a brief skirmish with Allan's men in the vicinity of the present village of Fairville.
In the short firefight, twelve Americans and one member of the 84th regiment were killed. The Americans retreated up the river. Dyer and Allan returned to Machias by way of the Oromocto and Magaguadavic rivers. Col. Allan's untiring efforts to gain the friendship and support of the Indians, during the four weeks he had been at Aukpaque was somewhat successful. There was a significant exodus of Maliseet from the region to join the American forces at Machias. On Sunday, July 13, 1777, a party of between 400 and 500 men and children, embarked in 128 canoes from the Old Fort Meduetic for Machias; the party arrived at a opportune moment for the Americans, afforded material assistance in the defence of that post during the attack made by Sir George Collier on the 13th to 15 August. The British did only minimal damage to the place, the services of the Indians on the occasion earned for them the thanks of the council of Massachusetts. After Allan's expedition the British settlers on the Saint John demanded a better defense from Halifax.
In response, Major Studholme was sent to provide a permanent military
Battle of Princeton
The Battle of Princeton was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, fought near Princeton, New Jersey on January 3, 1777 and ending in a small victory for the Colonials. General Lord Cornwallis had left 1,400 British troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood in Princeton. Following a surprise attack at Trenton early in the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington of the Continental Army decided to attack the British in New Jersey before entering the winter quarters. On December 30, he crossed the Delaware River back into New Jersey, his troops followed on January 3, 1777. Washington advanced to Princeton by a back road, where he pushed back a smaller British force but had to retreat before Cornwallis arrived with reinforcements; the battles of Trenton and Princeton were a boost to the morale of the patriot cause, leading many recruits to join the Continental Army in the spring. After defeating the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton on the morning of December 26, 1776, Washington withdrew back to Pennsylvania.
He subsequently decided to attack the British forces before going into winter quarters. On December 29, he led his army back into Trenton. On the night of January 2, 1777, Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek; that night, he evacuated his position, circled around General Lord Cornwallis' army, went to attack the British garrison at Princeton. On January 3, Brigadier General Hugh Mercer of the Continental Army clashed with two regiments under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood of the British Army. Mercer and his troops were overrun, Mercer was mortally wounded. Washington sent a brigade of militia under Brigadier General John Cadwalader to help them; the militia, on seeing the flight of Mercer's men began to flee. Washington rallied the fleeing militia, he led the attack on Mawhood's troops, driving them back. Mawhood gave the order to retreat and most of the troops tried to flee to Cornwallis in Trenton. In Princeton itself, Brigadier General John Sullivan encouraged some British troops who had taken refuge in Nassau Hall to surrender, ending the battle.
After the battle, Washington moved his army to Morristown, with their third defeat in 10 days, the British evacuated southern New Jersey. With the victory at Princeton, morale rose in the American ranks and more men began to enlist in the army; the battle was the last major action of Washington's winter New Jersey campaign. On the night of December 25–26, 1776, General George Washington, Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, led 2,400 men across the Delaware River. After a nine-mile march, they seized the town of Trenton on the morning of the 26th, killing or wounding over 100 Hessians and capturing 900 more. Soon after capturing the town, Washington led the army back across the Delaware into Pennsylvania. On the 29th, Washington once again led the army across the river, established a defensive position at Trenton. On the 31st, Washington appealed to his men, whose enlistments expired at the end of the year, "Stay for just six more weeks for an extra bounty of ten dollars." His appeal worked, most of the men agreed to stay.
That day, Washington learned that Congress had voted to give him wide-ranging powers for six months that are described as dictatorial. In response to the loss at Trenton, General Lord Cornwallis left New York City and reassembled a British force of more than 9,000 at Princeton to oppose Washington. Leaving 1,200 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood at Princeton, Cornwallis left Princeton on January 2 in command of 8,000 men to attack Washington's army of 6,000 troops. Washington sent troops to skirmish with the approaching British to delay their advance, it was nightfall by the time the British reached Trenton. After three failed attempts to cross the bridge over the Assunpink Creek, beyond which were the primary American defenses, Cornwallis called off the attack until the next day. During the night, Washington called a council of war and asked his officers whether they should stand and fight, attempt to cross the river somewhere, or take the back roads to attack Princeton.
Although the idea had occurred to Washington, he learned from Arthur St. Clair and John Cadwalader that his plan to attack Princeton was indeed possible. Two intelligence collection efforts, both of which came to fruition at the end of December 1776, supported such a surprise attack. After consulting with his officers, they agreed. Washington ordered that the excess baggage be taken to Burlington where it could be sent to Pennsylvania; the ground had frozen. By midnight, the plan was complete, with the baggage on its way to Burlington and the guns wrapped in heavy cloth to stifle noise and prevent the British from learning of the evacuation. Washington left 500 men behind with two cannon to patrol, keep the fires burning, to work with picks and shovels to make the British think that they were digging in. Before dawn, these men were to join up with the main army. By 2:00 AM the entire army was in motion along Quaker Bridge Road through what is now Hamilton Township; the men were ordered to march with absolute silence.
Along the way, a rumor was spread that they were surrounded and some frightened militiamen fled for Philadelphia. The march was difficult, as some of the route ran through thick woods and it was icy, causing horses to slip, men to break through ice on ponds; as dawn came, the army approached. The road the army took followed Stony Brook for a mile farther until it intersected the Post Road from Trenton to Princeton
New York and New Jersey campaign
The New York and New Jersey campaign was a series of battles in 1776 and the winter months of 1777 for control of New York City and the state of New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War between British forces under General Sir William Howe and the Continental Army under General George Washington. Howe was successful in driving Washington out of New York City, but overextended his reach into New Jersey, ended the active campaign season in January 1777 with only a few outposts near the city; the British held New York harbor for the rest of the war, using it as a base for expeditions against other targets. First landing unopposed on Staten Island on July 3, 1776, Howe assembled an army composed of elements, withdrawn from Boston in March following their failure to hold that city, combined with additional British troops, as well as Hessian troops hired from several German principalities. Washington had New England soldiers as well as regiments from states as far south as Virginia. Landing on Long Island in August, Howe defeated Washington in the largest battle of the war, but the Continental Army was able to make an orderly retreat to Manhattan under cover of darkness and fog.
Washington suffered a series of further defeats in Manhattan, with the exception of the skirmish at Harlem Heights, withdrew to White Plains, New York. At that point Howe returned to Manhattan to capture forces Washington had left in the north of the island. Washington and much of his army crossed the Hudson River into New Jersey, retreated all the way across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, shrinking due to ending enlistment periods and poor morale. Howe ordered his troops into winter quarters in December, establishing a chain of outposts from New York to Burlington, New Jersey. Washington, in a tremendous boost to American morale, launched a successful strike against the Trenton garrison after crossing the icy Delaware River, prompting Howe to withdraw his chain of outposts back to New Brunswick and the coast near New York, while Washington established his winter camp at Morristown. During the remaining winter months, both sides skirmished as the British sought forage and provisions.
Britain maintained control of New York City and some of the surrounding territory until the war ended in 1783, using it as a base for operations elsewhere in North America. In 1777, General Howe launched a campaign to capture Philadelphia, leaving General Sir Henry Clinton in command of the New York area, while General John Burgoyne led an attempt to gain control of the Hudson River valley, moving south from Quebec and failed at Saratoga. Northern New Jersey was the scene of skirmishing between the opposing forces for the rest of the war; when the American Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, British troops were under siege in Boston. They defeated Patriot forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill, suffering high casualties; when news of this expensive British victory reached London, General William Howe and Lord George Germain, the British official responsible, determined that a "decisive action" should be taken against New York City using forces recruited from throughout the British Empire as well as troops hired from small German states.
General George Washington named by the Second Continental Congress as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, echoed the sentiments of others that New York was "a post of infinite importance", began the task of organizing military companies in the New York area when he stopped there on his way to take command of the siege of Boston. In January 1776, Washington ordered Charles Lee to raise troops and take command of New York's defenses. Lee had made some progress on the city's defenses when word arrived in late March 1776 that the British army had left Boston after Washington threatened them from heights south of the city. Concerned that General Howe was sailing directly to New York, Washington hurried regiments from Boston, including General Israel Putnam, who commanded the troops until Washington himself arrived in mid-April. At the end of April, Washington dispatched General John Sullivan with six regiments to the north to bolster the faltering Quebec campaign. General Howe, rather than moving against New York, withdrew his army to Halifax, Nova Scotia, regrouped while transports full of British troops, shipped from bases around Europe and intended for New York, began gathering at Halifax.
In June, he set sail for New York with the 9,000 men assembled there, before all of the transports arrived. German troops from Hesse-Kassel, as well as British troops from Henry Clinton's unsuccessful expedition to the Carolinas, were to meet with Howe's fleet when it reached New York. General Howe's brother, Admiral Lord Howe, arrived at Halifax with further transports after the general sailed, followed; when General Howe arrived in the outer harbor of New York, the ships began sailing up the undefended Narrows between Staten Island and Long Island on July 2, started landing troops on the undefended shores of Staten Island that day. Washington learned from prisoners taken that Howe had landed 10,000 men, but was awaiting the arrival of another 15,000. General Washington, with a smaller army of about 19,000 effective troops, lacked significant intelligence on the British force and plans, was uncertain where in the New York area the Howes intended to strike, he split the Continental Army between fortified positions on Long Island and mainland locations, established a "Flying Camp" in northern New Jersey.
This was intended as a reserve force that could support operations anywhere along the New Jersey side of the Hudson. The Howe brothers had been granted authority as peace commissioners by Parliament, with limite