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WASHINGTON RETREATS.

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destroyed the provisions Cornwallis hoped to get for his army, and so delayed the enemy that it took them nearly three weeks (November 19 to December 8) to march less than seventy miles across a level country. Washington hoped to save Philadelphia from falling into the hands of the British. If he could not, and everything went against him, he intended to escape with his little army to the mountains of Western Virginia, which he knew perfectly. There he could fight for years in the cause of liberty.

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a distance, then again close on their heels. There were times when the British would be entering a town just as our men were hurrying out of it. Many patriots began to despair of success. What, they asked, can we hope from a fugitive army of three

thousand men, miserably Philadelphia

armed, scantily clothed, halfWilmington

fed, not paid ? How can they escape their pursuers ? Under any other general they

could not have escaped; but they had Washington for their leader; and he was the heart, strength, and soul of the Revolution. Finding that he could not hold New Jersey, he was forced at last (December 8, 1776) to cross the Delaware at Trenton. The British would have pushed on after him; but the American general had thought of that, and had seized every boat for nearly a hundred miles up and down the river. All the British could do was to sit down on the bank and wait for the stream to freeze over.

Not long after Washington had reached Pennsylvania in safety

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the false-hearted Lee crossed the Hudson and marched with four thousand men toward Morristown, New Jersey. While he was asleep in a tavern, several miles from his men, a squad of British soldiers surprised and captured him. His army thus fortunately rid of him, advanced and found an opportunity to join Washington.

174. The Victory of Trenton. – On Christmas night (1776) Washington, with a force of less than twenty-five hundred men, re-crossed the Delaware then full of floating ice — and marched on Trenton in a furious snow-storm. There he surprised a body of Hessian soldiers, and took a thousand prisoners and a large quantity of arms and ammunition.

All this he did with scarce the loss of a man. It was not only a bold stroke, but a great victory, because it had great results. Thousands of patriots had begun to despair ; now their hearts leaped with joy. It was a Christmas long to be remembered.

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175. What Robert Morris did for Washington. - But it was near the end of the year; the time for which many of Wash

ington's men had enlisted would Süites Balmes be out in a few days, and he No 4554) Six DOLLARS. needed money to get them to THIS Bill entitles the

re-enlist. Congress had indeed tried hard to manufacture

money. It had printed bills 2 WGibson I Fankern

by the wagon-load. But the poor soldiers, barefooted, halfstarved, ragged and miserable,

did not want what Congress Continental Money.

offered them. They had left wives and children at home who were crying for bread, and

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1 See note 3, page 163.

2 These bills were called " Continental Currency"; they finally became utterly worthless, so that it was said of anything absolutely good for nothing that it was “ not worth a Continental."

CORNWALLIS OUTWITTED.

171

the men wanted to send them something that would buy it. They knew by sad experience that a dollar-bill issued by a government that had no silver or gold to make it good was worth just as much as any other dingy scrap of paper of the same size - and worth no more.

Washington sympathized with the men. He felt that on this occasion he must have money that had the genuine ring in it. He wrote to his friend Robert Morris, merchant and banker, of Philadelphia, imploring him to send him $50,000 in hard cash. Morris set out on New Year's morning (1777) before it was light, went from house to house, roused his friends from their beds, and at last got the money. He sent it forthwith to Washington. It was as good as another victory. It saved the army.

176. Cornwallis outwitted ; Victory of Princeton ; Winter Quarters at Morristown; coming of Lafayette, De Kalb, and Steuben.-Cornwallis, leaving part of his force at Princeton, New Jersey, hurried south to catch Washington. He found him between Trenton and the Delaware. That night the British general went to sleep, certain that Washington could not get away. How indeed could he hope to escape, with the British army in front and a broad, deep river full of floating ice behind him? Cornwallis told his brother officers that they would " bag the old fox” in the morning. While the English general lay dreaming, Washington like an “old fox” crept stealthily round him, and got to Princeton. In the battle there (January 3, 1777), the American advance force was driven back. Just then Washington came up. He saw that if beaten our army would be lost. Calling on his troops to follow him, Washington rode to within thirty yards of the British force, and stood facing the foe exposed to the fire of both sides. For some moments he was completely hidden from sight by the smoke of the battle. When it listed both sides expected to find that he had fallen; but he was unhurt; not a bullet had touched him. Our men, inspired by the bravery of their commander, defeated the enemy with heavy loss to the British ; and soon after, Washington and his little army made themselves snug and safe in the hills about Morristown, in northern New Jersey.

Cornwallis knew that he could not drive Washington out of his strong position without a desperate battle, so he hurried back to New Brunswick, New Jersey, for fear that the Americans would cut him off from his supplies at New York City.

Washington spent the rest of the winter of 1777 at Morristown, raising new troops and getting his army into good fighting condition. The next spring the Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman of nineteen, came from Paris to offer his services to the cause of American liberty. He became one of Washington's generals,

and not only gave his services to the country, but equipped many of the men under his command with arms and clothing furnished at his own pense. Lafayette brought with him Baron de Kalb, a German military veteran, who also became a general in the United States army.

Later, Baron Ft.Edward z

Steuben, a Prussian military enStillwale

gineer, joined the Americans and made himself of the greatest use in drilling and disciplining our troops.

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177. Burgoyne's Expedition ; Battle of Bennington. - In the summer of 1777 the British made a new move. General Burgoyne," who had gone to Canada, marched down with eight thousand picked men by way of Lake Champlain, and took Fort

1 See Paragraph 163. Burgoyne returned to England from Boston in the autumn of 1775. In June, 1776, he came over to America to serve under Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander of Canada.

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