Tagged: AmericanRevolution

The Battle of Bennington

In mid August, 1777, British General John Burgoyne’s plan to capture Albany and the Hudson River valley, which would separate New England from the Middle and Southern colonies, was beginning to suffer from logistical problems. In addition to gunpowder and food, his army was in desperate need of horses. To remedy this, he dispatched LieutCol Frederich Baum and 800 Hessians, mostly dismounted dragoons, to the town of Bennington, Vermont which he expected to be defended by no more than the remnants of Seth Warner’s brigade of Green Mountain Boys, at most 400 men.

Unfortunately for the Hessians, John Stark was commissioned by the state of New Hampshire to raise a force of militia to protect the area. John Stark was a former Lieutenant in Roger’s Rangers, a former Continental Army Colonel (he resigned and returned to New Hampshire after being passed over for Brigadier General), and Hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, where his men defeated a flanking attack across the Mystic River beach (which forced the costly frontal attacks) and then led the rear guard as the Americans withdrew. Stark had an uncanny ability to predict his foe’s maneuvers. He would do the same again against Baum.

Stark had twice as many men as Baum, nearly 1600, and moved on the Hessian column upon discovering it. Both sides received militia and Indian reinforcements but Baum didn’t know the area and moved into a defensive position on a hill to await more reinforcements from Burgoyne. Stark’s militia immediately surrounded the position.

On the morning of 16 August 1777, John Stark addressed his troops, “Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

Molly Stark did not sleep a widow that night.

Unlike American militia in most Revolutionary War battles, Stark’s men from Vermont and New Hampshire fought as well as any regular from the Continental Line, and engaged the Hessians, Loyalists, and Indians at bayonet and saber point all afternoon. Just after the mortally wounded Baum surrendered, Hessian reinforcements from Burgoyne arrived, and they too were savaged, escaping only because night fell.

At Bennington, Burgoyne lost over a thousand men. Even worse, the remainder of his expedition was cut off from any forage and isolated in the wilderness of Northern New York. Burgoyne had no choice but to move on Albany as fast as possible, lest his men starve, or freeze to death later in the year from a lack of winter quarters.

Major General Lafayette and (soon to be) Major General DeKalb

In 1776 and early 1777, the US Ambassador to France, Silas Deane, was handing out promises of commission to any man with military experience who was willing to travel to America to join Washington’s Continental Army, which was in desperate need of trained and experienced officers. Unfortunately, most were long on resume and short on actual experience. However, in April 1777, two officers ran the British blockade in a private ship and arrived in Charlestown, South Carolina in late June.

The first was a giant bear of a man, the 56 year old Johann von Robais de Kalb, better known as Baron DeKalb. DeKalb was the son of a Bavarian shoemaker and a career soldier. At 16, he left home to join a German regiment in the French Army and served with distinction in the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel and made a noble for his exploits. After 30 years of service, he retired in 1764, but found that civilian life in a small estate outside Versailles with his rich French wife didn’t suit him. In 1767, he traveled to America as part of a clandestine French mission to assess the possibility of the thirteen North American colonies rebelling against Great Britain. He was so impressed with the American people that he decided he would join their inevitable revolution. He got his chance in 1777, when he met a young man of similar ambitions — Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.Lafayette was DeKalb’s opposite in every way. The slight Lafayette was just 18 in 1777. At the age of 14, just four years previously, he married a relative of the King of France, and was commissioned a sous-lieutenant in the King’s Musketeers, and soon a lieutenant in the dragoons. He was as deficient in military matters as DeKalb was experienced. But he was as dedicated to the American cause as DeKalb after a dinner party in which the disgruntled Duke of Gloucester, King George III’s brother, expressed support for the rebellion. However France was actively trying to stay out of the American Revolution and as a relative of the French king was forbidden to depart. So the extraordinarily wealthy teenage Lafayette just went to Spain with DeKalb and several other officers destined for service in America, and bought a ship. 

The “Victorie” took the men across the Atlantic and Lafayette bought coaches to take them to Philadelphia, where they planned to collect Silas’ promised commissions as major generals. But Washington had been burned by adventurers with imaginary exploits who convinced Deane they were something they weren’t, and Continental Congress couldn’t afford to pay a general’s salary to someone who wasn’t. They refused to honor Deane’s promises.

The rich Lafayette offered to serve for no pay. This, and the timely intercession of Ben Franklin by correspondence, won over the Continental Congress, who was still debating the merits of turning away so well connected a Frenchman. On 31 July 1777, the 19 year old Marquis de Lafayette became the youngest major general in the history of the US Army, an accomplishment that still holds today. He received his commission exactly 18 years after his father, a colonel of grenadiers, was killed at the Battle of Minden fighting the Prussians in the Seven Years War. Lafayette departed to assume a position on Washington’s staff shortly thereafter.

Lafayette’s commission infuriated DeKalb. The proud and quiet, but equally competent German was much more qualified for a commission as a major general than the young Lafayette (and all of the Continental generals, and even Washington for that matter…) He had grown fond of the Frenchman, who looked to DeKalb as a mentor and great friend, but the slight couldn’t stand. He lobbied for a commission for a month before the large and thoroughly exasperated German burst into Congress and demanded his commission, laying out his extensive military career to the aghast assembly. Still they refused. The resigned DeKalb finally requested payment to return to France, which he implied was the least bit of recompense for a breach of trust between himself and the fledgling nation. On 17 September 1777, the ashamed Congress relented, and the next day, DeKalb left for Washington’s staff to eventually take command of two Massachusetts’ brigades on the left of the Continental Line.

MG DeKalb added much needed professionalism to the Continental Army. When Washington ordered the army into winter quarters at Valley Forge later that year, DeKalb was instrumental in the training and discipline of the Continental Army. Unfortunately, history would award his fellow German, Baron Von Steuben, the lion’s share of the credit for the professionalization of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, but it couldn’t have been done without DeKalb.

For the next two years DeKalb would be Washington’s most trusted and stalwart division commander, and always in the thick of the fighting. DeKalb was tragically killed during the disaster at Camden in 1780, fighting to the last with his regulars, as Horacio Gates’ militia fled the British and Tory bayonets.

MG Lafayette would follow a different course. Lafayette had come to America “not to teach, but to learn” and this greatly impressed Washington. He inserted himself wherever he was needed. The young man would become the son Washington never had. Despite his youth, Washington trusted Lafayette with his most difficult and sensitive commands and missions. For example, Washington entrusted the young 19 year old with an invasion of Canada in 1778, which was cancelled at Lafayette’s request due to lack of supplies and men. However, “The Fearsome Horseman” as he was known among the native tribes, brought the Oneida nation over to the American cause, whose support would be much needed in Sullivan’s Iroquois campaign the next year. Lafayette would be hugely influential in the delicate negotiations with France to coordinate a common strategy after France’s entry into the war. Lafayette would fight for America wherever and whenever needed for the rest of the war, and it was his independent command that maneuvered Cornwallis into a box at Yorktown.

After the war, Lafayette would return to France and continue his service in the name of Liberty. He would be one of the few nobles not exiled, or executed by the guillotine during the French Revolution. He stood firm for a representative government in France, and was one of Napoleon’s few political enemies after his rise to emperor. Lafayette continued his quest after the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. It was a 70 year old Lafayette at the barricades as head of the National Guard during the Revolution of 1830. Afterwards, he turned down an offer as dictator after the royalist troops were routed.

Lafayette died in 1834 a hero to both America and France. He was buried in a French cemetery, but underneath soil taken by his son, Georges Washington, from Bunker Hill, whose memorial Lafayette dedicated.

At a eulogy in America, former president John Quincy Adams said of Lafayette, he was, “high on the list of the pure and disinterested benefactors of mankind”

America Passes Into Its Next Era

By 1826, the American “Era of Good Feelings” that came about after its perceived victory in the War of 1812 was over a decade old. The underdog victory over the British, the collapse of the Federalist Party after the treasonous Hartford Convention, and the defeat of Native Americans at Tippecanoe, Fallen Timbers, and Horseshoe Bend, which opened up the West, led to an era when the people referred to themselves not as “Virginians” or “Pennsylvanians”, but as “Americans”. The American System survived the Panic of 1819, the worst of America’s early recessions, stronger than before. Francis Scott Key’s “The Defense of Fort McHenry” was being sung in taverns across the country to the tune of an old British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”. But the Era of Good Feelings among Americans was not destined to last.

Some people in America still believed they were entitled to the fruits of other men and women’s labor and expertise without just compensation. Moreover, they believed that those same people were considered property and that their Natural and Unalienable Rights were the product of a man made government, not the Providence of God or whatever deity they worshiped. Ergo, these slaves did not benefit from the Rule of Law as promised in the US Declaration of Independence and codified in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The issue of Slavery (and to a lesser extent initially, the treatment of Native Americans in this vein) would dominate politics for the next thirty years.

By the mid-1820s, many of the American Founding Fathers had passed on. And most could not reconcile “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” with the institution of Slavery. The divisiveness was personified by two men, the best of friends and sometimes the worst of enemies, who were both on their deathbeds in July of 1826.

John Adams was America’s 2nd President and the product of strong independent rural Massachusetts’ farmers who saw human bondage as repugnant. John Adams never owned slaves, and he felt that slavery was economically inefficient (free men are always more productive than slaves) and would eventually cease. Nonetheless, he was not an abolitionist because he felt that abolitionism was antithetical to American unity.

His friend, Thomas Jefferson, the ironic author of the above passage in the Declaration of Independence and America’s 3rd President, was the product of an “enlightened” Virginia aristocratic class and a slave owner. A self-described racist, Jefferson felt that freed slaves had no place in American society, simply because of the cognitive dissonance of the passage of “all men are created equal” and the issue of Slavery. Jefferson believed that that inherent problem would cause freed slaves to become embittered with their masters and lead to the dissolution of the Union. He favored colonization of the inevitably freed slaves or their reparation back to Africa or the West Indies, as done by James Monroe and the creation of Liberia.

Both men wrestled with the issue of Slavery their entire lives. They led America through her most trying times, and defeated the greatest empire the world had ever seen despite overwhelming odds, not once but twice. But they could never agree on the issue of Slavery. For nearly six decades, they shepherded the nascent American state to the point where it could defend itself against any external threat. Unfortunately, they could not solve its most serious internal threat.

On 4 July 1826, two of America’s greatest proponents were near death, one 83 years old in Monticello Virginia, and the other 90 years old in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Exactly 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was read aloud on the steps of Pennsylvania State House, and printed for distribution at John Dunlap’s printing shop, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other.

Despite all of their accomplishments, there was much work left to do. Care for the American experiment passed to a new generation. The children of the Revolution, epitomized by the Tennessean adventurer, politician and soldier Andrew Jackson, would have to tackle the issue of Slavery. The children of the War of 1812, personified by Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S Grant, would have to settle it.

The Stars and Stripes

After the victories of Trenton and Princeton, the Continental Army swelled with new recruits and the skirmishing between foraging parties and raiding between patriots and loyalists over the winter and spring of 1777 was fierce. In early spring, LTG George Washington moved the Continental Army out of winter quarters and encamped at a strong position at Middlebrook, New Jersey to prevent Gen William Howe’s British Army in New York from moving on Philadelphia overland. 1777 was expected to be the decisive year. Washington needed every advantage he could muster and mitigate every issue possible. One small issue was the Continental Army’s colors.

The Grand Union Flag which by this time was carried by the majority of the Continental regulars caused quite a bit of confusion. It had a Union Jack in the upper left corner on a field of alternating red and white stripes. Many patriots disliked the flag by 1777. Some saw it as a loyalist flag, including British troops. Moreover, it didn’t look particularly different from the Union Jack on the battlefield. At the very least, the Grand Union flag didn’t symbolize a complete break from Great Britain as was promised by the Declaration of Independence. Washington needed a new flag. In response to Washington’s request, on 14 June 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first flag law. It read, “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

This resolution left quite a bit to the imagination, such as the size and location of the blue field, the position of the stars, even the shape of the flag and the direction of the stripes. These details were filled in, not by Betsy Ross as in the popular American myth, but by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration and Congressional delegate from New Jersey.

Hopkinson was a talented designer and had a keen interest in designing the symbols for the new Republic. It was his recommendation that the blue field with stars replace the Union Jack in the Grand Union flag carried by the Continental Army. Although his first design was not a circle but alternating columns of two and three stars. This meant that the current colors could easily be “fixed”, without the problems of sewing a brand new flag and replacing the existing ones. (Hopkinson would go on to design just about every American symbol from the Great Seal to the dollar bill.)

Whether the first original flag of the new United States of America was sewn by Betsy Ross is so far lost to history. The entire Betsy Ross story is based on a single written testimony by her grandson given nearly a hundred years later in 1870. The story is not backed up by any physical evidence or written records whatsoever: no committee records, no bills of payment, and no journal entries in anyone’s diary or memoirs. Nothing. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that there is no solid evidence for it at all. The first flag had to be sewn by someone, Betsy Ross is as good a choice as any, and better than most.

The British began their invasion of the United States the same day as the flag resolution, 14 Jun 1777, when Gen John Burgoyne and his Indian allies crossed into New York from Canada, and Howe began a series of maneuvers against Philadelphia. 1777 would be a momentous, if frustrating, year for America. To meet the threat, the Continental Army would have a new flag for her regiments to rally around: a flag of thirteen alternating red and white stripes with a blue field in the corner upon which there was a circle of thirteen white stars.

The original Stars and Stripes of the United States of America.

The Ride of Sybil Ludington and the Battle of Ridgefield

In late 1776, the Continental Congress established a supply depot at Danbury, Connecticut to support American efforts to repel the inevitable British invasion down the Hudson Valley from Canada. After the capture of New York, the British learned of the depot from loyalists. With near complete command of the sea they sent a raiding force to destroy the cache, before the Americans massed too many troops in the area which would surely happen after the snows melted in New England. (In fact, MG David Wooster, and BGs Benedict Arnold and Gold Silliman were in the area to do just that.)

On 25 April 1777, a Royal Navy flotilla landed a British/loyalist raiding force which marched on Danbury, not unlike the march on Concord two years before. That evening, a wounded and exhausted messenger arrived at the house of COL Henry Ludington, the local militia commander. Ludington immediately began organizing his men but the messenger could not go on, and like Paul Revere’s and Williams Dawes’ ride in 1776, it was necessary to alert the countryside to fully assemble the militia.

The task fell to Ludington’s sixteen year old daughter, Sybil, who mounted a horse and rode off into the rainy night to warn of the British advance. She first alerted Danbury, and then rode through Putnam and Dutchess counties in New York. Unlike the rides to warn of the British advance on Concord, Sybil’s ride was made in the face of constant loyalist danger. In all she rode 40 miles over eight hours (twice as long as Paul Revere), rallied the militia, avoided loyalists, and in at least one instance fought them off as she did so. 400 minutemen responded to Sybil’s call to arms, and she alerted the Continental Army generals.

Wooster’s Continentals and Ludington’s militia arrived in Danbury too late to save the depot. On the 26th, the raiding force destroyed the giant cache, and to teach the rebels a lesson they fired the town, completely destroying it. This infuriated the countryside, and more men flocked to Wooster and Ludington, who vowed to destroy the redcoats or chase them out of Connecticut.

The next day, several small skirmishes were fought with the withdrawing British, as more men descended upon the coast. Wooster caught up with the rear guard outside the town of Ridgefield. As the 67 year old Wooster led the attack, he yelled the famous last words of “Come on my boys! Never mind such random shots!” and as fate would have it, was mortally wounded. The unsuccessful attack however, did slow the British enough for a flanking party led by Benedict Arnold to establish a road block in town. The redcoats scattered the defenders with cannon fire, but Arnold took up command and with his characteristic energy drove the British out in disorder with a running gun battle down Main Street. After sniping and probing the British march the entire way, Arnold made one last attempt to attack the British on the beach, but the waiting ships’ guns and a timely bayonet charge allowed the British to escape.

The British destruction of Danbury and the use of cannon on Ridgefield infuriated the citizens of Connecticut and upper New York, whose population was previously divided evenly between rebels, loyalists, and undecideds. The destruction of the depot was a blow to Continental efforts in the area, but was quickly replaced with donations by patriots and fence sitters who were now dedicated to the American cause, and stores confiscated by patriots as the loyalists were driven out. Over 3000 Connecticuters volunteered for service in the Continental Army in early 1777, more than three times what Arnold was expecting to recruit from the area for the upcoming Hudson Valley campaign. The redcoats would no longer be able to raid so far inland in Connecticut. Future raids would be confined to the coastal towns.

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

On the night of 18/19 April 1775, the British sent out patrols to stop the American early warning system of outriders rousing the countryside of an impending attack (usually French and Indian) that had been in use since at least Queen Anne’s War, 70 years before. But both Paul Revere and William Dawes avoided the patrols and reached Lexington just after midnight. They warned Sam Adams and John Hancock and every house they passed. They then departed for Concord and on the way Paul Revere was captured, but by then Adams and Hancock were safe, and Concord was warned by Dawes and another rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon more than forty riders spread out all over New England warning that, “The regulars are coming”.

In Lexington, CPT John Parker mustered his minuteman company (fully ¼ were his relatives) and sent out men to watch the road from Lechmere Point. After taking roll, they retired to Buckman’s Tavern to await word from the scouts. Five hours later at dawn, Maj. John Pitcairn with the advanced guard of Lieut. Col. Smith’s column entered the town. Parker formed his men in plain sight on Lexington Green but did not block the regulars’ passage to Concord. As Pitcairn turned off the road instead of continuing on, Parker said, “Hold your fire, but if they mean to have a war, let it start here.”

An officer rode up to Parker’s 70 man company and told them to disperse, as 180 regulars behind him fixed bayonets and continued to advance. Parker felt that their stand had shown the regulars that the Americans were serious, and wishing no unnecessary bloodshed, told his men to disperse. But during the tense standoff, a shot rang out from an unknown source. The British fired a volley followed by a bayonet charge which routed Parker’s men. Eight Americans were killed, ten wounded, and one British soldier was slightly wounded. Pitcairn’s men rejoined Smith’s column and continued on to Concord.

As the British moved towards Concord, they heard shots fired warning of their approach and observed the American minutemen watching them from outside of musket range. At 8 am, Smith’s column arrived at Concord. 400 Americans were formed up on the hill across the Concord River northwest of town but were not actually in the town. So the British searched it and found cannon and gun carriages, which they disabled and burned on the green. They also learned of vast stores of powder at Barrett’s Farm, the route to which was blocked by the Americans.

Smith decided to move on to the farm fully expecting to rout the rebels just as his men did at Lexington. But as they approached the Old North Bridge, the British noticed the Rebels also approached. The Americans saw the smoke and thought that the British were setting fire to Concord and were determined to stop it. Fire was exchanged and the British, faced by superior numbers of Americans, couldn’t force their way across the bridge.

Smith then realized the grave situation his exhausted men were in (they had been up all night and had already marched nearly 20 miles) and ordered a retreat back to Boston. But by then thousands of minutemen were streaming in from all over Massachusetts. They lined the road back to Boston (now known as “Battle Road”) shooting at the British from behind trees and stone walls as they passed. Only the aggressive nature of the troops he commanded saved Smith’s column from complete annihilation. The British light infantry and grenadiers that made up the raiding force were the best soldiers in General Gage’s army. Despite exhaustion, they continually sent out flanking patrols and conducted pulse charges to engage the Rebels and break up any concentrations along the route. Still, hundreds were killed and wounded.

At 3 pm Smith’s column reached Lexington where it met a much needed relief column from Boston. However, the British didn’t tarry long and after a brief respite outside of Munro’s Tavern to consolidate, reorganize and wait for stragglers, they continued on. More than four thousand American minutemen were in the area, and more on the way. The column arrived back in Boston at dusk, protected by the guns of the Royal Navy. The British marched 41 miles on 19 April and fought a running battle most of the time. It is estimated that some marched over 50 miles along the way trying to engage the Rebels.

Within days, 15,000 American militiamen surrounded and laid siege to the British inside Boston, some from as far away as Connecticut and New Hampshire. America had just picked a fight with the most powerful nation on the planet. The American Revolution had begun.

Two If By Sea

By 1775, the British Prime Minister, Lord North, had had enough. He and Parliament had made conciliatory gestures to the troublesome North American colonies twice already. The first by repealing the Stamp Act in 1766 and the second by repealing the Townsend Acts in 1770. He was not going to do the same with the Coercive Acts. In February 1775, Parliament and King George III declared the Massachusetts Colony in a State of Rebellion.

In April 1775, General Thomas Gage, the Governor General of Massachusetts and commander of the occupying army in Boston, correctly believed that the radical patriot group Sons of Liberty were behind most of the overt acts of rebellion and the nucleus of the shadow government, the Massachusetts Provincial Council, which controlled most of the colony outside of Boston. The council was raising rebel “minuteman companies” of militia (because they said they were ready to fight at a minute’s notice) to oppose the British.

On of 17 April 1775, Gage received intelligence that two of the Sons of Liberty’s most important leaders, Sam Adams and John Hancock, were in Lexington, 12 miles away. Also, there were cannon, gunpowder and muskets for the minuteman companies located further up the road at Concord. As he had several times before, Gage organized a column of troops to go and seize the stores from the rebels. But this time, he had the chance to seize the leadership of the Sons of Liberty. Every regiment he commanded wanted to take part in the raid. So he assembled the light and grenadier companies from the ten different regiments in his army. The next day, he received permission to seize the rebels and their stores.

At 9 pm on 18 April 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren informed two of the few remaining Sons of Liberty in Boston, William Dawes and Paul Revere, of the raid. Dr. Warren told them to watch the Old North Church and if they saw one lantern in steeple, the British raiding force was moving via the Boston Neck; if there were two lanterns, they moved by boat across the Charles River estuary. Revere and Dawes would then alert the countryside of the British Army’s movements and raise the minuteman companies.

At 10 pm, the 700 troops under Lieut. Col. Francis Smith and his executive officer, Major John Pitcairn, loaded barges off of the Boston Commons. Dr. Warren immediately had two lanterns placed in Old North Church, and Revere and Dawes departed for Lexington, rousing minute companies along the way. The British landed at Lechmere Point at 11pm and began their march on Lexington and Concord.

The Battle of Princeton

240 Years Ago Today. The Battle of Princeton. On 2 January 1777, Lord Cornwallis counterattacked after the loss of Trenton and his vanguard was repulsed by the Continental Army at Assunpink Creek. Washington, knowing he couldn’t hold against the main British force in the morning, faked camping for the night, and escaped just as he had done several times before. He marched around Cornwallis’ army. The next day, the Continental Army approached Princeton, hoping to destroy the British army from behind and seize Cornwallis’ war chest of 70,000 pounds sterling at New Brunswick.

But the British and Americans stumbled upon each other just south of the city and American BG Hugh Mercer immediately attacked. Both sides attempted to seize a small hill topped by an orchard, a position each thought they could hold until reinforcements arrived. The Americans occupied it first but after a single volley the British closed with bayonets. Most of Mercer’s men are woodsmen from central and western Pennsylvania, and their rifles, while accurate, lacked bayonets and were slow loading. In an attempt to inspire his men in the ensuing melee, Mercer took on nine redcoats with his saber before being stabbed to death. The rest of his broke. 

Washington, who was just bit farther up the column arrived with the main body of the Continental army, and rallied Mercer’s men 30 meters from the advancing British. Volleys were exchanged but miraculously Washington was not hit. A tough battle ensued, but the Americans went straight from the march into the attack and overwhelmed the them. The British attempted to make a stand in the Nassau Hall inside the town but several round shot from Henry Knox’s guns (including one which legend says decapitated a painting of King George II, and gleefully fired by the battery commanded by a young CPT Alexander Hamilton, whose application was rejected by Princeton) dissuaded them. For the rest of the battle, the British couldn’t establish a defensive position, and were eventually routed off the field.

As Cornwallis approached from Trenton, Washington dismantled the bridge into the city over the fast moving and freezing Stony Brook. The exasperated Lord Cornwallis, who had been out maneuvered by Washington and out fought by the Continentals three times in the last ten days, returned to New York and abandoned New Jersey. The exhausted but intact Continental Army entered winter quarters in Morristown. Washington ended the otherwise disastrous 1776 campaign in the middle colonies on a high note, and now with all of southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania open to his victorious recruiters. Money, supplies, and promises of credit poured into the Continental Congress. 

Gen Washington considered the Battle of Princeton one of his proudest moments.