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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. V (1776-1777).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Hackensack, 19 November, 1776.
I have not been yet able to obtain a particular account of the unhappy affair of the 16th; nor of the terms on which the garrison surrendered. The intelligence that has come to hand, is not so full and accurate as I could wish. One of the artillery, and whose information is most direct, who escaped on Sunday night, says, the enemy’s loss was very considerable, especially in the attack made above the Fort by the division of Hessians that marched from Kingsbridge, and where Lieut. Colo. Rawlings, of the late Colo. Stevenson’s Regiment, was posted. They burnt yesterday one or two houses on the Heights and contiguous to the Fort, and appeared by advices from General Greene, to be moving in the evening their main body down towards the City. Whether they will close the Campaign without attempting something more, or make an incursion into Jersey, must be determined by the events themselves.
As Fort Lee was always considered as only necessary in conjunction with that on the east side of the River, to preserve the communication across, and to prevent the enemy from a free navigation, it has become of no importance by the loss of the other, or not so material as to employ a force for its defences. Being viewed in this light, and apprehending that the stores there would be precariously situated, their removal has been determined on to Bound Brook, above Brunswick, Prince Town, Springfield and Acquankinac Bridge, as places that will not be subject to sudden danger in case the enemy should pass the River, and which have been thought proper, as a repository for some of our stores of provisions and forage.
The troops belonging to the Flying Camp, under Genls. Heard and Beall, with what remains of Genl. Ewing’s brigade, are now at Fort Lee, where they will continue till the stores are got away. By the time that is effected, their term of enlistment will be near expiring, and if the enemy should make a push in this quarter, the only troops that there will be to oppose ’em, will be Hand’s, Hazlet’s, the Regiments from Virginia, and that lately Smallwood’s,—the latter greatly reduced by the losses it sustained on Long Island, &c, and sickness. Nor are the rest by any means complete. In addition to these, I am told there are a few of the Militia of this State, which have been called in by Governor Livingston. I shall make such a disposition of the whole at Brunswick, and at the intermediate posts as shall seem most likely to guard against the designs of the enemy, and to prevent them making an irruption, or foraging with detached parties.
The inclosed letter from Cols. Miles and Atlee will shew Congress the distressed situation of our prisoners in New York, and will become greater every day by the cold, inclement Season that is Approaching. It will be happy if some expedient can be adopted by which they may be furnished with necessary blankets and cloathing. Humanity and the good of the service require it. I think the mode suggested by these gentlemen for establishing a credit, appears as likely to succeed, and as eligible as any that occurs to me. It is probable, many articles that may be wanted, can be obtained there, and upon better terms than elsewhere. In respect to provision their allowance perhaps is as good as the situation of General Howe’s stores will admit of. It has been said of late, by deserters and others, that they were rather scant.
By a letter from the paymaster general of the 17th, he says there will be a necessity that large and early remittances should be made him. The demands, when the Troops now in service, are dismissed, will be extremely great; besides the bounty to recruits will require a large supply and he adds that the Commissary General has informed him, that between this and the last of December he shall have occasion for a million of dollars.
21st—The unhappy affair of the 16th has been succeeded by further misfortunes. Yesterday morning a large body of the Enemy landed between Dobb’s Ferry and Fort Lee.1 Their object was evidently to inclose the whole of our troops and stores that lay between the North and Heckenseck Rivers, which form a very narrow neck of land. For this purpose they formed and marched as soon as they had ascended the high ground towards the Fort. Upon the first information of their having landed and of their movements, our men were ordered to meet them, but finding their numbers greatly superior and that they were extending themselves to seize on the passes over the River, it was thought prudent to withdraw our men, which was effected and their retreat secured. We lost the whole of the cannon that was at the Fort, except two twelve pounders, and a great deal of baggage—between two and three hundred tents, about a thousand barrells of flour and other stores in the Quarter Master’s department. This loss was inevitable. As many of the Stores has been removed as circumstances and time would admit of; the Ammunition had been happily got away. Our present situation between Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, being exactly similar to our late one, and our force here by no means adequate to an opposition that will promise the smallest probability of success, we are taking measures to retire over the waters of the latter, where the best disposition will be formed that circumstances will admit of.
By Colo. Cadwalader, who has been permitted by Genl. Howe to return to his friends,1 I am informed the surrender of the garrison on the 16th was on the common terms, as prisoners of War; the loss of the Hessians about Three hundred privates and Twenty seven officers, killed and wounded, about Forty of the British troops and two or three officers. The loss on our side but inconsiderable. * * *
Your favor of the 16th was duly received. My Letter to the Board of War on the subject of the return of the Waldeckers I presume you will have seen.1
[1 ]Grayson described the landing-place as Closter Dock, “nearly opposite to Philip’s house.”
[1 ]Colonel Cadwalader was immediately released without parole by Sir William Howe, at the instance of General Prescott, who, when a prisoner in Philadelphia, had received civilities from Colonel Cadwalader’s father.
[1 ]Read in Congress November 23d. On the 15th Congress had given Washington “leave to negotiate an enchange of the foreign troops in the pay of Great Britain, that are prisoners to these States.”