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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.
Brunswic, 30 November, 1776.
I have been honored with your favor of the 26th, and with the enclosures, by which I perceive the measures that have been adopted for forwarding a reinforcement of militia. Their arrival is much to be wished, the situation of our affairs being truly alarming, and such as demands the earliest aids.1 As General Mifflin’s presence may have a happy influence on the disposition and temper of many of the Associators, I shall not direct his return so long as he can be done without, and till it becomes indispensably necessary.2 On Thursday morning I left Newark, and arrived here yesterday with the troops that were there. It was the opinion of all the generals, who were with me, that a retreat to this place was requisite, and founded in necessity, as our force was by no means sufficient to make a stand, with the least probability of success, against an enemy much superior in numbers, and whose advanced guards were entering the town by the time our rear got out. It was the wish of all to have remained there longer, and to have halted before we came thus far; but, upon due consideration of our strength, the circumstances attending the enlistment of a great part of our little force, and the frequent advices, that the enemy were embarking or about to embark another detachment for Staten Island, with a view of landing at Amboy to coöperate with this, which seemed to be confirmed by the information of some persons, who came from the island, that they were collecting and impressing all the wagons they could find, it was judged necessary to proceed till we came here, not only to prevent their bringing a force to act upon our front and rear, but also that we might be more convenient to oppose any troops they might land at South Amboy, which may be conjectured to be an object they had in view. This conjecture, too, had probability and some advices to support it.1
I hoped we should meet with large and early succors by this time; but as yet no great number of the militia of this State has come in; nor have I much reason to expect, that any considerable aid will be derived from the counties, which lie beyond this river, and in which the enemy are. Their situation will prevent it in a great measure from those parts where they are, provided the inclinations of the people were good. Added to this, I have no assurances, that more than a very few of the troops composing the Flying Camp will remain after the time of their engagement is out; so far from it, I am told, that some of General Ewing’s brigade, who stand engaged to the 1st of January, are now going away. If those go whose service expires this day, our force will be reduced to a mere handful. From intelligence received this morning, one division of the enemy was advanced last night as far as Elizabethtown, and that some of their quartermasters had proceeded about four or five miles on this side, to provide barns for their accommodation. Other accounts say another division, composed of Hessians, are on the road through Springfield, and are reported to have reached that place last night. I do not know how far their views extend; but I doubt not, that they mean to push every advantage resulting from the small number and state of our troops. I early began to forward part of the stores from this place towards Philadelphia. Many are gone; the rest we are moving, and hope to secure. I am, &c.1
P. S. I have wrote to Govr. Livingston who is exerting himself to throw in every assistance and to have guards placed at the ferries to prevent the return of the soldiers who are not discharged.2
[1 ]The associators in the city and liberties of Philadelphia, and in the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, and Northampton, were to be called out, to serve for six weeks from the time of joining the army, unless sooner discharged. The German battalion was also ordered to join Washington. This order was countermanded on the 27th, but was again renewed on December 1st, some delay arising in calling out the associators.
[2 ]On the 28th a meeting of the Council of Safety and Assembly was held at the State House, with David Rittenhouse presiding. Marshall reports that “It’s said Gen. Mifflin spoke animatedly pleasing, which gave great satisfaction.” See Mifflin to Washington, 26 November, 1776; Force, American Archives, Fifth Series, iii., 852.
[1 ]“Resolved, That General Washington be informed that he has the full approbation of Congress to order the troops on the east side of Hudson’s river over to the west side of that River, whenever he shall think it conducive to the public service so to do.”—Journals of Congress, 1 December, 1776.
[1 ]By a despatch from General Howe, dated November 30th, it would appear, that it was not his expectation to cross the Delaware during the present campaign. He considered it essential to gain a footing in New Jersey, where he might quarter a large body of troops for the winter, with the advantage of obtaining shelter, forage, and fresh provisions. In the same despatch he proposed a plan for the next campaign, in which he contemplated extensive operations, an incursion into Rhode Island and Massachusetts and if possible the possession of Boston, an ascent up the North River to Albany, and an attack on Philadelphia and Virginia in the autumn. To effect this scheme he required thirty-five thousand men. The rapid retreat of the American army across New Jersey gave him fresh hopes of further successes, but these were defeated by the battle of Trenton. Meantime he suggested another plan to the minister, for the next campaign, which had for its chief object the reduction of Pennsylvania. The want of sufficient reinforcements from Great Britain prevented either of them from being put into execution according to the original design. See Sir William Howe’s Narrative, p. 9. Almon’s Parliamentary Register, vol. xi., pp. 361, 371.
[2 ]“The time of General Heard’s brigade of flying campmen for this State and that of General Beale’s from Maryland expires today, so that the army will, by that means suffer a considerable diminution. But what is still worse, altho’ most of the Pennsylvanians are enlisted till the first of January, I am informed that they are deserting in great numbers. I therefore entreat that you would without loss of time, give orders to the officers of militia on the roads and the ferries over Delaware to take up and secure every soldier that has not a regular discharge or pass. In order to effect this, proper guards should be immediately posted.”—Washington to Governor Livingston, 30 November, 1776.