Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777)
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TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - 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 GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
I was a few days ago favored with yours of the 30th of last month; and this is the first opportunity, that has afforded me the pleasure of answering it. The event has shown, that my opinion of General Howe’s intentions to make an excursion into Jersey was not ill founded. Immediately after the reduction of Fort Washington, he threw a body of men, consisting of about six thousand, over the North River, with an intention to surprise the garrison of Fort Lee; but they withdrew before he could accomplish his purpose. Finding the few troops I had with me insufficient to oppose the enemy, and knowing that my numbers would still be diminished by the expiration of the service of the Flying Camp men from Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, which would take place on the last day of November, it was determined to retreat as far as Brunswic, where I hoped to receive a reinforcement from the militia of the State of New Jersey, sufficient to check the further progress of the enemy. But in this I was cruelly disappointed. The inhabitants of this State, either from fear or disaffection, almost to a man, refused to turn out; and I could not bring together above one thousand men; and even on these very little dependence was to be put. My numbers were now reduced to three thousand men, and that of the enemy considerably increased by fresh reinforcements. I had sent General Mifflin down to Philadelphia, to raise what force he could in that province, and to send them on with all speed to my assistance. I fell down myself to Trenton, in order to wait for supplies, hoping that such numbers would come on from Pennsylvania as would enable me to turn upon the enemy, and recover most of the ground, which they had gained. General Mifflin was very successful with the militia of Philadelphia, who turned out in a very spirited manner, and he immediately marched about fifteen hundred men up to Trenton; but the remainder of the province continues in a state of supineness; nor do I see any likelihood of their stirring to save their own capital, which is undoubtedly General Howe’s great object.1
The Delaware now parts the two armies; and nothing hinders the passage of the enemy, but the want of boats, which we have been lucky enough to secure. General Lee is still in the rear of the enemy, with about four thousand men, with whom he is on his march to join me. If he can effect this junction, our army will again make a respectable appearance, and such as, I hope, will disappoint the enemy in their plan upon Philadelphia. I sent down General Putnam, a few days ago, to begin upon some works for the defence of that city, upon the salvation of which our cause almost depends. I am informed, that the enlistment of the new army goes on very successfully to the eastward and southward. Little or nothing can be expected from New York or Jersey, which are, for the most part, in the hands of the enemy. Every thing must depend upon the regular force we can bring into the field in the spring; for I find, from fatal experience, that militia serve only to delude us.
As my distance from the eastern governments makes me ignorant of their present circumstances, I will not undertake to direct the disposition of the four regiments, you have ordered to be raised till the 15th of March. I would only recommend, if they can be spared, that they should march and take post at the Highlands and at the forts upon the North River, as much depends still upon keeping possession of the upper part of that river. I highly approve of your plan for supplying your new army with necessaries. Our old one has suffered considerably for the want of some such wholesome regulations; and you may depend upon my giving due countenance to such a commendable scheme. I am, with great truth and sincerity, Sir, yours, &c.1
[1 ]“We have been endeavoring to draw a force together to check General Howe’s progress; but the militia of New Jersey have been so frighted, and the Pennsylvania militia so disaffected, that our endeavors have been ineffectual. . . . The militia of the city of Philadelphia are the only people that have shown a disposition to support the cause.”—Greene to his wife, 16 December, 1776. “The fright and disaffection were so great in the Jerseys, that, in our retreat of one hundred and odd miles, we were never joined by more than a hundred men.”—Greene to Governor Cooke.
[1 ]“The enclosed lists, which I have taken the liberty of transmitting, comprehend the officers belonging to your army, who were returned on the 4th, 7th, and 8th current by Colonel Moylan, in pursuance of my direction. I have affixed X against their names such belonging to us, as I wish to have released, and who are of the same rank, except in the instance of Colonel Allen. His exchange, on account of his long imprisonment, I have been particularly instructed to propose. The officers, whose enlargement I now require, are chiefly on parole, and of those who were sent from Canada by General Carleton. In respect to the privates, you will be pleased to direct an equal number to be returned, out of those who were made prisoners on Long Island on the 27th of August, including six volunteers described in one of the lists. I thank you for the ready attention, that was given to the return of Major Bird and others who came out with him, in exchange for the officers, who went from Brunswic; but I must request, that, upon any future occasion, the particular officers to be returned shall be of my appointment, or some person authorized for the purpose.