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TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON. - 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 JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Camp, near the Falls of Trenton,
Owing to the number of letters I write, the recollection of any particular one is destroyed, but I think my last to you was by Colonel Woodford, from Hackinsac. Since that time, and a little before, our affairs have taken an adverse turn, but not more than was to be expected from the unfortunate measures, which had been adopted for the establishment of our army. The Retreat of the Enemy from the White Plains led me to think, that they would turn their thoughts to the Jerseys, if no farther, and induced me to cross the North River with some of the Troops, in order if possible to oppose them. I expected to have met at least five thousand men of the Flying Camp and militia; instead of which I found less than one half of that number, and no disposition in the Inhabitants to afford the least aid. This being perfectly well known to the Enemy, they threw over a large body of Troops, which pushed us from place to place, till we were obliged to cross the Delaware with less than three thousand men fit for duty, owing to the dissolution of our force by short Enlistments; the Enemy’s numbers, from the best accounts, exceeding ten or twelve thousand men.
Before I removed to the south side of the river, I had all the Boats and other Vessels brought over, or destroyed, from Philadelphia upwards for seventy miles, and, by guarding the Fords, I have, as yet, baffled all their attempts to cross. But, from some late movement of theirs, I am left in doubt whether they are moving off for Winter-Quarters, or making a feint to throw us off our guard. Since I came on this side, I have been joined by about two thousand of the city militia, and I understand, that some of the country militia, (from the back counties,) are on their way. But we are in a very disaffected part of the Province; and, between you and me, I think our affairs are in a very bad situation; not so much from the apprehension of General Howe’s army, as from the defection of New York, Jerseys, and Pennsylvania. In short, the conduct of the Jerseys has been most Infamous. Instead of turning out to defend their country, & affording aid to our army, they are making their submissions as fast as they can. If the Jerseys had given us any support, we might have made a stand at Hackinsac, and after that at Brunswic; but the few militia, that were in arms, disbanded themselves & left the poor remains of our army to make the best we could of it.
I have no doubt but General Howe will still make an attempt upon Philadelphia this winter. I see nothing to oppose him a fortnight hence, as the time of all the troops, except those of Virginia reduced (almost to nothing,) and Smallwood’s Regiment of Maryland, equally as bad, will expire in less than that time. In a word, my dear Sir, if every nerve is not strained to recruit the new army with all possible expedition, I think the game is pretty near up, owing, in a great measure, to the insidious arts of the Enemy, and disaffection of the colonies before mentioned, but principally to the accursed policy of short enlistments, and placing too great a dependence on the militia, the evil consequences of which were foretold fifteen months ago, with a spirit almost Prophetic. Before this reaches you, you will no doubt have heard of the captivity of General Lee. This is an additional misfortune, and the more vexatious, as it was by his own folly and Imprudence, (and without a view to answer any good,) he was taken, going three miles out of his own camp, and within twenty of the enemy to lodge, a rascally Tory rid in the night to give notice of it to the enemy, who sent a party of light-Horse that seized and carried him, with every mark of triumph and indignity.
You can form no idea of the perplexity of my situation. No man, I believe, ever had a greater choice of difficulties, and less means to extricate himself from them. However, under a full persuasion of the justice of our cause, I cannot entertain an Idea, that it will finally sink, tho’ it may remain for some time under a cloud.
My love and sincere regards attend my sister and the family, with compliments to all inquiring friends. With every sentiment of friendship, as well as love, I am your most affectionate brother.1
[1 ]“Nothing ever amazed me more than the note said to be wrote by John Dickinson, Esqr. to his brother, the general. If he applies to me to show him the contents, I see no reason for refusing, because he may easily be informed by applying to the writer.” Washington to the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, 19 December, 1776. Dickinson had written to his brother not to accept any more Continental money in liquidation of bonds and mortgages held by him. The letter had been intercepted.