George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel John Cadwalader, 28 December 1776

From Colonel John Cadwalader

Bordenton [N.J.] 28th Decr 1776


We arrived here about 1 o’Clock—the advanced party about ten1—I have sent Horse-men to reconnoitre & from every Information the Enemy left Allen Town about 8 o’Clock this Morng—If I had been happy enough to have cross’d at Dunks’s Ferry we should have compleatly destroyed the Army in this Quarter—I am informed that the Hessians went off in the utmost confusion—I am sorry some of the Troops have marched up to Kirkbridge ⟨mutilated⟩ as it is impossible to get over ⟨mutilated⟩ the Comg Officer at Bristol to ⟨mutilated⟩ I have about 1800 men, & Col: Penrose informs me that he is advancing with about 500 men.2

We shall pursue with my Troops to-morrow before day—about 500 go this Evg to Cross-wix—The Enemy are much encumbered with Baggage & Cattle—I hope to fall on their Rear. I am, Sir, your most obt Sert

John Cadwalader

ALS (mutilated), DLC:GW. A small portion of the text has been torn off the right side of the manuscript.

1For accounts of the march of Cadwalader’s division from Burlington to Bordentown on this date, see Thomas Rodney to Caesar Rodney, 30 Dec., in Ryden, Rodney Letters description begins George Herbert Ryden, ed. Letters to and from Caesar Rodney, 1756–1784. Philadelphia, 1933. description ends , 150–52; Rodney, Thomas Rodney’s Diary description begins Cæsar A. Rodney, ed. Diary of Captain Thomas Rodney, 1776–1777. Wilmington, Del. 1888. In Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware, vol. 8. description ends , 25–27; Rau, “Smith’s Diary,” description begins Louise Rau, ed. “Sergeant John Smith’s Diary of 1776.” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 20 (1933-34): 247–70. description ends 268–69; “Reed’s Narrative, 1776–77,” description begins “General Joseph Reed’s Narrative of the Movements of the American Army in the Neighborhood of Trenton in the Winter of 1776–77.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 8 (1884): 391–402. description ends 397–98; Sellers, “Peale’s Journal,” description begins Horace W. Sellers. “Charles Willson Peale, Artist—Soldier.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 38 (1914): 257–86. description ends 276–77; and “Young’s Journal,” description begins “Journal of Sergeant William Young: Written During the Jersey Campaign in the Winter of 1776-7.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 8 (1884): 255–78. description ends 259–61.

2Joseph Penrose (1737–1824) served as lieutenant colonel of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment from 3 Jan. to 25 Oct. 1776 when he was appointed colonel of the newly created 10th Pennsylvania Regiment. Penrose apparently crossed the Delaware to New Jersey about this time with a large detachment of recruits from his still incomplete regiment (see GW to Horatio Gates, 1 Mar. 1777, NHi: Gates Papers). A dispute over seniority in rank prompted Penrose to resign his commission on 7 Mar. 1777.

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