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From George Washington to John Hancock, 27 December 1776

To John Hancock

Head Quarters Newtown [Pa.] 27th Decemr 1776.

Sir

I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the Success of an Enterprize, which I had formed against a Detatchment of the Enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday Morning.

The Evening of the 25th I ordered the Troops intended for this Service1 to parade back of McKonkey’s Ferry, that they might begin to pass as soon as it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw them all over, with the necessary Artillery, by 12 OClock, and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the Morning, the distance being about nine Miles.2 But the quantity of Ice, made that Night, impeded the passage of Boats so much, that it was three OClock before the Artillery could all be got over, and near four, before the Troops took up their line of march.3

This made me despair of surprizing the Town, as I well knew we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke, but as I was certain there was no making a Retreat without being discovered, and harassed on repassing the River, I determined to push on at all Events.4 I formed my Detatchment into two divisions one to march by the lower or River road, the other, by the upper or Pennington Road. As the Divisions had nearly the same distance to march, I ordered each of them, immediately upon forcing the out Guards, to push directly into the Town, that they might charge the Enemy before they had time to form. The upper division5 arrived at the Enemys advanced post, exactly at eight OClock, and in three Minutes after, I found from the fire on the lower Road that, that Division had also got up. The Out Guards made but small Opposition, tho’, for their Numbers, they behaved very well, keeping up a constant retreating fire from behind Houses.6

We presently saw their main Body formed, but from their Motions, they seem’d undetermined how to act.7

Being hard pressed by our Troops, who had already got possession of part of their Artillery, they attempted to file off by a road on their right leading to Princetown, but perceiving their Intention, I threw a Body of Troops in their Way which immediately checked them. Finding from our disposition, that they were surrounded, and that they must inevitably be cut to peices if they made any further Resistance, they agreed to lay down their Arms.8 The Number, that submitted in this manner, was 23 Officers and 886 Men. Colo. Rall the commanding Officer and seven others were found wounded in the Town. I dont exactly know how many they had killed, but I fancy not above twenty or thirty, as they never made any regular Stand. Our Loss is very trifling indeed, only two Officers and one or two privates wounded.9

I find, that the Detatchment of the Enemy consisted of the three Hessian Regiments of Lanspatch, Kniphausen and Rohl amounting to about 1500 Men, and a Troop of British Light Horse; but immediately, upon the beginning of the Attack, all those, who were not killed or taken, pushed directly down the Road towards Bordentown.10 These would likewise have fallen into our hands, could my plan have been compleatly carried into Execution. Genl Ewing was to have crossed before day at Trenton Ferry, and taken possession of the Bridge leading out of Town, but the Quantity of Ice was so great, that tho’ he did every thing in his power to effect it, he could not get over.11 This difficulty also hindered Genl Cadwallader from crossing, with the Pennsylvania Militia, from Bristol, he got part of his Foot over, but finding it impossible to embark his Artillery, he was obliged to desist.12 I am fully confident, that could the Troops, under Generals Ewing and Cadwallader, have passed the River, I should have been able, with their Assistance, to have driven the Enemy from all their posts below Trenton. But the Numbers I had with me, being inferior to theirs below me, and a strong Battalion of Light Infantry being at Princetown above me, I thought it most prudent to return the same Evening, with the prisoners and the Artillery we had taken. We found no Stores of any Consequence in the Town.13

In justice to the Officers and Men, I must add, that their Behaviour upon this Occasion, reflects the highest honor upon them. The difficulty of passing the River in a very severe Night, and their March thro’ a violent Storm of Snow and Hail, did not in the least abate their Ardour. But when they came to the Charge, each seemed to vie with the other in pressing forward, and were I to give a preferance to any particular Corps, I should do great injustice to the others.

Colo. Baylor, my first Aid de Camp, will have the honor of delivering this to you, and from him you may be made acquainted with many other particulars; his spirited Behaviour upon every Occasion, requires me to recommend him to your particular Notice.14 I have the Honor to be with great Respect Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

Inclosed you have a particular List of the Prisoners, Artillery and other Stores.15

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. For significant text variations in the draft, which also is in Tilghman’s writing, see nn. 1, 5, and 7.

Congress read this letter on 31 Dec. (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 6:1058) and promptly sent it to the Baltimore printer Mary K. Goddard, who that day printed the letter and the enclosed list as a broadside under the heading: “Baltimore, Dec. 31, 1776. This Morning Congress received the following Letter from General Washington.” The words “Published by Order of Congress, Charles Thomson, Sec.” are printed at the bottom of the broadside (see the copy of the broadside at TSewU; see also William Ellery to Nicholas Cooke, 31 Dec., in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:709–12). The first sentence of the third paragraph of the letter is omitted on the broadside (see note 4).

1The words “which were about 2400” are included at this place in the draft.

3Henry Knox says in his letter to his wife, Lucy Flucker Knox, of 28 Dec. that “a part of the army consisting of about 2500 or three thousand pass’d the River on Christmass night with allmost infinite difficulty, with eighteen feild peices. floating Ice in the River made the labour almost incredible however perseverance accomplishd what at first Seem’d imposible—about two OClock the troops were all on the Jersey side—we then were about nine miles from the object, the night was cold & Stormy It haild with great violence the Troops march’d with the most profound Silence and good order” (NNGL: Knox Papers; see also Tench Tilghman to James Tilghman, 27 Dec., in Tilghman, Memoir description begins Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aid to Washington, together with an Appendix, containing Revolutionary Journals and Letters, Hitherto Unpublished. 1876. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 148–49; George Johnston to Leven Powell, 29 Dec., in Powell, Leven Powell description begins Robert C. Powell, ed. A Biographical Sketch of Col. Leven Powell, including His Correspondence during the Revolutionary War. Alexandria, Va., 1877. description ends , 41–43; William Hull to Andrew Adams, 1 Jan. 1777, in Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 375–76; Extract of a Letter from an Officer of Distinction, 27 Dec., ibid., 367–68; Lobdell, “McCarty’s Journal,” 40–41; Greenwood, Revolutionary Services description begins Isaac J. Greenwood, ed. The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783. New York, 1922. description ends , 38–39; Powell, “Bostwick’s Memoirs,” 101–2; and William Chamberlin to Mellen Chamberlin, 2 Mar. 1827, in Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2d ser., 10:491–502).

4This sentence was underlined on the LS manuscript after it was received by Congress apparently to indicate that the sentence was to be omitted from the broadside published on order of Congress (see source note). This sentence is underlined also on the copy in DNA:PCC, item 169, but not on the draft or the Varick transcript.

5On the draft manuscript Tilghman wrote the words “I arrived with” at the beginning of this sentence and then struck them out.

6Capt. William Hull, who marched with the 19th Continental Regiment in the lower division or right wing of the army, wrote Andrew Adams on 1 Jan. 1777 that “before Light in the Morning [of 26 Dec.] we gained all the Roads leading from Trenton. The Genl. [GW] gave orders that every Officer’s Watch should be set by his, and the Moment of Attack was fixed. Just after Light, we came to their out Guard, which fired upon us and retreated” (Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 375–76). Maj. George Johnston, who was with the Virginia troops in the upper division or left wing of the army, says in his letter to Leven Powell of 29 Dec.: “At 7, we halted within 500 yds. of their [the Hessian] advanced guard until the Right wing, commanded by Gen’l Sullivan, which was to the right, could get within the same distance of another of the Guards, posted on the River road. Here our two Major Gen’ls, Green (who had command of the left wing,) and Sullivan, exhibited the greatest proof of generalship by getting to their respective posts within 5 minutes of each other, tho’ they had parted 4 miles from the Town, and took different Routes” (Powell, Leven Powell description begins Robert C. Powell, ed. A Biographical Sketch of Col. Leven Powell, including His Correspondence during the Revolutionary War. Alexandria, Va., 1877. description ends , 41–43). Tench Tilghman, who was with GW in the upper division, says in his letter to his father, James Tilghman, of 27 Dec.: “We did not reach Trenton till eight OClock, when the division which the General headed in person, attacked the Enemy’s out post. The other Division which marched the lower Road, attacked the advanced post at Phil. Dickinsons, within a few minutes after we began ours” (Tilghman, Memoir description begins Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aid to Washington, together with an Appendix, containing Revolutionary Journals and Letters, Hitherto Unpublished. 1876. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 148–49; see also Henry Knox to Lucy Flucker Knox, 28 Dec., NNGL: Knox Papers; Extract of a Letter from an Officer of Distinction, 27 Dec., in Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 367–68; and Extract of a Letter from an Officer in the American Army, 27 Dec., 1776, in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:1442–43).

Lt. Andreas Wiederhold of the Knyphausen Regiment, who commanded the Hessian outpost on the Pennington Road, says in his diary: “The night passed quietly and when it may have been an hour after daybreak and my day’s patrol had already returned and reported that all was quiet, and the Jagers, who stood below me [on the river road] had already withdrawn their night-posts, I was suddenly attacked from the side of the woods on the road to John[son]’s [McConkey’s] Ferry, and if I had not just stepped out of my little guard-house and seen the enemy, they might have been upon me before I had time to reach for my rifle, as my sentinels did not keep a very sharp lookout any more as it was broad daylight, and the advance-guard did not expect the enemy from that direction but rather in the line of Capt. [Johann Heinrich] Brubach’s picket, which had not returned yet. I was thus quickly under arms and awaited the approach of the enemy with fortitude, thinking that it was merely a skirmishing party. They charged with three rounds of rifle [fire] me and my 17 men, who stood still under their arms. After the third discharge I gave the order to fire and fought with them until I was almost surrounded by several battalions. I accordingly retreated under constant firing until I reached the Altenbockum company, which had rallied during my engagement and had taken up a position straight across the street in front of the Captain’s quarters. I posted myself at their right wing and together we charged the enemy, but we were again forced to retreat in the same manner as before, so as not be cut off from the garrison” (“Col. Rall at Trenton,” 465–66; see also Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 44–45; for accounts of an unauthorized American patrol that nearly ruined GW’s plans by firing on Hessians sentinels at Trenton the previous evening, see “Col. Rall at Trenton,” 464–65; Memorandum in General Robert Anderson’s Letter Book, in Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 373–74; Report of Hessian War Commission, 15 April 1782, ibid., 419–23; “Beale’s Revolutionary Experiences,” description begins “Revolutionary Experiences of Major Robert Beale.” Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Magazine 6 (1956): 500–506. description ends 501–2; and Freeman, Washington description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:312–13).

7The following text is struck out at this place on the draft manuscript: “They first moved towards their left, but being briskly charged by Genl Sullivans division, they were drove into the Town again; they then filed off to their Right and I suspected were attempting to gain a Road leading to Princetown, upon which I ordered Colo. Hands and the German Battalion to throw themselves before them, this they did with Spirit and Rapidity and immediately checked them. I then ordered Lord Stirling to advance his brigade upon their other flank which effectually prevented them from regaining the Town, finding themselves in this Situation and seeing our other Troops advancing upon them from every Quarter they in a very little time agreed to lay down their Arms.” This text probably was discarded because GW wished to praise the efforts of his entire army and not to single out the actions of particular regiments.

8Knox says in his letter to his wife of 28 Dec.: “we forc’d [the guards] & enter’d the Town with them pell-mell, & here succeeded a scene of war of Which I had often Conceived but never saw before. The hurry fright & confusion of the enemy was [not] inlike that which Will be when the last Trump shall sound—They endevord to form in streets the heads of which we had previous[l]y the possession of with Cannon & Howitzers, these in the twinkling of an eye cleard the streets, the backs of the houses were resorted to for shelter, these prov’d ineffectual the musketry soon dislog’d them[.] finally they were driven through the Town into an open plain beyond the Town—here they formd in an instant—during the contest in the streets—measures were taken for putting an entire stop to their retreat by posting troops and Cannon in such passes and roads as it was possible for them to get away by—the poor fellows After they were form’d on the plains saw themselves Completely surrounded—the only resource left was to force their way thro numbers unknown to them—strongly posted with Cannon. the Hessians lost part of their Cannon in the Town[.] they did not relish the project of forcing, & were oblig’d to Surrender upon the spot with all their artillery, 6 brass peices arms Colors, &c. &c.” (NNGL: Knox Papers).

George Johnston says in his letter to Leven Powell of 29 Dec. that “the two forlorn Hopes, (the right wing composed of N. Englanders, the left of Virginians,) pressed on, attacked their advanced Guards and drove them to their main Body. Our noble countryman, the Gen’l, at the head of the Virginia Brigades, exposed to the utmost danger, bid us follow. We cheerfully did so in a long trot, till he ordered us to form, that the cannon might play. Still, the forlorn hopes pursued to the very middle of the Town, where the whole Body of the Enemy, drawn up in a solid column, kept up a heavy fire with Cannon and Muskets, till our Cannon dispersed and threw them in confusion. The fight continued obstinately about ½ an hour. . . . The fight became a chase. Our Brigade being on the left wing and nearest the course the Enemy took, were ordered to pursue them with all expedition. We stepped off with alacrity, in full cry, and fortunately got into the thickest of them while they were fording a small creek. L’d Stirling’s brigade soon came to our assistance” (Powell, Leven Powell description begins Robert C. Powell, ed. A Biographical Sketch of Col. Leven Powell, including His Correspondence during the Revolutionary War. Alexandria, Va., 1877. description ends , 41–43).

An American “Officer of Distinction,” who is thought to be Lord Stirling, says in a letter dated 27 Dec. at Newtown that the Hessians “retreated towards a field behind a piece of wood up the creek, from Trenton, and formed in two bodies, which I expected would have brought on a smart engagement from the troops, who had formed very near them, but at that instant, as I came in full view of them, from the back of the wood, with his Excellency General Washington, an officer informed him that the party had grounded their arms and surrendered prisoners” (Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 367–68; for other American accounts of the battle, see Patrick Duffy to Thomas Procter, 28 Dec., ibid., 370; Tench Tilghman to James Tilghman, 27 Dec., in Tilghman, Memoir description begins Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aid to Washington, together with an Appendix, containing Revolutionary Journals and Letters, Hitherto Unpublished. 1876. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 148–49; Nathanael Greene to Catharine Greene, 30 Dec., in Greene Papers, 1:377–80; “McMichael’s Diary,” description begins William P. McMichael. “Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 129–59. description ends 140; Greenwood, Revolutionary Services description begins Isaac J. Greenwood, ed. The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783. New York, 1922. description ends , 39–43; White, Narrative of Events description begins J. White. An Narrative of Events. As They Occurred from Time to Time, in the Revolutionary War; With an Account of the Battles, Of Trenton, Trenton-Bridge, and Princeton. Charlestown, Mass., 1833. description ends , 12–15; Wilkinson, Memoirs description begins James Wilkinson. Memoirs of My Own Times. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1816. description ends , 1:128–31; and William Chamberlin to Mellen Chamberlin, 2 Mar. 1827, in Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2d ser., 10:491–502; for Hessian criticism of Col. Rall’s conduct at Trenton, see “Col. Rall at Trenton,” 465–67; Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 44–45; Finding of Hessian Court-Martial, 11 Jan. 1782, in Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 411–19; and Report of Hessian War Commission, 15 April 1782, ibid., 419–23; see also Smith, Battle of Trenton description begins Samuel Stelle Smith. The Battle of Trenton. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1965. description ends , 22–25).

9Slightly higher figures for the number of Hessian prisoners are given in the return that GW enclosed with this letter (see note 15) and the return that he appended to his letter to John Cadwalader of this date. GW further increases the number of prisoners to “about a Thousand” in his letter to Hancock of 29 Dec. (see also GW’s first letter to Heath of 28 Dec., and his letters to Alexander McDougall, and William Maxwell, both 28 December). Hessian returns show that on 5–6 Jan. 1777 there were 893 captured officers and men at Philadelphia not counting five artillerymen left wounded or ill at Trenton (see Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 386–88; see also the Hessian return of 13 Dec. 1781, ibid., 408–9).

Col. Johann Gottlieb Rall, the Hessian commander at Trenton, and Maj. Friedrich Ludwig von Dechow of the Knyphausen Regiment died of the wounds on this date (see GW to Hancock, 12 Jan. 1777, DNA:PCC, item 152). A total of five Hessian officers and seventeen Hessian enlisted men were killed at Trenton. Six Hessian officers and seventy-eight Hessian enlisted men were wounded (see Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 170–77, 195–96, 408–9).

The American loss, Tench Tilghman says in his letter to his father of 27 Dec., was “only Capt. Washington and his Lieutenant slightly wounded and two privates killed and two wounded” (Tilghman, Memoir description begins Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aid to Washington, together with an Appendix, containing Revolutionary Journals and Letters, Hitherto Unpublished. 1876. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 148–49). “An Officer of Distinction,” supposed to be Lord Stirling, wrote on 27 Dec.: “We lost but two of our men, that I can hear of, a few wounded, and one brave officer, Capt. Washington, who assisted in securing their artillery, shot in both hands” (Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 367–68). George Johnston wrote Leven Powell on 29 Dec.: “We had, Lt. Monroe and Ensign Buxton wounded—none killed” (Powell, Leven Powell description begins Robert C. Powell, ed. A Biographical Sketch of Col. Leven Powell, including His Correspondence during the Revolutionary War. Alexandria, Va., 1877. description ends , 41–43). James Monroe, who later became the fifth president of the United States, was a first lieutenant in the 3d Virginia Regiment, and James Buxton was an ensign in the 4th Virginia Regiment (see also Stephen Moylan to Robert Morris, 27 Dec., DNA:PCC, item 78, and “Beale’s Revolutionary Experiences,” description begins “Revolutionary Experiences of Major Robert Beale.” Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Magazine 6 (1956): 500–506. description ends 502).

10Rall’s brigade at Trenton consisted of the Rall, Lossberg, and Knyphausen infantry regiments, a Hessian artillery detachment, fifty Hessian jägers, and twenty British light horsemen from the 16th Regiment of Light Dragoons (see Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 40). Stryker says that the Rall Regiment had 11 officers and 512 enlisted men, the Lossberg Regiment had 16 officers and 467 enlisted men, and the Knyphausen Regiment had 12 officers and 429 enlisted men, making a total of 1,447 officers and enlisted men in those regiments (see ibid., 194–95).

Colonel Donop wrote General Knyphausen on 27 Dec. from Allentown, N.J.: “I have organized all the escaped men from the Rall brigade and made up a force of two hundred and ninety-two men, including the command at the drawbridge of one Captain, three officers and one hundred men. Lieutenant [Frederick Wilhelm] von Grothausen with fifty yagers who had his command at Trenton, with a detachment of light infantry and dragoons, except one yager who was killed and one sick soldier, escaped from the fight” (ibid., 398–400). Lists of Hessians who evaded capture at Trenton contain the names of one hundred officers and enlisted men in the Rall Regiment, eighty officers and enlisted men in the Knyphausen Regiment, and seventeen officers and enlisted men in the artillery detachment. A guard of ten men had gone to Princeton with baggage on 25 December. No list of escapees has been found for the Lossberg Regiment (see ibid., 383–85). The twenty British light horsemen escaped (see also Stephen Moylan to Robert Morris, 27 Dec., DNA:PCC, item 78).

11This bridge over Assunpink Creek at the south end of Trenton was on the road leading to the Trenton ferry and Bordentown. Brig. Gen. James Ewing’s division, which was posted on the south side of the Trenton ferry, consisted of Ewing’s brigade of Pennsylvania flying camp troops, which on 22 Dec. had a strength of 724 officers and men, and three to four hundred New Jersey and Pennsylvania militiamen, including Brig. Gen. Philemon Dickinson’s small New Jersey militia brigade (see the general return for GW’s army, 22 Dec., DNA: RG 93, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–83; see also Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:1401–2; Lesser, Sinews of Independence description begins Charles H. Lesser, ed. The Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army. Chicago, 1976. description ends , 43; and Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 346–47).

13Joseph Reed in a narrative of events that he wrote at some later date, says that the following reasons were given for GW’s decision to withdraw to Pennsylvania: “1. That the Enemy was in force both above & below viz. at Princeton & Bordentown—for at that Time it was not known, that a great Part of the Enemy’s Force was gone down to Mount Hollow 25 Miles below Trenton. 2. There were great Quantities of Spirituous Liquors at Trenton of which the Soldiers drank too freely to admit of Discipline or Defence in Case of Attack. 3. The Stroke being brilliant & successful it was not prudent or politick even to risque the Chance of losing the Advantages to be derived from it.

“On the other Hand it was argued that.—Successes & brilliant strokes ought to be pursued—that History shewed how much depended upon improving such Advantages—& that a Pannick being once given no one could ascertain the beneficial Consequences which might be derived from it if it was push’d to all its Consequences. However the former Opinion prevailed” (“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 391).

14George Baylor arrived at Baltimore on 31 Dec., and the next day he appeared before Congress and “gave a particular account of the late action at Trenton” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:7; see also Hancock to GW, 1 Jan. 1777). Congress learned of GW’s victory at Trenton as early as 30 Dec. when it read Robert Morris’s letters to Hancock of 26 and 27 Dec., which contain brief secondhand accounts of the battle (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 6:1050, and Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:673–75, 682). Congress also on 30 Dec. received from the Pennsylvania council of safety the account of the battle written on 27 Dec. at Newtown by “an Officer of distinction in the Army,” thought to be Lord Stirling. That letter, by Congress’s order, was printed on handbills in Baltimore on 30 Dec. by John Dunlap (a copy of the handbill was owned in 1988 by the Book Block, Cos Cob, Conn.; see also the Committee of Secret Correspondence to the Commissioners at Paris, 30 Dec., ibid., 695–97; the Pennsylvania Council of Safety’s two letters to Hancock of 27 Dec., in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:1440–41; and Stryker, Battles of Trenton and Princeton description begins William S. Stryker. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. 1898. Reprint. Spartanburg, S.C., 1967. description ends , 367–68).

15The enclosed return, which is in Tilghman’s writing, gives the number of Hessian prisoners by rank for each regiment. The number of captured officers and enlisted men in the “Landspatch” (Lossberg) Regiment is 274, in the Knyphausen Regiment is 303, in the Rall Regiment is 303, and in the artillery is 38, a total of 918 prisoners. That total includes one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, three majors, four captains, eight lieutenants, twelve ensigns, two surgeons’ mates, ninety-two sergeants, twenty drummers, nine musicians, twenty-five officers’ servants, and 740 rank and file. The return also shows that the Americans captured “6 dble fortifyed Brass three pounders with Carriages Compleat[,] 3 Ammunition Waggons[,] As many Muskets, Bayonets, Cartouch Boxes and Swords as there are prisoners[,] 12 Drums[,] 4 Colours” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

Stephen Moylan sent an almost identical copy of the prisoner return to Robert Morris on this date. In his covering letter to Morris, written at GW’s headquarters at Newtown, Moylan says: “above is a very Rough, but as just a Sketch of the prisoners taken yesterday morning as I can Collect, I was unfortunatly too late to Share in the honour of the day being Catchd in the Storm, & little imaging that any attempt would have been made at Such an inclement time” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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