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troops being formed into three detachments, he, with the strongest, amounting to two thousand four hundred, crossed the river on the night of the 25th December, and from two opposite points attacked Trenton, then occupied by Colonel Rhalle with a strong body of Hessians. That officer, while hastily mustering his men, received a mortal wound; and the whole corps, surprised and surrounded, speedily surrendered. The two other detachments were arrested by severe cold and tempest, otherwise they might, it was hoped, have been equally successful, and a sweep made of the whole range of positions. Washington, however, had good reason to congratulate himself on carrying off nearly one thousand prisoners, with only ten of his own men killed and wounded,-a most unexpected event, which wonderfully revived the sinking spirits of his countrymen.

Washington now crossed the Delaware, and, with five thousand men, took post at Trenton; but Cornwallis, mustering all his force, advanced upon him; and, on the 2d January, 1777, the two armies were separated only by a creek. Washington saw that, by engaging here a superior army, he ran imminent hazard of being defeated, and driven over the Delaware with great disadvantage and loss. He formed a bold design: breaking up silently in the night, he moved round the British right, and advanced rapidly upon Brunswick, where their chief magazines were lodged. He might seemingly

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BATTLES OF TRENTON AND PRINCETON.

353 have succeeded, had he not encountered at Princeton three regiments coming up to join the main army. The Americans were at first driven back, and General Mercer killed; but Washington, by extraordinary exertions, restored the action, separated his opponents, and obliged them to retreat in different directions. He then, however, saw advancing against him the van of Cornwallis, who, having received the alarm, hastened to frustrate his scheme; and as he could not hazard a battle without the certainty of defeat, with the risk of having his retreat cut off, he prudently fell back. In this skirmish, the loss on both sides was nearly equal; but the having made another bold offensive movement without disadvantage, heightened greatly the favourable impression produced by his former enterprise. The English general then repaired to Brunswick, and limited himself to a defensive line thence to Amboy, merely covering New York. Thus Washington had recovered nearly the whole of the Jerseys.

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MONUMENT OF GEN. MERCER, AT LAUREL HILL CEMETERY, PHILADELPHIA

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CAMPAIGN OF 1777, AND CONCLUSION OF THE TREATY WITH

FRANCE.

PON the approach of the British towards Philadelphia, (December 12, 1776,) Congress had removed its sittings from that place to Baltimore. Washington's successes in New Jersey brought it back to Philadelphia in February, 1777. On the 27th of December, 1776, Congress conferred upon Washington powers for raising forces and conducting the war, which were nearly dictatorial. Meantime, the British ministry, under the direction of Lord North, maintained their determination to enforce the unconditional submission of the colonies, while the opposition party in parliament were earnestly endeavouring to procure the adoption of conciliatory meaWith the majority of the British nation the war was popular; and no difficulty was found in obtaining from parliament the requisite supplies of men and money for carrying on the new campaign with vigour.

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sures.

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