Continental General George Washington
||Born: February 22, 1732; Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799; Mount Vernon, Virginia
Battles: Trenton, Yorktown
Revolutionary War: 1776-1778
The night crossing of the Delaware River was delayed because of a snowstorm. It had been expected to be completed at 12:00 A.M., but instead was not completed until 4:00 A.M. on December 26, 1776. Washington split his force into two columns for its approach to Trenton. General Washington's force was not discovered until he was within a half a mile of the garrison. The battle lasted roughly ninety minutes and had been an overwhelming victory for Washington. He did not linger, but was back across the Delaware River in his Pennsylvania camp by December 27, 1776. His troops were exhausted, but had secured a much needed victory.
On December 30, 1776, Washington crossed back into New Jersey and with the morale boost of the recent victory, he was able to convince most of his troops to reenlist for 1777. On January 2, 1777, Washington was able to slip out of Trenton under the cover of darkness and circle around to the rear of Lt. General Charles Cornwallis' pursuing force. On January 3, 1777, he defeated Cornwallis' rear guard under Lt. Colonel Charles Mawhood at Princeton, New Jersey.
General Washington then went into winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey on January 6, 1777. On May 28, he emerged from winter quarters and established his headquarters at Middle Brook. In June, he began maneuvering against Maj. General William Howe. In July, Howe sailed down to the Chesapeake Bay and Washington marched south to protect Philadelphia, marching through the city on August 24th. On August 27, Howe landed at Head of Elk, Maryland and began marching on August 28. After maneuvering against Howe for several days, Washington was routed at the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1777.
Washington and General Howe's engagement at Warren Tavern on September 16, 1777, was prevented by a rain storm. Over the next few days, Howe decoyed Washington into maneuvering out of his way and Howe was able to occupy Philadelphia on September 26. On October 4, Washington was again defeated at Germantown, Pennsylvania. The greatest American victory of the year was at Saratoga by Maj. General Horatio Gates. Washington's lone contribution was to sent Colonel Daniel Morgan and his riflemen to aid Gates.
After some more futile maneuvering, General Washington went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on December 19, 1777. During this time, he showed his political skill by diffusing growing momentum for his being replaced, probably by the Hero of Saratoga, General Gates. Some historians have cobbled together an actual conspiracy, the Conway Cabal, that would have pushed Washington out. Washington weathered the criticism and with the help of Baron von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette, he drilled his men at Valley Forge, so they emerged from that winter a much more disciplined and hardened unit.
When General Washington emerged from winter quarters on June 20, 1778, he began maneuvering against Lt. General Henry Clinton, who had replaced General Howe as the British Commander-in-Chief in America. Clinton was withdrawing from Philadelphia back to New York City by land because of the new threat of the French Navy. France had declared war on England following the victory at Saratoga. Washington finally attacked Clinton's rear at Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey on June 28.
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