New York and New Jersey Campaign | American Battlefield Trust
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New York and New Jersey Campaign

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General Washington moved the Continental Army from Boston to New York, anticipating a British attack there. Not long after, the British rushed into New York Harbor with a slew of ships and thousands of soldiers. Washington’s Continental Army was greatly outnumbered, leading the British to defeat the American forces at the Battle of Brooklyn, in August of 1776. The Americans won a brief skirmish at Harlem Heights but were eventually forced to abandon their position. The Battle of Pell’s Point created a delay that enabled Washington to move troops out of northern Manhattan and into White Plains. American morale continued to decline with losses at the Battle of White Plains and Forts Washington and Lee. With the army reduced to a few thousand and enlistments set to expire, General Washington retreated across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. With winter on the horizon and the Delaware River acting as a barrier, the British were momentarily kept at bay. A much-needed morale booster, Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis was passed around campfires, reigniting the fire of the revolutionary cause. On the night of December 25th, 1776 Washington daringly led his men across the icy Delaware River and into Trenton, New Jersey. The Battle of Trenton was a success, leading Washington to cross the Delaware for a second time a week later to lure British forces south from Trenton. In doing so, the Americans gained an advantage and were victorious at the Battle of Princeton. Afterwards, the Continental Army marched to Morristown to settle in for the winter.

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