The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: December 13

WILLIAMSBURG, December 13, 1776.
A correspondent says, "Let no one be alarmed at the report of General Washington's being obliged to retreat before the British army, which is advancing towards Philadelphia; nor let any one be dismayed at the superior number of our enemies; for nothing but that superiority could have tempted them to have quitted their ships, and to have marched so far into the country as to put it in our power to cut off their retreat, and by a dicisive blow perhaps finish the war. For my part I would not wish that our army should be reinforced till theirs had penetrated so far as to make a retreat impracticable; and I shall think nothing of the loss of the forts Washington and Lee, nor of our want of troops through a great part of this campaign, if, in consequence of these things, the enemy have been emboldened to venture so far from their fleet; for it is impossible that every man in Pennsylvania and the Jersies should not rush to arms, and surround the British army, when it shall have marched far enough, to make the glorious stroke."

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) December 13, 1776

About this entry:

A couple weeks after the correspondent wrote these bold words, Washington and his men crossed the Delaware and won the Battle of Trenton. However, the writer was overly optimistic -- the war would not be finished for five long years.

Sources: Selesky, v2, p1161

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