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Reed at Bordentown
forward. The troops in the neighborhood of Burlington had decamped precipitately the preceding evening.
Colonel Reed sent back intelligence of this to Cadwalader, and still pushed on with his companions. As they rode along, they observed the inhabitants pulling down red rags which had been nailed to their doors ; tory signs to insure good-will from the British. Arrived at Bordentown not an enemy was to be seen ; the fugitives from Trenton had spread a panic on the 26th, and the Hessians and their refugee adherents had fled in confusion, leaving their sick behind them. The broken and haggard looks of the inhabitants showed what they had suffered during the Hessian occupation. One of Reed's companions returned to Cadwalader, who had halted at Burlington, and advised him to proceed.
Cadwalader wrote in the night to Washington, informing him of his whereabouts, and that he should march for Bordentown in the morning. “If you should think proper to cross over," added he, “it may easily be effected at the place where we passed ; a pursuit would keep up the panic. They went off with great precipitation, and pressed all the wagons in their reach ; I am told many of them are gone to South Amboy. If we can drive them from West Jersey, the success will raise an army next spring, and establish the credit of the continental money to support it.”
There was another letter from Cadwalader, dated on the following day, from Bordentown. He had eighteen hundred men with him. Five hundred more were on the way to join him. General Miffin, too, had sent over five hundred from Philadelphia, and three hundred from Burlington, and was to follow with seven or eight hundred more.
Colonel Reed, too, wrote from Trenton on the 28th. He had found that place without a single soldier of either army, and in a still more wretched condition than Bordentown. He urged Washington to recross the river, and pursue the advantages already gained. Donop might be overtaken before he could reach Princeton or Brunswick, where the enemy were yet in force. *
Washington needed no prompting of the kind. Bent upon following up his blow, he had barely allowed his troops a day or two to recover from recent exposure and fatigue, that they might have strength and spirit to pursue the retreating enemy, beat up other of their quarters, and entirely reverse affairs in the
* Life and Correspondence of Pres. Reed, vol. i., Battle-Grounds at Trenton.