Charles Lee, who has been continuing to take his slow, meandering journey towards Washington, had stayed the night at an inn some distance from his army, and was lounging about when British light horse galloped up. Seeing them through the window Lee cried out, “For God’s sake, what shall I do?” The widow who kept the Inn attempted to hide him upstairs, but he gave himself up when the British commander threatened to burn down the house. The British celebrated capturing the man they believed was the best of the military minds on the American side, and celebrated by making Lee’s horse drink so many toasts to King George that it became staggeringly drunk. Lee said that he mourned not for himself, but for “a great continent…frustrated in the honest ambition of being free.” George Washington, upon hearing the news, says, “This is an additional misfortune, and the more vexatious as it was by his own folly and imprudence (and without a view to answer any good) he was taken, “ having gone “three miles out of his own camp for the sake of a little better lodging.” Washington ordered Lee’s forces to meet him in Pennsylvania.
Former loyalist Governor Thomas Hutchinson, from Massachusetts, writes, “A fast on account of the American War, observed with strictness and a great external devotion, the churches crowded more than ever known on Sundays, and shops everywhere shut, and few people to be seen in the streets.
Governor Cooke of Rhode Island writes both Massachusetts and Connecticut asking for a Council of War to oppose the British force of some 6 to 8,000 that landed in Newport on December 8, 1776.
British army goes into winter quarters.
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