Understandably, much of the attention around this time of year is focused on the crossing and The Ten Crucial Days, the period surrounding the crossing that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War.
But the war didn’t end then and there. So what happened in the days and weeks immediately following the military campaign?
After the Second Battle of Trenton, George Washington and his troops withdrew from Trenton and, overnight, marched to Princeton, where they defeated the British and Hessian forces. Their victory in the Battle of Princeton, their third and last of The Ten Crucial Days, occurred on January 3, 1777.
Over the next few days, Washington led the Continental Army north to Morristown, New Jersey, where they established their quarters for the remainder of the winter.
“However, the New Jersey militia wasn’t so keen about the idea of taking a break,” says Guy Sava, a historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park. “It immediately went to work fighting what would become known as the Forage War, which was basically a guerrilla campaign against the British forces.”
The militia kept the British under constant surveillance, and any time a group of soldiers went on a supply run, the militia ambushed them.
“It reached a point where the British had to start sending entire regiments out just to get supplies,” Sava says. “That lasted through the winter and caused the British, along with Washington’s earlier efforts, to withdraw to Perth Amboy, NJ.”
The move meant that the British were effectively giving up control of New Jersey. “They still held some big towns,” Sava says, “but the militia basically controlled everything else.
“It was short-lived, though,” Sava says. “The British reasserted themselves in the spring.”