TRENTON AND VALLEY FORGE
Howe’s retreat from Boston freed Massachusetts and, indeed, all New England from British troops. It also gave Washington the clue to his own next move. He was a real soldier and therefore his instinct told him that his next objective must be the enemy’s army. Accordingly he prepared to move his own troops to New York. He passed through Providence, Norwich, and New London, reaching New York on April 13th. Congress was then sitting in Philadelphia and he was requested to visit it.
He spent a fortnight during May in Philadelphia where he had conferences with men of all kinds and seems to have been particularly impressed, not to say shocked, by the lack of harmony which he discovered. The members of the Congress, although they were ostensibly devoting themselves to the common affairs of the United Colonies, were really intriguing each for the interests of his special colony or section. Washington thought this an ominous sign, as indeed it was, for since the moment when he joined the Revolution he threw off all local affiliation. He did his utmost to perform his duty, clinging as long as he could to the hope that there would be no final break with England. Throughout the winter, however, from almost every part of the country the demands of the Colonists for independence became louder and more urgent and these he heard repeated and discussed during his visit to the Congress. On May 31st he wrote his brother John Augustine Washington: