By Robert V. Remini
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On July 12, 1776, the British sent reinforcements to New York to link up with Sir William Howe’s army, which came down from Halifax. They rendezvoused with other British troops from South Carolina under General Henry Clinton to constitute a powerful force of 30,000 soldiers. Washington had less than half that number and realized he could never hold New York. Still he was determined to put up a ﬁght. On August 27 he challenged the British on Long Island. Following an inevitable defeat, he moved his army under cover of a thick fog across the East River to Manhattan.
That spring Count Charles d’Estaing, commanding twelve French warships and several regiments of troops, headed for America. Meanwhile, Howe took part of his army and headed south to capture Philadelphia, apparently with the approval of London. Washington hastened to thwart the British move but was outﬂanked at the battles of Brandywine Creek and Germantown. So while Howe spent the winter in the city enjoying a life of parties and dances, Washington took up a position at Valley Forge, twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia, where he and his men, numbering 12,000, endured a dreadful 44 a short history of the united states winter.
From this turnout it was clear that most states realized something had to be done if the Union was to last. Not surprisingly, a number of notables attended. First and foremost was General George Washington, who by this time had achieved the status of a national hero and whose presence lent a high degree of legitimacy to the meeting. Others included James Madison of Virginia, who would provide the basic frame for a totally new government; and Alexander Hamilton, who argued effectively for a stronger and more potent national government.
A Short History of USA by Robert V. Remini