In this period, when the American army was relinquishing its general—the people giving up the cause, some of their leaders going over to the enemy, and the British commanders succeeding in every enterprise, general Lee was taken prisoner at Baskenridge, by lieutenant colonel Harcourt. This caused a depression of spirits among the Americans, far exceeding any real injury done to their essential interests. He had been repeatedly ordered to come forward with his division and join general Washington, but these orders were not obeyed. This circumstance, and the dangerous crisis of public affairs, together with his being alone at some distance, from the troops which he commanded, begat suspicions that he chose to fall into the hands of the British. Though these apprehensions were without foundation, they produced the same extensive mischief, as if they had been realities. The Americans had reposed extravagant confidence in his military talents, and experience of regular European war. Merely to have lost such an idol of the states at any time, would have been distressful, but losing him under circumstances, which favoured an opinion that, despairing of the American cause, he chose to be taken a prisoner, was to many an extinguishment of every hope.


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