In December General Burgoyne concerted with the British ministry a plan for the campaign of 1777. A large force under his command was to go to Albany by way of Lakes Champlain and George, while another body, under Sir Henry Clinton, advanced up the Hudson.
The fight was for the continent. The strategy embraced the lines from Boston to the mouth of the Chesapeake, from Montreal even to Charleston. Montgomery's invasion of Canada, although St. John's and Montreal were taken, failed before Quebec, and the retreat of the American forces gave Burgoyne the base for his comprehensive campaign.
Many Americans do not realize that George Washington crossed and re-crossed the Delaware River a total of four times in the waning days of 1776. The first time was in early December when he left New Jersey in retreat from the British. The 2nd was when he crossed to attack Trenton(Dec.25-26).
As soon as Fort Lee was abandoned, Washington began to withdraw his army across New Jersey toward Philadelphia. About 5,000 Americans left Hackensack on November 21, 1776, and retired without casualties 100 miles to safety behind the Delaware River on December 7.
Heavy rains spoiled Maj. Gen, William Howe's planned second attack on the American army near White Plains on October 31. The next day the Americans were found to be apparently well entrenched at North Castle Heights. The rebel earthworks were composed largely of cornstalks pulled from nearby fields, whose roots, full of clinging soil, faced outward.
General George Washington had, early in his chieftaincy, urged upon the Congress the necessity of the establishment of a permanent army, and with prophetic words had predicted the very evils arising from short enlistments and loose methods of creating officers, which now prevailed.
The British recognized the strategic importance of New York as the focal point for communications between the northern and southern colonies. Washington also recognized this, and in April of 1776 he marched his troops from Boston to New York.