Address To His Troops
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether
Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any
property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to
be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of
wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of
unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct
of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice
of a brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have, therefore,
to resolve to conquer or to die.
Our own, our country's honour, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly
exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the
whole world. Let us then rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid
of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage
us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon
us, and we shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the
instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let
us animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a free
man contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish
mercenary on earth.
Liberty, property, life, and honour are all at stake, upon your courage
and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country; our wives,
children, and parents expect safety from us, only; and they have every
reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause(2).
The enemy will endeavour to intimidate by show and appearance(3); but,
remember, they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave
Americans. Their cause is bad--their men are conscious of it; and if op-
posed with firmness and coolness on their first onset, with our advantage
of works, and knowledge of tile ground(4), the victory is most assuredly
ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive- wait for orders,
and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution(5).