burst through the obstructions which the Americans had fondly hoped would bar the Hudson, and sailed up past the flanks of the patriot army; while the passage to the Sound was also forced. Washington had no alternative but to retreat, which he did slowly, skirmishing heavily. At White Plains, Howe drove in the American outposts, suffering more loss than he inflicted. But a fortnight later, in mid-November, a heavy disaster befell the Americans. In deference to the wishes of Congress, Washington had kept garrisons in the two forts which had been built to guard the Hudson, and Howe attacked them with sudden energy. One was evacuated at the last moment; the other was carried by assault, and its garrison of nearly three thousand men captured, after a resistance which could not be called more than respectable. Washington retreated into New Jersey with his dwindling army of but little more than three thousand men. The militia had all left him long before; and his short-term regular troops also went off by companies and regiments as their periods of enlistment drew to a close; and the stoutest friends of America despaired. Then, in the icy winter, Washington suddenly turned on his foes, crossed the Delaware, and by the victory of Trenton, won at the darkest moment of the war, re-established the patriot cause.