General William Howe Quotes in 1776
But for all his raw courage in the heat and tumult of war, Billy Howe could be, in the intervals between actions, slow-moving, procrastinating, negligent in preparing for action, interested more in his own creature comforts and pleasures.
There was no ringing call for valor in the cause of country or the blessings of liberty, as Washington had exhorted his troops at Brooklyn, only a final reminder of the effectiveness of bayonets.
Rather, in eighteenth-century military fashion, he hoped to maneuver Washington onto the open field, and then, with his superior, professional force, destroy the Yankee "rabel" in one grand, decisive victory.
Called on to explain later, Cornwallis would say his troops were exhausted, footsore, hungry, and in need of rest. More important, it had not seemed at the time that excessive haste was wise or necessary. There were dangers in too rapid a pursuit. He worried about General Lee, who was variously reported just ahead or coming up from behind. But had it looked like he could catch Washington, Cornwallis said, he would have kept going, whatever the risks, no matter the orders.
Some would see the pause as a horrendous blunder and blame William Howe.