The Battle of Trenton
The Battle of Trenton was a turning point for George Washington and his men in the Continental Army, having suffered defeat by British forces in the Battle for Long Island, where they lost New York. The military conflict was staged during the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and its North American colonies. The battle took place on December 26, 1776 in Trenton, New Jersey. Despite the support that the British Army received from the Hessian combatants, American forces managed to crash them and win Trenton.
Hessian troops led by Colonel Rall were Germans hired by King George III to fight for the British government in their colonies. These solders were not fighting for any cause but the money paid to them.
Summary of The Battle of Trenton
Before the eruption of the Battle of Trenton, the town was occupied by about 1,400 Hessian troops under the command of Colonel Johann Rall. Washington, having heard about the rumored exhaustion of the Hessian combatants from Christmas festivities, decided it was the right time to attack. However, loyalists of Colonel Rall had warned him of the plans by America forces to invade Trenton, advices he failed to act upon.
Having witnessed the crushing defeat in New York, Washington sent a section of his troops to secure the Hudson Highlands. He then marched towards the south of Delaware River with the remaining men to set camp, while figuring out a plan for victory against the Hessians. Worried about the looming expiry of his men’s enlistment in the Continental Army, Washington had to act fast.
On the day after Christmas, General George Washington and his troops set out for an attack on Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey. On the fateful day, they had to again cross the Delaware River, which was filled with ice and raging storms. The river was frozen and storm turned into rain. However, this did not hold back Washington and his soldiers who kept marching.
Having ignored the warnings of an imminent attack by American troops, Rall and his German Hessian men were caught unawares. George Washington and Nathaneel Greene led their men to holding all the routes out of the Trenton.
In the surprise attack, many of Rall was shot dead forcing his men to start fleeing in different directions. With the escape routes held by American soldiers, several Hessians were killed and others captured. The remaining fighters who escaped the wrath of Americans retreated to an orchard in the South East of Trenton, where laid down their weapons.
Americans were able to eventually gain control of Trenton where they took about 1000 Hessian soldiers prisoners. The captives were marched through Philadelphia to Pennsylvania. By the time the British General Howe got news of the defeat of Hessian soldiers, Washington and his men had already fled out of Trenton with the prisoners.
From the Battle of Trenton, American soldiers were exhausted and camped on the side of Delaware River. Washington knew that he and his men faced several challenges ahead, considering British forces were planning on sending reinforcements. To maintain the high spirits of his soldiers, he plotted another attack at Princeton where they also got the enemy unawares.
Results of The Battle of Trenton
The outstanding result of the battle at Trenton, New Jersey is the triumph of George Washington and his men over Hessian troops and Britain. The German Hessian soldiers suffered the greatest consequences of the war, losing men including their commander, with several others taken prisoners. An estimated 20 men from the Hessian camp were killed, more than 100 wounded.
About 4 American soldiers were wounded while two were reported to have died as a result of the freezing cold.
Importance of the Battle of Trenton
The victory of George Washington and American soldiers over British Hessian forces in the Battle of Trenton was of great importance to America’s quest for independence. It played in major role in boosting the morale of Americans into believing that with teamwork and determination, they could gain independence from Great Britain.
Also present at the war were two future presidents and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, James Monroe and James Madison, and John Marshall respectively.
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