Merry Christmas Hessians

Early morning of December the 26th General George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River into Trenton to battle over 1,500 Hessian Soldiers. The odds were against them because even though they had more soldiers the Hessians were better trained, had more experience, and had better weapons. On top of all that the Continental Army was low on supplies and morale. A majority of the American soldiers understandably wanted to quit and go home. They had had enough, they were lacking warm clothes, food, and supplies so they didn't even get the minimum necessities for living. Fortunately for them their service time was over at the end of that year so if they wanted to stay they could but most of them wanted to leave. The American soldiers also had not won a battle in a very long time which made them lose hope. George Washington had to do something to help win the war and also help boost the morale of the American people who were on the verge of giving up.

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Washington devised this plan to ambush the Hessians who had a base across the Delaware. He decided to attack late Christmas night (or early the next morning). Washington thought that since it was Christmas the Hessians would be drinking and feasting all night, leaving them off guard. Then when they were all partied out they would be in a hard sleep and that is when they would attack. The Hessians were extremely powerful when they could get into their formations and execute their strategies. This sneak attack enabled the Americans to strike the Hessians unprepared and unorganized. This was a great plan but there was only one problem; the Continental Army had to march 2 kilometers and cross the Delaware River which was almost completely frozen. The conditions were bad but "Victory or death!" Washington cried. He wanted everyone to bare with the cold, suck it up and take this battle head on.



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When the Continental Army crossed the river they lined up and were ready to volley. They saw Lieutenant Andreas von Wiederholdt (a Hessian officer) walk out of a shop and shot at him. "Der feind!" he shouted (which means enemy) and that alerted the other Hessians that the Americans were there. The Hessians came out and tried to make a formation but were hit with 3 volleys before they could return one of their own. The Hessians were falling back using houses as cover their reinforcements came to aid them. Their reinforcements did nothing because they too decided to retreat. George Washington sent infantry over to Princeton to block off their escape route and already had militia at various places to block other escape routes. The Hessians were surrounded but were aided (psychologically) by drums and encouraging chants. As they made a battle formation in a last attempt to fight off the Continental Army they could not. The Hessians were getting fired on from three different angles and had to surrender. They had lost.


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The Hessians suffered (all numbers are approximate) 25 deaths, 90 serious injuries, and 900 captures. The Americans suffered (all numbers are approximate) 2 deaths and 5 injuries. The Americans won this battle by a land slide. They had completely caught the Hessians off guard and captured nearly one thousand of their troops. The captured troops were sent to Philidelphia and were then sent to Virginia for holding. The Continental Army took all of the ammunition, cannons, guns and supplies from the Hessian outpost, which was much needed. This gave the soldiers a lot more hope for victory then they had before. Because the soldiers had a new hope a lot of them re-enlisted which is what Washington had hoped for. This victory was also a great turning point in the Revolution because not only did it give Washington's soldiers hope but it also gave the nation hope.








Questions:
1. What was the date of The Battle of Trenton?
2. How many Hessians were captured at The Battle of Trenton?
3. Who won the Battle of Trenton?
4. Describe an ambush?
5. If you were George Washington would you have used a different battle strategy or the same one? Why?