My buddy Matt published this on Facebook today and, after seeing Steve’s earlier post, I thought it fitting to put up.
Christmas Eve / Christmas Day History!
George Washington led his troops across a 300-yard stretch of the Delaware River in the dead of night between December 25 and 26, 1776. The surprise move would put Washington’s men a 19-mile march away from a garrison of Hessians (German mercenaries hired by the British to help them in their effort to retain a hold on the rebelling colonies) that the Continental Army took completely by surprise.
The Hessians’ quick surrender at the Battle of Trenton would be the first of two rebel victories in New Jersey (the other being the Battle of Princeton a week later) as the Continental Army regained control of the colony. This effectively reversed the British drive that had pushed the rebels across New Jersey in the previous months. The daring crossing of the Delaware ended up being one of the turning points of the war.
To put this in context, the 30,000 Hessians hired by the British Army were well-disciplined, well-equipped and feared by the colonists. This attack at Trenton was masterfully planned and conducted during conditions that highly favored the Americans – extremely cold weather and on a holiday – when nobody expected it. The results were staggering and absolutely necessary in keeping the Continental Army from disinegrating after a series of demoralizing and costly defeats.
It also sent a pretty clear message to the British – “hey, we aren’t screwing around here!”
Of the roughly 1500 Hessians in garrison at Trenton, 22 were killed, 83 wounded and 800–900 captured.
Never forget your history and never stop appreciating what others have done for us to forge this great country.
Merry Christmas. Huzzah.