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Battle Of Trenton : Washington’s Christmas Miracle

26 December 1776 marks the Battle of Trenton in the American Revolution, when General George Washington’s 2,400 defeated Colonel Johann Rall’s 1,500 Hessians. 

Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night. 

Rall camped in Trenton, New Jersey. Despite his vulnerability – Trenton had no walls – confidence in Hessian training led him not to take any defensive measures. Furthermore, heavy snow stopped him from sending out patrols that night. 

Washington landed men & cannon at 03:00.

However poor conditions crossing the river, left Washington with only 2,400 men under his command for the assault, 3,000 less than he had originally planned.

Local guides led Washington’s forces inland. He divided his army in 2, attacking Trenton from north & south.

The north column attacked at 0800. 

As Hessian outposts fell, they retreated to town. 

Those on the south River Road left it to defend Trenton, opening it to John Sullivan’s south column. 

The Hessians, now awake, formed in the streets. They attacked north. However, Cannons & Americans firing from several buildings drove them back. The Hessians’ guns were having trouble functioning. 

The wet snow had stopped them from being able to fire their muskets. Sullivan led a bayonet charge up the River Road, taking Trenton’s south end. Sullivan seizing an important bridge to town denied the Hessians an easy escape route from Trenton and was a major factor in Washington’s success and taking so many prisoners.

Rall led those soldiers in an open field to attack the town to help their fellows escape. He took its center before an attack from both ends drove them out to an orchard.

The British forces surrendered.

Hessians fleeing south found the routes blocked by Sullivan. They also surrendered. Washington lost 2 men to cold & 5 wounded. Rall lost 22 dead including him, 83 wounded & 896 captive, along with cannon, clothes, weapons & supplies badly needed by Washington. 

Though small, Trenton proved Americans could defeat Europeans. Washington’s men gained new confidence. Many more joined his cause, ensuring its survival when it had seemed all but defeated.

Battle Of Trenton : Washington’s Christmas Miracle Written by Garrett Anderson

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