Edward Percy Moran, Washington inspecting Colors of Hessians at Trenton’s Victory.
~ Battle of Trenton 1776 ~
It was December 25th 1776, Christmas evening and General George Washington crossed the Delaware River with his troops. His intention was to move his army into Trenton, New Jersey, and surprise the bewildered British force of 1,500 Hessian soldiers that were commanded under Colonel Rall. Washington believed that the Germans would be celebrating Christmas festivities all night. This would give him the element of surprise early the next morning because they would not be expecting a confrontation with American forces that were supposedly camped far across the Delaware River. Washington and his troops were successful in their river crossing and long march into Trenton. They reached all the way up to the picket lines on the outskirts of the village undiscovered, but by then it was too late. The firing at their approach awakened Colonel Rall and his officers. There was a sharp unorganized conflict that lasted only thirty five minutes. The Hessians were quickly defeated and the main army was quickly made prisoners. Colonel Rall was mortally wounded, and was taken back to his headquarters where he died. The victory for Washington was complete and his spoils were 1000 prisoners, 1200 small arms, six brass field pieces and all the German standards. The triumphant army recrossed the Delaware that day and went back to their encampment. The bold strike of Washington puzzled the British, for General Howe was so certain that the “backbone” of the rebellion was broken that he gave Cornwallis his leave to return to England. After this victory, the faltering militia flocked to General Washington’s standard and many of the soldiers reenlisted in the Continental Army!