Trenton, 26 December 1776.
Photo Credit: CMH
Trenton, 26 December 1776: The winter of 1776 was the bleakest of what had become a War for Independence, a time that indeed "tried men's souls." The victorious British had driven General George Washington and his army of Continentals and militia from New York. Confident that the ill-clad and ill-fed Americans would fade away when enlistments expired at the year's end, General Sir William Howe withdrew a major portion of his force from New Jersey to the comforts of Manhattan Island. Washington realized his army's only chance of survival lay in a victory over the remaining scattered garrisons of the British and their Hessian mercenaries. On Christmas evening Washington's ragged American army left its encampment and crossed the Delaware River in a driving sleet and snow storm. At dawn, 26 December 26, 1776, the near-frozen Continentals surged into Trenton catching the Hessians, weary from the previous night's celebration, by surprise. (Center of Military History, "Soldiers of the American Rvolution" art series.)
Page last updated Tue August 16th, 2011 at 00:00