The Battle of Trenton

Revolutionary War

The Battle of Trenton took place on December 26, 1776, after General George Washington crossed the Delaware River north of Trenton, New Jersey.


Months before the battle of Trenton took place, the continental army had been suffering many losses. This resulted in a hefty drop in moral. One week prior to the battle, George Washington decided to attack Trenton, New Jersey.

The Plan

  • The Plan of the Americans where to launch coordinated attacks from three different directions.
  • General John Cadwalader would launch a attack against the British garrison at Bordentown, New Jersey to block off reinforcements from the south.
  • General James Ewing would take 700 militia across the river at Trenton Ferry, to prevent enemy troops from escaping.
  • The main force of 2,400 men would cross the river 9 miles north of Trenton and split into two groups, one under Greene and one under Sullivan.
  • Sullivan would attack the town from the south and Greene from the north.
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The Battle

  • The Hessian weren’t expecting General Washington’s attack. When Washington arrived he thought the Hessians were on guard, but he was wrong.
  • The evening before Washington’s attack the Hessian General Rall had received a warning that Americans were coming. But those where 50 other Americans who attacked a Hessian outpost. The Hessian thought that the attack was already over.
  • When Washington arrived in Trenton the Hessians were exhausted and unprepared for him and his Men’s.
  • Although General Rall tried to gather his troops he never establish an effective defensive structure.
  • He got shot quickly and was deadly wounded.
  • The Hessians quickly surrendered and the only dead Americans in this battle were two soldiers who were frozen to dead on the march to Trenton.
  • On the Hessian side there were 22 killed, 92 wounded, 918 captured and 400 escaped Men’s.

After Effects

  • This battle gave the Continental Congress new confidence, as it proved colonial forces could defeat regulars.
  • It also increased re-enlistments in the Continental Army forces. By defeating a European army, the colonials reduced the fear which the Hessians had caused earlier that year after the fighting in New York

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