The Revolutionary War’s turning point: the Battle of Trenton
The American Revolutionary War pit America against Great Britain in the battle of the ages. George Washington was looking to throw hands with Colonel Johann Rall following a tremendous loss. The Battle of Trenton would become vital to America’s inevitable victory.
The desire for vital information
December 1776 was probably one of the worst times in American history. The British kicked the Continental Army out of NYC like a bad habit. The only place left for American troops was New Jersey. Unfortunately, they weren’t alone when they arrived. 1,400 Hessian soldiers led by Rall took over the town of Trenton.
Washington decided to gather some information by using a spy named John Honeyman. Born in Ireland, Honeyman was part of the British Army. More importantly, he worked for Major General James Wolfe, which made it easier for him to pose as a Tory. As a butcher, he gained valuable information from the British and Hessians in the area. After gaining enough data, he made a plan with Washington to be captured by the Continental Army. Upon returning, he faked an escape back to Trenton with news of Washington not heading to the area.
The battle is on
With the Hessians and British assuming Washington gave up, they diminished their security presence. What they didn’t realize was Washington was working on a plan to take them out. Washington had his sights set on bringing 5,400 troops with him for a Christmas battle.
Down in Trenton, Rall heard bits and pieces about a possible attack. They brushed it off as if it didn’t concern them. Washington & Co, however, made things a bit rough after tampering with their supply lines. With 1,500 troops split into different sections, the Hessians waited for the Americans arrival. The trip to Trenton was a bit tricky. Due to the icy conditions, only 2,400 soldiers were able to travel on the Delaware River. The remaining troops simply gave their well wishes as they headed back to the camp.
A late Christmas present
In the morning of December 26, 1776, the Americans arrived knowing they were in for a fight. Unfortunately for the Hessians, their forces learned they were no match for the opposition. “Having the high-ground in battle during that time was critically important. You also have to remember there was severe weather with sleet and snow and the muskets the German soldiers were using couldn’t fire, but Washington’s cannons could, and that turned out to make a critical difference,” Trenton historian Ralph Siegel told The Washington Examiner.
What made this worse was the Hessian band playing music to help enhance the troop’s spirits. There’s nothing worse than getting your ass kicked to a soundtrack. When it was all said and done, the Hessians gave up to the Americans. 22 Hessians were killed in battle while 83 of them were wounded. 896 of them were captured by the American army and sent to Virginia. Rall would die later that night following some gnarly blows. On the American side, only two soldiers were killed, but it wasn’t from the battle. They lost their lives due to the intense frostbite in the area. They didn’t get frostbite from their hands, either. They just simply didn’t wear shoes that day.
For Washington, this battle was more than just taking down the Hessians. It was a huge morale boost during one of the nation’s biggest wars. The win also saw more people enlisting for the war. While the British gave up years later, the Battle of Trenton showed them the viciousness of American troops. To this day, various people re-enact the battle scene on December 26. We’re just wondering if they kept the two frostbitten soldiers in the final script.