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Washington Crossing the Delaware
On December 20, 2000 more troops arrived with General John Sullivan and another 800 arrived with General Horatio Gates. These additional troops gave Washington the confidence that he had enough troops to make a move. The British army was stationed across New Jersey in outposts from Burlington in the south to New Bridge in the north. Trenton was one of the most vulnerable spots and this is where Washington decided to attack. During the evening of the 25th, three groups of soldiers attempted to cross the Delaware into New Jersey. Washington's group was the only one to successfully get across due to a severe snowstorm. Washington's troops then split into two parties and attacked the town from different directions.
About 1400 Hessian forces under the command of Colonel Johann Rall were sleeping, having let their guard down due to the snowstorm. Rall had been warned of an imminent attack, but the snowstorm caused him to discount any attack that night. Just after daylight, Washington's troops began to come across Hessian posts as they approached the town. A firefight began and the Hessians retreated into town, realizing they were outnumbered.
Colonel Rall tried to organize a counterattack, but his troops were soon scattered and overwhelmed. Rall himself received a mortal gunshot wound in the combat. A few hundred Hessians escaped town to the south, but eventually nearly 1,000 surrendered. 22 Hessians were killed and 83 wounded in the fighting. The Americans lost only 2 men and that was due to exposure, while only 5 were wounded.
The Battle of Trenton was a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. The victory revived the spirits of patriots everywhere and encouraged more men to enlist in the Continental Army. Within a few days, Washington's men would return to Trenton and turn back British reinforcements again on January 2. They would sneak off in the night to Princeton to overwhelm another Hessian garrison on the 3rd. These victories would turn the tide of the war.
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