By now everyone is aware of the famous painting of General George Washington and his ragtag starving army crossing the Delaware. They did this on Christmas Day and were en route to the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington’s bold plan to quietly and quickly surround the Hessian garrison and win a much-needed battle was a pivotal win for the fledgling American Revolution.
The army had suffered defeats in New York, morale was low, the troops were starving and hungry and the revolution was on the verge of collapsing. But Washington’s bold attack and victory would inspire men to stay on in the army and would lead to more recruits rallying to the cause. The revolution even after Trenton would be far from a certainty but it was a much-needed rallying point.
Washington’s Plan: The Continental Army was in a bad way by December. They’d been routed out of New York and Long Island by the British and Hessians. They retreated across New Jersey and were across the river in Pennsylvania. The Hessians moved into Trenton, which was a small town at that time to establish their winter quarters. The Hessians numbered about 1400 men in four regiments and were commanded by Colonel Johann Rall.
Washington had about 2400 men under his command and planned to attack Trenton using three coordinated attacks.