Battle of Trenton

Two weeks ago we based our lesson on the first Thanksgiving. Today we will tie in some historical events with the Christmas holiday season. The events the I have selected for our lesson today took place on Christmas night in the year 1776.
Can anyone tell me what happened?
General George Washington was the main character! He crossed a river! After crossing the Delaware River in freezing weather, he defeated the British army stationed in Trenton, New Jersey and captured almost a thousand prisoners.
The British army holding Trenton, New Jersey was made up of hired German soldiers from the country of Hesse that later became a state in the German Empire. Now lets back up and review some of the crucial events leading up to the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton.
About a year and a half before the Battle of Trenton, Geroge Washington had been named the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and had assumed command of the Army at Boston shortly thereafter. General Washington brought up some artillery that had been captured from the British at Fort Ticondaroga and began to place his cannons and mortars on the high ground around Boston.
The British General Howe, realizing that his position in Boston was dangerous with Washington’s artillery holding the high ground and able to direct their fire to any part of the city, decided to evacuate Boston and move his army and General Headquarters to New York. General Washington moved his Army to New York but was unable to stop the British from landing on Staten Island and then Long Island and finally Manhattan.
The Continental Army was defeated at White Plains, New York. Washington withdrew into New Jersey with a British Army led by General Cornwallis in hot pursuit. Washington managed to out distance the British Army and escaped with his Army across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The British gave up the chase and retired to Winter quarters in New York but left garrisons in Trenton and New Brunswick, New Jersey and several other places.
General Washington decided to strike back and selected Trenton as his target and you know the results—a welcome victory for a change! When General Howe heard the bad news in New York, he ordered General Cornwallis and his army back to Trenton to smash the Continental Army. The two armies met just east of Trenton and Cornwallis planned to attack the next morning but Washington left a few men behind to keep camp fires burning and with the rest of his Army slipped around Cornwallis’ Army and at dawn met the British Army from new Brunswick marching to join Cornwallis and defeted them with heavy losses at Princeton, New Jersey.
The Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton were strategic victories for the American forces and gave the morale of the Colonies a big boost. Some historians say that victory in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton were the turning point in the Revolutionary War. No longer was there any question whether the citizen soldier—the militiamen of the American Colonies—could stand up and fight and hold their own with the hired professional soldiers and the British regulars. All they needed were capable and determined leaders and in General George Washington they found a great commander.
Charles Beard and his wife Mary, both distinguished American historians, had this to say about him: “Gen. Washington had no doubts about the justice of his cause. Stern, dogged, patient, he drove straight ahead amid victory and defeat. Nothing could shake his iron will.” There is no doubt in my mind that he deserves his place in the history of our nation.
And when you celebrate the Christmas holidays, remember the cold and weary soldiers of the Continental Army who on Christmas nights in 1776, while others were enjoying the feasts and merry making, moved out through cold and ice to strike a decisive blow for freedom and democracy.

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