When the holiday season rolls around in the Capital City, many of us will be tucked inside our homes, cozied up with family and enjoying the warm glow of this special season. But for members of the Continental Army, Christmas Day was the time to spring into action. Of all of Trenton’s immense contributions to local and national history, perhaps its greatest was the role this community played in the midst of the Revolutionary War. With tensions growing between the colonies and our foes across the pond, the fledgling United States found itself at a crossroads. Would this newly formed nation collapse at the pressure of their rivals, or would the United States emerge victorious as they sought to forge their own path? Here in Trenton, that question would be answered, setting the stage for the nation’s eventual victory.
On cold Christmas night, General Washington’s trooped were huddled on the banks of the Delaware, desperate to make advancements in their campaign against the British troops. By this time, the Hessians had already occupied Trenton and were well-prepared to continue their fight. With dwindling numbers of troops and a general lack of morale, things were not looking bright for Washington’s troops. However, despite these less-than-ideal conditions, the Continental Army pressed on, knowing that the fate of this nation was on the line. With the blistering wind of the Delaware River at their backs, these brave servicemen knew that the fate of this country rested within their hands. So, off they set on a treacherous voyage, knowing not yet what they would find on the other side of the river.
To make sure that their voyage was a successful, Washington’s troop was in desperate need of a strategy. The Hessians, a group of German mercenaries enlisted by the British, were a brutal and unrelenting group of fighters. Tipping off that troops were approaching assured an even fiercer battle, so to keep the upper hand, Washington and his team devised a plan to sneak up on these enemy forces. Together, Washington and his troops sailed across the river to their destination in Trenton, where Hessian forces awaited unsuspecting of the attack that was to come.
When we see the iconic painting of Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware, one couldn’t help but wonder what may have been going through their minds. A dreary Christmas night with an uncertain battle ahead, fear, anxiety, excitement, dread, and a whole host of other complex emotions no doubt raced through their minds. Nevertheless, onward they trudged, ready to face whatever awaited them across the river.
In a thrilling turn of events for the Continental troops, the US emerged victorious from this battle with a newfound momentum in-tow. It was right here in Trenton that the tides of the Revolution turned, giving our troops a renewed sense of purpose which would carry them all the way to victory. Residents of Trenton can take pride, knowing that in history classrooms all throughout the nation, generations will continue to tell the tale of the triumph in Trenton. A proud moment for the country, and an even prouder moment for the community, this nation continues to owe a great debt of honor to Trenton for its place in the Revolution.
As you get ready to celebrate the holidays, taking a moment to reflect on years past can be a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season. As we look back on the past and prepare for a new year ahead, let’s take a moment to pause and show our thanks for these valiant revolutionaries whose service played a role in securing freedom for the nation we call home. Happy Holidays!
The post Historic Happenings: A Consequential Christmas in Trenton first appeared on TrentonDaily.
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