Six months after celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s army was nearly vanquished. He had lost ninety percent of his men and the American Revolution was almost lost. The world’s most powerful military had routed the Americans at New York, was in occupation of three of the new American states, and it was marching on Philadelphia. When George Washington was driven across the Delaware River, panic and despair was abroad throughout the new republic.
However, General Washington, and some others, did now allow the ‘Spirit of 76’ to die. As British and Hessian troops marched across New Jersey, the people of that former colony took a stand against them. On Christmas night of 1776, when a terrible winter storm struck, George Washington saw opportunity. He led his men back across the Delaware River where they ferociously attacked the Hessian troops at Trenton, killing and capturing nearly one thousand soldiers. A second battle of Trenton followed within days and then, when Lord Cornwallis counterattacked with his very best troops, the Americans held them off. Giving no quarter, under cover of night, Washington sent his men behind the enemy’s lines and struck them again, defeating them at Princeton, New Jersey. After twelve weeks of fighting in the dead of winter, the British army was severely damaged, its strategy ruined, and the psche of its leaders broadly shaken. New Jersey was freed from British hold.
Learn More: The American Revolution