Only a pivotal point in time and brave men is all it takes to decide the fate of a nation!
History as we know it is often misrepresented, incomplete, and even intentionally altered for political reason. We now know that since the early 1900's that an effort was underway to undermine American exceptionalism and use the school room as a way for the government to exert mental control over the children just as we're seeing today. When charitable trusts like Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller among others were conspiring to introduce socialism into the classroom and transform the events of US history into a departure from the efforts of our Founding Fathers by distorting the truth, the game was on.
Getting it straight
Such is the case with the historical account of General George Washington's capture of Trenton, New Jersey on the night of December 25, 1776 when on a bitterly cold Christmas eve he led the tattered Continental Army on a raid that overwhelmed Hessian troops who were garrisoned there. The victory was much more important than simply winning a single battle though, and according to the neglectful historians who present their flawed account, the Hessians were not drunk, unwary, and unprepared to defend their encampment. The general impression given in most history books is that the Hessians were unskilled soldiers, half asleep and drunk having been caught off guard, or Washington and his rag tag army would not have prevailed. All incorrect and intended to mislead the students.
Quite to the contrary! Prior to the surprise attack Washington had planned when he met with his staff of officers to arrange the assault, his ambition was not well received. Claiming that due to the heavy snowfall munitions and gun powder might have been damp and incapable of igniting! The men his officers argued were not ready for battle, and the weather conditions were too oppressive to conduct an operation. One officer even challenged General Washington's competence as a rational leader and suggested he be relieved of command. Upon Washington's orders, General Gates, commander of the southern army in the Carolinas was ordered out of the staff meeting by gun point by one of the soldiers and rode his horse out of the Continental Army's headquarters.
In one of the coldest winter nights in memory Washington's army set out in a practical blizzard as horse drawn artillery, boats for the crossing, and recruits who were pushed to their limit marched several miles to the shores of the Delaware River. Washington's officers had argued that the Hessians had spies all over the place and that any major operation would be detected and sent to the enemy, but this did not happen. No one expected that the Continental Army would march in such conditions! Yet fate took an unexpected turn.
Prior to Washington's attack a separate unit of Militiamen and their Captain had arrived at the same idea and had assaulted the Hessian positions before the Continental Army under Washington could arrive. When General Washington received word from the Captain of the defeated Militia forces that he had just attempted a siege upon the Hessian defenses the future president of the United States was furious! "You, Sir, have just compromised my battle plans!"
However, Washington channeled his rage into further determination! He implored troops who would have followed him into hell to continue with their mission, and they remained loyal to the ambition of the father of a nation yet to succeed at its destiny! They arrived at the river's shore and began launching the boats upon icy waters that could have been too frozen to traverse. The troops, their cannons, pack animals and carts were all loaded and the crossing began.
Where the lies end and the truth prevailed
History has portrayed the Hessians as incompetent, unmotivated, and halfhearted in their efforts, but in reality they were crack German troops loyal to the cause of King George's government and being paid well for their services by the crown. Another lie made by historians is that they were asleep after a Christmas feast of food and wine and only a few sentries were on guard when, in truth, they had just repulsed the efforts of the Militiamen and their captain and were on full alert! The Hessians were, by no means, incapable or asleep at the wheel. They were at their positions even if they did not expect a second assault.
As always, Washington's plans unfolded effectively once his assets were positioned. The cannons roared, the Continental soldiers charged into battle overwhelming their Hessian opponents with a ferocity that intimidated the well-trained Germans. The defensive perimeter quickly broke down as Washington's men stormed the Hessian emplacements. The German commander attempted to rally his men but to no avail. He was soon forced to surrender under the savage attack by the Continental troops as musket fire blazed and the Hessian soldiers fell to the bayonets of the Americans!
Changing of fortunes
The prior summer the Continental Army had been fighting a series of battles that they had lost and been forced to retreat from either the British but had also been engaged by the Hessians and had lost to them as well. The Redcoats were confident that they could wait out Washington's forces until spring and then simply dictate terms of surrender since the Americans had lost New York and the Congress had been forced to flee Philadelphia with news that there were no longer any Continental Army forces between them and the British! It seemed a forgone conclusion that King George's forces were in perfect position to deliver the final blow and could do so at their convenience.
The victory at Trenton bought precious time for the Americans, provided much needed provisions, weapon stores, and ammunition, but it also achieved a great morale victory that at least guaranteed the life of General Washington's army until spring. Meanwhile news of the Colonial victory got back to Europe and bolstered a renewed confidence in the new world which would also bring the trade needed to help finance the war effort along with possible allies willing to assist in the revolution against the English! The Redcoats now unsure of Continental Army's strength and actual position were reticent to send an expeditionary force into the area to engage Washington's forces in the immediate future which gave the Yankees much needed time to recover and regroup.
Far reaching implications
Thanks to General George Washington's gamble and his fearless determination the momentum of the War for Independence had suddenly turned the tables on the British. The victory over Commander John Phall's command at Trenton paved the way for 2 more victories over the British as Washington once again crossed the Delaware leading his column on January 2nd to defeat General Lord Cornwallis rear guard forces then advancing to Princeton and handing the British another loss. Washington's Army had also captured 2/3's of the Hessian soldiers with hardly any casualties. The daring raid on Trenton had led to an inspiring vengeance that breathed new life into the American Revolution. Today we can still feel the effects of the past as the US Marines now declare that miserable weather is "Attack Weather" for our Devil Dogs! Amazingly, pivotal moments such as Trenton, New Jersey in 1776 paved the way for American independence in bleak times!