Why did the Battle of Trenton occur?


Quick Answer

During the American Civil War, General George Washington attacked the British and Hessian forces at Trenton out of desperation. Morale was at a low ebb for the Continental Army and the annual enlistment period was about to end.

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Full Answer

The American forces were in danger at the time and in need of troops. A combination of defeat in New York and a harsh winter made the prospect of troop enlistment look bleak. With little time left in his current army's one-year enlistment period, Washington resolved to try an attack on Trenton. Washington's forces were poorly equipped but benefited greatly from a lack of preparation by Trenton's garrison commander and his refusal to take news of Washington's approach seriously.

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