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.
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.