What was the outcome of the Battle of Trenton?


Quick Answer

The outcome of the Battle of Trenton was a victory for General George Washington's colonial army. Almost 1,000 Hessians in the employ of the British army were killed, wounded or captured. The triumph, coming after a string of defeats, encouraged and unified the Continental Army.

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Full Answer

After a series of losses in New York City, Washington and his troops retreated south through New Jersey. To escape the pursuit of the armies under British Generals Howe and Cornwallis, the Americans crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. However, the American army was low on both morale and supplies. To bolster the confidence of his men, Washington planned a bold attack on the town of Trenton in New Jersey, which was guarded by about 1,500 Hessian troops.

On the night of Dec. 25, 1776, Washington and his men crossed back over the Delaware through ice floes. Although his support troops were unable to get across the river, Washington proceeded with his plan, marching south through the night and surrounding Trenton. The battle was brief, and the Hessians swiftly surrendered.

Although the Americans lost few men, Hessian casualties were high, with 22 dead and 918 captured. The victory stunned and discouraged British forces, renewing confidence in Washington and the Continental Army, bolstering re-enlistments and encouraging new recruits.

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