An Analysis of the Battle of Trenton

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Early on in the American Revolution, the American people believed the war to be all but over. This negative mentality was impartially due to the uphill battle faced by General George Washington and his Continental force during the fall of 1776. During that time period the Americans were defeated at the hands of the British in major battles. After suffering a number of “demoralizing defeats at Long Island, Manhattan and White Plains, the Americans were disillusioned by British victories and questioning the moral rightness of the American cause. However, the loss of major battles was only the beginning of the domino effect that provoked the downfall of the public’s faith in the American army. The accumulated number of desertions plus the expiration of one-year enlistments depleted the colonial ranks which also added to the lack of support. With the number of soldiers significantly dropping the militia was left vulnerable and weakened. General Washington described it as a “melancholy situation stating that the little handful was daily decreasing.” In addition to the enlistment setbacks, members of the Continental Army were sick, hungry and ill-quipped for the onset of winter. Without the needed support of the public, they were poorly supplied and unprepared for war. Because of this, patriotism “had reached a low point.” Americans soon found that it would take George Washington’s Winter Campaign (Victory at Trenton) to reverse the adverse effects of previously losing major battles. In order to prepare for this battle, General Washington found that it was up to him to build up a competent military force. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, Washington had less than 4,000 men who were mission ready. Washington reportedly gave a... ... middle of paper ... ...es of Trenton and Princeton. New York: Viking Press. Jay, J. (1776, December 23). [Letter to the inhabitants of the state of New York]. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City, NY. Knox, H. (1776, December 25). [Letter about the order of March to Trenton]. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City, NY. Knox, H. (1776, December 28). [Letter to Lucy Knox about the Battle of Trenton]. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City, NY Lefkowitz, A. S. (1999). The long retreat: the calamitous American defense of New Jersey, 1776. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. Stewart, R. (2010). The American Revolution, first phase. In American military history, Vol. 1, the United States Army and the forging of a nation, 1775-1917, 2009 (pp.71-72). Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, U.S. Army.
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