Altering the Course of the American Revolution - Essay Example

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This paper "Altering the Course of the American Revolution" focuses on the fact that the victories at Trenton and Princeton exercised a very significant impact on the course of the American Revolution, less in the sense of the scope of their conquests than in their broader significance.   …
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Altering the Course of the American Revolution
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Download file to see previous pages Though the furtive victories at Trenton and then at Princeton did not inflict heavy military harm on the British troops, the campaign served psychologically to reinvigorate the spirit of the debilitated and, thanks to the poor oversight of an inept Continental Congress, nearly-destitute army of disillusioned soldiers in the wake of an initial series of major setbacks and stinging retreats. Conversely, the battles of Trenton and Princeton might be said to mark a point in the war when the over-confidence and inscrutable miscalculations of conquering British troops and Hessian mercenaries left their better-equipped ranks susceptible to unexpected Patriot manoeuvres and stunned alarm at the remarkable tenacity of the all-but-subjugated revolutionary upstarts.

New York had recently fallen, and the Continental army had fled in full retreat across New Jersey, with the superior British forces at their heels (Ellis 96). Frightened citizens, fearful the colonial capital was doomed to fall to the British as well, were fleeing Philadelphia with their families and possessions (Rodney 13). Washington and his men had managed to traverse the Delaware River into Pennsylvania and to prevent the British from following by demolishing every sea-worthy vessel, save those required for the troops, for sixty miles along its banks (McCullough 263). Without the slightest hesitation or apology, two brigades, a full two thousand of Washington's men, had simply abandoned the fight, their enlistment up (McCullough 256). Inexplicably, rather than go after his clear advantage, the British General Howe opted for wintering down on the opposite side of the Delaware River, establishing outposts in a chain of forts stretching from New York through New Jersey, fully anticipating victory over the hapless insurrection by the following spring (Green and Pole 301).

It was December of 1776, and a Hessian brigade led by Colonel Johan von Rall was stationed in Trenton, directly across Delaware from the Patriot forces. The Hessians typically maintained outposts on round-the-clock watch and had been alerted by a Loyalist to a possible attack (Ellis 98).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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