America's Greatest Victories Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

At first glance the American Revolution seemed like an unwinnable war; However because of battles such as Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown the Americans were able to obtain a stunning victory against the strongest army in the world. Early Christmas morning 1776 over 2000 Americans were preparing to attack a hessian garrison at Trenton. The Americans fought bravely and were able to secure a substantial victory and the surrender of 1,400 hessian troops. On September 19th 1777 with the British invasion of New England in full swing the decisive battle of Saratoga began. 12,000 Americans forced the complete surrender of 6,600 British soldiers and gained a victory that was considered by many to be the turning point of the American Revolution. By 1781 the Americans had a major British army commanded by Charles Cornwallis under siege in Yorktown Virginia. The surrender of those troops had such a major impact on the war that many people incorrectly thought that October 19th (the date of the surrender) was the end of the war. The battles of Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown were the biggest reasons Americans were able to defeat the British in the American Revolution.
Although the battle of Trenton is most known for Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River (made famous by the 1851 painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze) the battle itself had a tremendous impact on the war. By late 1776 the Americans were “at a low ebb”(Battle of Trenton) losing battle after battle at the hands of the British. Also around this time the one year enlistment contracts of most of his troops were expiring and because of the recent string of losses Washington knew many would not re-enlist. Washington needed a victory to boost morale and carry his army through the upcoming winter.
He chose the hessian garrison at Trenton as the battle that would save his army. Late on Christmas night Washington set out to surprise the hessians and attack before they had a chance to form an adequate defense. Once he arrived at Trenton he was astonished to see that the hessians were still asleep and he still maintained the element of surprise. Luckily for Washington Colonel Rall (commander of Trenton’s garrison) ignored orders to build watchtowers and other fortifications to the town so the Americans were able to sneak into Trenton unnoticed. The assault began around eight in the morning and within an hour the enemy was routed. Trenton ended in a decisive American victory. 22 hessians were killed 83 more were wounded and 896 were captured compared to only five Americans wounded (some also believe that two Americans froze to death although this has never been confirmed.) Overall the victory at Trenton gave Washington’s men the motivation to continue fighting through the long winter spent at Valley Forge.
The battle of Saratoga was a long awaited turning point in the war for the Americans. In 1777 the Americans faced the possible loss of the New England colonies. Generals John Burgoyne and William Howe...

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