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The Battle Of Trenton Essay

1517 words - 7 pages

In late 1776, General George Washington desperately needed a victory. His Soldiers morale was slumping, and public attitude was deteriorating. Washington had set his sights on Trenton, but for him to assure some much needed success; he needed intelligence on the British’s camp at Trenton. He turned to a strong patriot, John Honeyman who agreed to embed himself as a spy for General Washington. Washington sent Honeyman forth from his home in Philadelphia to Griggs town, New Jersey which was 17 miles from Trenton. Honeyman settled in and posed as a butcher and a loyalist to the British King. Honeyman immediately made numerous contacts with the opposition and was soon regularly supplying beef to the Hessian troops stationed at Trenton, and consistently gaining their trust. The demand for beef was continues as the Christmas holidays approached, and Honeyman became familiar with the Hessian camp and the roads around the town. This is exactly what General Washington was looking for, an informant that new the inside of the opposition. General George Washington was a firm believer in intelligence and especially the hidden secret of the intelligence world and stated, “The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent & need not be further urged--All that remains for me to add is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in most enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned & promising a favorable issue.” George Washington
At the end of 1776 the destiny of the Continental Army and its commander, George Washington, were at a low fade. Despite the great optimism inspired by the publication of Paine’s Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Army’s initial military engagements had been disastrous. The first real test had come at the Battle of Bunker Hill. With the British losing more than 1000 casualties, the result of the battle was still a victory for the British. Then the battle of Long Island was determinedly a defeat of New York City, where many of the Continental Soldiers had fled in fear, causing Washington to lose his temper in frustration. The Army was proving to be disorganized, undisciplined and, when confronted with large numbers of British, the Soldiers were frightened for their lives. The Continental Army was short of skilled and experienced officers so Washington had found it almost impossible to convey and implement orders. There were also shortages of numerous different supplies for the Continental Army; men, horses, wagons, uniforms, food, weapons and munitions. To make it worse for the commanders and their troops was that there was no certainty of whether these things would arrive to the battlefield at all. Washington was also clearly aware that the enlistment term of many Soldiers was due to expire. If these Soldiers chose not to re-enlist and new recruits did not join, this would decimate the...

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