CROSSING THE DELAWARE
By the winter of 1776, the retreating American Continental Army was utterly demoralised and suffering from severe shortages. Commander-in-chief George Washington needed a victory before the enlistments ran out at the end of the year to have any hope of keeping the army together. So, on 25 December, he set off to cross back over the ice-strewn Delaware River with around 2,400 men and, the next day, attacked the town of Trenton. The Christmas assault took the defending Hessians, German mercenaries fighting for the British, completely by surprise, and 1,000 were captured. The victory did wonders for morale and allowed Washington to winter knowing that the fight would continue.