General George Washington faces a moment of truth along the banks of Assunpink Creek when he is confronted by his old nemesis, General Charles Cornwallis, and some of the best soldiers in the British Army,

Washington's Continentals have already driven back three frontal assaults, but the British have now discovered a ford leading to the Americans' vulnerable right flank. During this battle, General Washington had to decide if his army should stand firm and face Cornwallis, fall back to Philadelphia, or advance north into New Jersey.

What will dawn bring on January 3, 1777, and how will Washington meet the threat?

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George Washington at Princeton (United States Senate)

With the Continental Army threatening to dissolve around him, General George Washington led the remnants of his army across the icy Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 towards a Hessian garrison at Trenton. The subsequent victories at the Battles of Second Trenton and Princeton secured Washington's place as one of the greatest generals in world history.

Despite their success in repulsing several frontal attacks at the Battle of Second Trenton on January 2, 1777, Washington and his senior officers were filled with a sense of dread. General Charles Cornwallis’ British army of 8,000 veteran soldiers were poised to deliver a punishing blow the following morning. That the British had discovered a ford that led to the vulnerable American right flank made the American position on the Assunpink Creek near Trenton all the more dangerous.

Rather than risk defeat in Trenton, Washington, in collaboration with his senior officers, agreed upon a bold and dangerous plan. That very night the Continental Army quietly left its positions along the creek and marched east and then turned north towards Princeton. With deceptive campfires still burning along the creek, Washington’s intrepid soldiers began their 18-mile march through the dark and bitterly cold night. By marching undetected, Washington retained the all-important initiative and avoided any movement that suggested retreat. Washington’s successful night march on January 2 and 3, 1777 is remembered as one of the great flank marches in American history.

The Trenton-Princeton Campaign

Map: Battle of Second Trenton

It's Your Turn to Lead

Step into the boots of commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and make the very same decisions as General George Washington in this exciting interactive experience.

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