Frederick the Great of Prussia called these ten days “the most brilliant in the world’s history.”
After winning the Battle of Trenton, Christmas night, George Washington’s small 1,200 man force confronted General Cornwallis’ 4,500 man British army.
The night before the battle, Washington left his campfires burning and marched his army in absolute silence around the back of the British camp at Princeton, New Jersey.
Gun were wrapped in heavy cloth to stifle any noise.
At daybreak, JANUARY 3, 1777, Washington attacked.
When the British fought back with a bayonet charge killing General Mercer and dozens of soldiers, theAmerican militia under General John Cadwalader began to flee.
General George Washington saw this, he quickly rode to the front to stop the retreat.
He ordered the men to follow him as he rode to within 30 yards of the British.
Quickly turning and facing his men, Washington yelled “Halt!” and then “Fire!”
The British immediately returned by firing a volley, filling the field with a cloud of smoke.
Many thought Washington was surely shot, as he was exposed to fire from both sides.
American officer John Fitzgerald pulled his hat down to cover his eyes so as to not see Washington killed.
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