Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
WASHINGTON'S CHRISTMAS GIFT
 WASHINGTON was fighting to set this country free. But the army that
the King of England sent to fight him was stronger than Washington's
army. Washington was beaten and driven out of
Brooklyn. Then he had
to leave New York. After that, he marched away into New Jersey to save
his army from being taken. At last he crossed the
Here he was safe for a while.
Some of the Hessian soldiers that the king had hired to fight against
the Americans came to Trenton. Trenton is on the
Washington and his men were on the other side of the
from the Hessians. Washington's men were
discouraged. They had been
driven back all the way from
Brooklyn. It was winter, and they had no
warm houses to stay in. They had not even warm clothes. They were
dressed in old clothes that people had given them. Some of them were
barefooted in this cold weather.
The Hessians and other soldiers of the king were waiting for the
river to freeze over. Then they would march across on the ice. They
meant to fight Washington once more, and break up his army.
 But Washington was thinking about something too.
He was waiting for Christmas. He knew that the Hessian soldiers on the
other side of the river would eat and drink a great deal on
Marching to Trenton
The afternoon of Christmas came. The Hessians were singing and
drinking in Trenton. But Washington was marching up the river bank.
Some of his barefoot men left blood marks on the snow as
The men and cannons were put into flat boats. These boats were pushed
across the river with poles. There were many great pieces of ice in
the river. But all night long the flat boats were pushed across and
then back again for more men.
 It was three o'clock on the morning
after Christmas when the last Americans crossed the river. It was
hailing and snowing, and it was very cold. Two or three of the
soldiers were frozen to death.
It was eight o'clock in the morning when Washington got to Trenton.
The Hessians were sleeping soundly. The sound of the American drums
waked them. They jumped out of their beds. They ran into the streets.
They tried to fight the Americans.
But it was too late. Washington had already taken their cannons. His
men were firing these at the Hessians. The Hessians ran into the
fields to get away. But the Americans caught them.
The battle was soon over. Washington had taken nine hundred prisoners.
This was called the battle of Trenton. It gave great joy to all the
Americans. It was Washington's Christmas gift to the country.