WASHINGTON'S CHRISTMAS GIFT TO THE AMERICAN ARMY
 Washington's army had for some time had nothing but defeat. This,
of course, was very encouraging to the British side.
There were only about three thousand men with him, and
these were suffering from cold and hunger.
Washington felt that a bold stroke must be made, and
that too very soon. He knew that there were encamped
just across the Delaware, a body of Hessian troops, who
had been hired and sent over here by the English
government to fight against the colonists.
Washington knew the ways of these Hessians; and he was
quite sure that they would spend Christmas day (1776)
in a great celebration, and very likely would be "off
guard" in the evening.
It was a terrible night. The sleet and rain were
pouring down; it was bitterly cold, and the river so
full of broken ice that, in the inky darkness, it
seemed almost impossible to get across. But Washington
was brave, his soldiers believed in him, and so they
It was four o'clock in the morning when the last
boat-load of men reached the Trenton shore. They crept
silently along the bank to where the Hessians lay,
tired out with Christmas revelry, and thus burst
suddenly upon their unsuspecting enemy. It was a
Hes-  sians were captured almost before they could rub their
eyes open. Washington lost hardly ten men in all and
captured almost one thousand Hessians, besides cannon,
guns, and ammunition. The Hessians were sent off for
winter-quarters into central Pennsylvania, where they
found many German settlers, who treated them kindly and
spoke their own language. They had a very comfortable
time there, and always spoke of Washington as "a very
good rebel." And so ended with a success at last the
year of 1776, which had for some months looked so dark
and dismal to the American Army.