Little Bits of History

Battle of the Assunpink Creek

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 2, 2014
The Battle of the Assunpink Creek

The Battle of the Assunpink Creek

January 2, 1777: The Battle of the Assunpink Creek is fought. It is sometimes called the Second Battle of Trenton. It was part of the US Revolutionary War and took place, as the second name indicates, near Trenton, New Jersey. The first Battle of Trenton was fought about a week earlier on December 26, 1776 after George Washington famously Crossed the Delaware River. Because the weather was so bad the Continental Army was not expected and they managed to earn a surprise victory. This was sorely needed and did much to increase both morale, which had been flagging, and enlistment, which needed this inspirational win. After their lightning strike and victory, the army returned to Pennsylvania.

George Washington and his war council were fairly certain of a strong counter-attack. Washington moved his troops back to Trenton on December 30 and the men dug in and established a defensive position south of Assunpink Creek, a nearly 23 mile long tributary of the Delaware River. The name is from the Lenape Ahsen’pink and meant “stony, watering place”. Most of the men had signed up to fight only until December 31 and so General Washington spoke with them and asked them to stay for just one more month for a bonus of ten dollars. No one stepped forward. Washington tried again, pleading passionately with the men who had not been paid, were hungry and frozen, and tired of war. With this second plea, one brave man stepped forward and soon most of the rest followed.

On January 1, money from Congress arrived and the men were paid. Along with the money came received orders and among them was one that gave Washington powers far greater than before. He decided to stay and fight as well as ask General John Cadwalader to bring his troops to Trenton. With the new troops, Washington had 5,000 men and 40 guns spread along a 3 mile line. On December 31, news had reached Washington that General Charles Cornwallis was moving 8,000 troops to Trenton for the counter attack. The men spent the following days building earthworks stretching across the three mile front along the Creek. The position was not secure as there were places upstream that would allow British troops to perform a flanking maneuver.

As the British neared, they formed into lines and American troops opened fire from behind trees and under cover of the woods, ravines, and bends in the road. As the British reformed lines, the Americans would fall back and repeat the procedure. By 3 PM, the British were a half mile away from where the Americans had dug in. Cornwallis was leading 5,000 men with 28 guns. Washington had 6,000 troops and 40 guns. Cornwallis’s council wanted to wait until morning to attack, believing Washington trapped. During the night, Washington moved his troops around Cornwallis’ camp. Victory went to the Americans who suffered 7-100 casualties (killed or wounded) while the British had  55-365 killed, wounded, or captured. After this defeat, the British withdrew from most of New Jersey.

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. – all from George Washington

Also on this day: Liquor Through the Ages – In 1934, Pennsylvania opened the first state run liquor store.
Big Bottom – In 1791, the Big Bottom massacre took place.
The Planet Vulcan – In 1860, a new planet’s discovery was announced in Paris.
Espionage – In 1943, the Duquense Spy Ring was sentenced.

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