Trenton, Battle of (December 26, 1776), a crucial American victory in the Revolutionary War. On Christmas night, General Washington began moving 2,400 troops against the British garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington's forces crossed the ice-clogged Delaware River from their encampment on the west bank of the river in Pennsylvania. They caught the enemy by surprise and in an hour-long battle in the morning routed some 1,400 Hessian mercenaries. Nearly 1,000 prisoners were taken, and there were no American fatalities.
The battle was important for the colonies because it came after a series of disheartening defeats and thus raised American morale. It was followed by the American victory at Princeton one week later.