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"2nd Trenton" Topic

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399 hits since 5 Jun 2018
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Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 1:30 p.m. PST

So I am looking at this battle and read where Washington fortified the creek up and down and placed a lot of guns to block the bridges. Was the creek crossable? If Washington set up works along the creek, am I to assume it could be crossed?

I have read where the British tried several times to cross one of the bridges and failed. Did Cornwallis only tried the bridges because there was not enough daylight left? It taking too long to deploy and force the creek.

Did Cornwallis think the cost in casualties would be too high to force the creek? Was the creek impassable?

Anyone have a scenario they would like to share?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

2nd Trenton always strikes me as two scenarios. The interesting one is the long rear-guard action through the day--Hand's Rifles, a section or so of guns, maybe some of the Philadelphia City Troop vs all the British they need, except that if they take time to deploy, they won't reach the creek in time.
The second one--the attempt to storm the bridge--doesn't have enough decisions to make it interesting on a table. The British have just time to try to rush the bridge, and the Americans just stand there and shoot.
State of the Assunpink(Sp?) I'll try to verify tomorrow, but the impression I got was that it was fordable by infantry, but not against opposition. Crossing with your musket and cartridge box held over your head only works if someone has cleared the far bank for you. And the banks were too steep for gun teams, so artillery had to use the bridge. Washington clearly didn't feel the place was defensible if the British had plenty of daylight to bring up guns and do preparatory fire.
Also remember the cold. Troops who wade across and die of exposure aren't technically killed in action, but they're just as dead.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 3:40 p.m. PST

I agree about Hand's retreat being the most interesting part of the battle to game. "You have 12 turns to get to Trenton, but you may not exceed XXX percentage casualties."
It would be the kind of game that few gamers would have the patience to participate in.
I have no idea what rules I would use.

Apparently Washington agreed about storming the creek and bridge not making an interesting game, since he stole away in the night and headed up to Princeton. grin

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 3:43 p.m. PST

By the way, Washington knew that upstream, the creek could have been easily forded, and he could be outflanked with nowhere to retreat.
So, for once, he did not let himself get outflanked.

Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 5:56 p.m. PST

I'm not sure how deep the creek was, but it was winter so if it froze over the British could have crossed any place along it.

I'm trying to find it, but after the assault across the bridge failed. I thought some infantry did try to wade across on the British right flank? But due to musket fire, were not successful??

As those posts above have already stated, wading across cold water in the winter can cause casualties.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 8:19 p.m. PST

I read were there was a ford up stream but the water was too swift to cross. So Washington only left a token force to cover it.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

I've been to Trenton multiple times. The creek around the bridge is in a pretty deep ravine. I have no idea if it would be fordable in early January (water levels are down in the winter). I appears to be too swift a current for ice to form thick enough to support men.
The British attacking over the bridge seems to be the only option when you see the terrain in person.

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