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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - questions 2

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - questions 2
Questions for Classroom Discussion
Prepared by Jack Bareilles
History Teacher, McKinleyville High School, McKinleyville, CA

Historical Background
In what condition is the American Revolution described as being in on Christmas Eve of
How many men did George Washington have at his command in December of 1776?
Who were the Hessians?

The Battle of Trenton
When were George Washington's officers and men supposed to cross the Delaware River
and when were they supposed to arrive in Trenton?
Who was responsible for getting the soldiers safely across the Delaware River?
How was the weather that day?
How did the weather help the Americans?
What was Henry Knox's role in the battle that day?
Why was the Battle of Trenton important to the American Revolutionary cause?

The Document
Why do you think General Washington would order each brigade to be furnished with
two "good Guides"?
What was General Stevens tasked with doing to the enemy artillery?
What else were General Stevens and his soldiers ordered to do?
"St Clairs Glovers & Sargents Brigades" were ordered to do what?
Why do you think General Washington divided his forces to attack the Hessians at
Who or what was ordered to march at the head of each brigade?
What were "Genl Fermoys" men ordered to secure?
What is "profound silence"?
Why would the men be ordered to move in "profound silence"?
What was the punishment to be for any man who "quit his Ranks"? FYI: "quit his
Ranks" means to leave one's post or run away from the battle.
Why do you think that "Capt Washington & Capt Flaharan with a party of 40 men each"
were ordered to march three miles out of town and "post themselves on the road"?
What was General Stevens ordered to do?

Overall Questions
What steps does General Washington take to ensure this is a surprise attack?
What parts of the letter show evidence of careful planning on the part of General
Why do you think General Washington felt he needed to launch a surprise attack? (Hint:
remember what you read in the Introduction.)

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