The Battle of Trenton took place on December 26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, after General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton, New Jersey.
The Continental Army had previously suffered several defeats in New York and had been forced to retreat through New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Morale in the army was low; to end the year on a positive note, George Washington, the Army's Commander-in-Chief, devised a plan to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and surround the Hessian garrison.
But something went horribly wrong.
Point of Divergence
As the grim-faced Revolutionaries paddled silently across the icy Delaware, one man, crouched next to none other than Washington himself, was knocked over by a small swell. As he hit the rough, wooden floor of the boat, his gun discharged, sending a lump of cold iron through Washington's calf and alerting the few sober Hessians of their presence. When the Revolutionaries landed, they were met by the 1,500-strong force of mercenaries. Nearly 1,900 Revolutionaries died, and the rest were captured. The only people to escape were George Washington and two of his soldiers, who headed upriver in one of the boats.
The British Empire's Response
Terrified of the chance of another revolution, British soldiers rampaged across the country, wiping out anyone who harboured Revolutionary sympathies. Over the course of eight months, they killed roughly 9,000 people and imprisoning scores more. America was renamed New Britannia and many countries in the Empire cracked down on insurgent groups.