Daily Archive: 12/26/2014

Dec 26 2014

Hessians

A reprint from 2007 but as true today as it ever was.

As U.S. troops return to Iraq, more private contractors follow

By Warren Strobel and Phil Stewart, Reuters

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:17am EST

The U.S. government is preparing to boost the number of private contractors in Iraq as part of President Barack Obama’s growing effort to beat back Islamic State militants threatening the Baghdad government, a senior U.S. official said.

How many contractors will deploy to Iraq – beyond the roughly 1,800 now working there for the U.S. State Department – will depend in part, the official said, on how widely dispersed U.S. troops advising Iraqi security forces are, and how far they are from U.S. diplomatic facilities.



The presence of contractors in Iraq, particularly private security firms, has been controversial since a series of violent incidents during the U.S. occupation, culminating in the September 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqis by guards from Blackwater security firm.

Three former guards were convicted in October of voluntary manslaughter charges and a fourth of murder in the case, which prompted reforms in U.S. government oversight of contractors.



The number of Pentagon contractors, which in late 2008 reached over 163,000 – rivaling the number of U.S. troops on the ground at the time – has fallen sharply with reduced U.S. military presence.



In late 2013, the Pentagon still had 6,000 contractors in Iraq, mostly supporting U.S. weapon sales to the Baghdad government, Wright said.

But there are signs that trend will be reversed. The Pentagon in August issued a public notice that it was seeking help from private firms to advise Iraq’s Ministry of Defense and its Counter Terrorism Service.

From Wikipedia’s entry on the American Revolutionary War

Early in 1775, the British Army consisted of about 36,000 men worldwide… Additionally, over the course of the war the British hired about 30,000 soldiers from German princes, these soldiers were called “Hessians” because many of them came from Hesse-Kassel. The troops were mercenaries in the sense of professionals who were hired out by their prince. Germans made up about one-third of the British troop strength in North America.

On December 26th 1776 after being chased by the British army under Lords Howe and Cornwallis augmented by these “Hessians” led by Wilhelm von Knyphausen from Brooklyn Heights to the other side of the Delaware the fate of the Continental Army and thus the United States looked bleak.  The Continental Congress abandoned Philidephia, fleeing to Baltimore.  It was at this time Thomas Paine was inspired to write The Crisis.

The story of Washington’s re-crossing of the Delaware to successfully attack the “Hessian” garrison at Trenton is taught to every school child.

On March 31, 2004 Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA.

The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates.

Of this incident the next day prominent blogger Markos Moulitsas notoriously said-

Every death should be on the front page (2.70 / 40)

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

(From Corpses on the Cover by gregonthe28th.  This link directly to the comment doesn’t work for some reason.)

Now I think that this is a reasonable sentiment that any patriotic American with a knowledge of history might share.

Why bring up this old news again, two days from the 231st anniversary of the Battle of Trenton?

Warnings Unheeded On Guards In Iraq

Despite Shootings, Security Companies Expanded Presence

By Steve Fainaru, Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, December 24, 2007; A01

The U.S. government disregarded numerous warnings over the past two years about the risks of using Blackwater Worldwide and other private security firms in Iraq, expanding their presence even after a series of shooting incidents showed that the firms were operating with little regulation or oversight, according to government officials, private security firms and documents.



Last year, the Pentagon estimated that 20,000 hired guns worked in Iraq; the Government Accountability Office estimated 48,000.



The Defense Department has paid $2.7 billion for private security since 2003, according to USA Spending, a government-funded project that tracks contracting expenditures; the military said it currently employs 17 companies in Iraq under contracts worth $689.7 million. The State Department has paid $2.4 billion for private security in Iraq — including $1 billion to Blackwater — since 2003, USA Spending figures show.



The State Department’s reliance on Blackwater expanded dramatically in 2006, when together with the U.S. firms DynCorp and Triple Canopy it won a new, multiyear contract worth $3.6 billion. Blackwater’s share was $1.2 billion, up from $488 million, and the company more than doubled its staff, from 482 to 1,082. From January 2006 to April 2007, the State Department paid Blackwater at least $601 million in 38 transactions, according to government data.

The company developed a reputation for aggressive street tactics. Even inside the fortified Green Zone, Blackwater guards were known for running vehicles off the road and pointing their weapons at bystanders, according to several security company representatives and U.S. officials.

Based on insurance claims there are only 25 confirmed deaths of Blackwater employees in Iraq, including the four killed in Fallujah.  You might care to contrast that with the 17 Iraqis killed on September 16th alone.  Then there are the 3 Kurdish civilians in Kirkuk on February 7th of 2006.  And the three employees of the state-run media company and the driver for the Interior Ministry.

And then exactly one year ago today, on Christmas Eve 2006, a Blackwater mercenary killed the body guard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi while drunk at a Christmas party (the mercenary, not the guard or Vice President Abdul-Mahdi who were both presumably observant Muslims and no more likely to drink alcohol than Mitt Romney to drink tea).

Sort of makes all those embarrassing passes you made at co-workers and the butt Xeroxes at the office party seem kind of trivial, now doesn’t it?

So that makes it even at 25 apiece except I’ve hardly begun to catalog the number of Iraqis killed by trigger happy Blackwater mercenaries.

They say irony is dead and I (and Santayana) say that the problem with history is that people who don’t learn from it are doomed to repeat it.

Dec 26 2014

Christmas Earthquake & Tsunami Remembered

On December 26, 2004 at 00:58:53 UTC an 9.3 earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean centered just off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggered a massive tsumani that wiped out the coast line of that island and effected 14 other nations in Southeast Asia and Africa. It is estimated to have killed over 250,000 people but the real death toll will never be truly known. It was still Christmas in New York City, when word started trickling in about the devastation.

Ten years later, much of Indonesia and the region has bounced back but for many the scars still remain and they still mourn.

People across Southeast Asia gathered along the shores of the Indian Ocean on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004.

One of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history, it killed 230,000 people and displaced millions in 12 countries.

Services were held to remember the dead in countries including Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. Moments of silence were planned in several locations to mark the exact time the tsunami hit.

“I cannot forget the smell of the air, the water at that time … even after 10 years,” Teuku Ahmad Salman said at a prayer service attended by thousands of people in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Sobbing, the 51-year-old said: “I cannot forget how I lost hold of my wife, my kids, my house.”

He said he refused to believe for years that his family had died, but eventually gave up looking for them.

There are some excellent before and after pictures in this article by Margaret Munro in the National Post:

Huge waves washing boats, vehicles, trees and bodies up streets and hillsides. Desperate parents and families searching for children and relatives who had been swept away. Heart-breaking images of missing tourists, last seen smiling under sunny skies and palm trees.

The Boxing Day tsunami off the Indonesian coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004 was one of the world’s worst disasters.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake had unzipped a 1,300-kilometre subduction zone, heaving the sea floor and generating killer waves that took almost a quarter of a million lives (more than 230,000) in 14 countries.

Scientists knew the quake had occurred – it was picked up on seismographs half a world away – and suspected a tsunami was racing across the Indian Ocean. But there was no effective way to warn communities so people could head to higher ground, even though in some regions it took hours for the giant waves to arrive.

Dec 26 2014

Boxing Day

Boxing Day.

On the day after Christmas…

  • In feudal times the lord of the manor would give boxes of practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land.
  • Many years ago on the day after Christmas servants would carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day’s work. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts.
  • In churches, it was traditional to open the church’s donation box on Christmas Day and distribute it to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day.

Take your pick.

In the world of retail Boxing Day is the day everyone brings back all the crap they got for gifts that they didn’t want or is the wrong size or the wrong color or that they shoplifted and now want full retail for instead of the 10% that the local fence will give them.

Now fortunately for me I never had to work the counter during this period of long lines and testy, hung over sales people and managers dealing with irate customers who think that making their sob story more pitiful than the last one will get them any treatment more special than what everyone gets.

  1. Is it all there?
  2. Is it undamaged?
  3. Did you buy it here?

Bingo, have some store credit.  Go nuts.  Have a nice day.

What makes it especially crappy for the clerks is that you don’t normally get a lot of practice with the return procedures because your manager will handle it since it’s easier than training you.  Now you have 20 in a row and the first 7 or 8 are slow until you get the hang of things.

As a customer I have to warn you, this is not a swap meet.  If they didn’t have a blue size 6 on Christmas Eve, they don’t have it now either EVEN IF THE CUSTOMER RIGHT AHEAD OF YOU IN LINE JUST RETURNED A SIZE 6 IN BLUE!

It has to go back to the warehouse for processing and re-packaging.  Really.

So if you braved the surly stares today you have my admiration for your tenacity.  If you waited for the rush to pass my respect for your brilliance.

But don’t wait too long.  It all has to be out of the store before February inventory so it doesn’t have to be counted.

Dec 26 2014

The Grimm Affair

In a predictable fashion, convicted felon and admitted liar, Representative Michael Grimm refused to resign from his seat representing Staten Island and part of Brooklyn in New York’s Congressional District 11.

Representative Grimm said he had no intention of stepping down. “Absolutely not,” he said.

He sounded equally resolute when he declared himself “guilty” to Judge Pamela K. Chen of United States District Court in Brooklyn, who accepted his plea and noted that it included his signing of a “statement of facts” in which he acknowledged committing perjury, hiring illegal immigrants and committing wire fraud.

Judge Chen then commanded Mr. Grimm to return to court for sentencing on June 8. Federal prosecutors, who along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service have investigated Mr. Grimm for years, are seeking a penalty of at least two years in prison. His lawyers, some of whom joined the proceedings via conference call from Florida, are asking for a more lenient sentence and will almost certainly recommend probation.

However, Judge Chen didn’t sound like she would be considering probation:

“Do you understand all of the possible consequences of your guilty plea?” she asked.

“I do, Your Honor,” he said.

Judge Chen warned that she could “depart upward or downward” from sentencing guidelines. Mr. Grimm said he understood, and also acknowledged that he had forfeited his right to appeal any sentence less than 33 months in jail.

Mr. Grimm still doesn’t have the decency to resign. Nor did 54% of Staten Island voters have the decency to reject him, even though it was clear in November that Mr. Grimm would at least be convicted of the tax evasion charge. The IRS rarely loses. Now, not only was he guilty of tax evasion but admitted that he lied and that the other charges were fact. How fitting that the red district of NYC should be represented by a Crook and a liar.

It took MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow two segments to highlight just how embarrassing this will be for the GOP to have a felon serving in congress and Sadly, the few options to pressure Mr. Grimm to resign.

Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show started off with a brief review of crimers in Congress. It’s not as long a list as you might think! She focuses on California Republican Jay Kim, who was convicted of campaign fraud in 1998 and became the first – and so far, only – member of Congress who walked its hallowed halls wearing a monitoring bracelet attached to his ankle. Kim’s estranged wife said he was “the most crime-committing person I know.” He lost his primary that year and soon became the footnote he was destined to be.

Actual felons in Congress are something of a rarity, Maddow notes, because of a reassuring human tendency to eventually do the right thing – either the convicted Congressturds resign or the voters pick someone else.

In a laughable editorial, the conservative Staten Island Advance Editorial Board, with its usual right wing slant that this was a political witch hunt, has suggested that Mr. Grimm to step down:

Just two months ago, the Staten Island Advance urged voters to elect Michael Grimm to a third term in the Congress.

That while he faced a 20-count federal indictment in connection with a health food restaurant he owned prior to entering political life.

Voters overwhelmingly agreed.

Today, we think Mr. Grimm would be right to step down from his position in the United States Congress. [..]

We have little doubt that legions of Mr. Grimm’s supporters will stand by him, and defend him.

But we also have little doubt that many on Staten Island are feeling their trust was misplaced and they were betrayed.

Over almost half a century, three different Staten Island representatives to the United States Congress have surrendered their better judgment, squandering their own significant talents that, in each instance, could have brought pride to our borough.

Instead, they brought embarrassment.

There are certain people who must be held to high standards in America. In recent months, we have seen so many examples of that. Police immediately come to mind. So does the mayor of New York.

People with whom we place our trust.

A United States congressman must be at, or certainly near, the top of that list.

Mr. Grimm the restaurateur didn’t let us down when he played fast and loose with the books. Mr. Grimm the Staten Island congressman did, when he played fast and loose with the truth.

This isn’t going away until Mr. Grimm goes away, hopefully, to prison where perhaps he’ll learn a little humility.

Dec 26 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: The Best Lawyers Money Can Buy

The United States Supreme Court decides cases involving the nation’s most pressing legal issues, affecting the daily lives of hundreds of millions of Americans – and yet so much about its functioning is shrouded in mystique and exclusivity. The court’s front doors are locked and its vast “public” plaza is off-limits to protesters. Alone among the branches of government, it refuses to televise its proceedings, even though its gallery can seat only 250 members of the public.

As a new report by Reuters shows, this exclusivity extends even to the types of cases the court agrees to hear. [..]

As troubling as the court’s shrinking bar is the justices’ matter-of-fact acceptance of it. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Reuters: “Business can pay for the best counsel money can buy. The average citizen cannot. That’s just a reality.” Justice Antonin Scalia admitted to rejecting cases based on the quality of the briefing, not on the legal issue they raised. “I have voted against what would be a marginally granted petition when it was not well presented,” he said.

It’s not unreasonable for the justices to want to spend their time on arguments made by the best advocates. Nor is there anything wrong with the country’s top lawyers demanding top dollar for their skill and hard work. And corporations surely may spend what they wish to litigate on behalf of their interests. But when these forces are combined, the biggest cost of all may fall on regular Americans, for whom justice at the highest court in the land becomes less accessible every day.

Michael Winship: It’s a Wonderful Life, Comrade

The Hollywood Christmas classic was once accused of hiding a subversive Communist message.

A number of years ago, I was telling a longtime city dweller friend of mine yet another story about the small, upstate New York town in which I grew up.

Simultaneously baffled and captivated, he said, “I think you were born and raised in Bedford Falls,” the fictional burg at the center of Frank Capra’s classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” [..]

Which makes it all the crazier that when the movie first came out, it fell under suspicion from the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as Communist propaganda, part of the Red Scare that soon would lead to the blacklist and witch hunt that destroyed the careers of many talented screen and television writers, directors and actors. [..]

Since then, the movie has been more than redeemed as it slowly became a sentimental and beloved holiday perennial. And if anything, its portrayal of a villainous banker has been vindicated a thousand fold as in the last seven years we’ve seen fraudulent mortgages and subsequent foreclosures, bankers unrepentant after an unprecedented taxpayer bailout and unpunished after a mindboggling spree of bad calls, profligacy and corkscrew investments that raked in billions while others suffered the consequences.

It’s a wonderful life, alright, but not if you’re homeless or unemployed tonight, not it your kids are hungry and you can’t pay for heat. There are still a lot of Mr. Potters in the world. We know who you are and we’ll keep calling you out. God rest ye merry, gentlemen.

John Nichols: Dickens Was Right: the Real War on Christmas is the War on the Poor

These are Dickensian times, when charity is rationed by politicians and pundits callously dismiss the poor as a burden best forced by hunger to grab at bootstraps and pull themselves upward.

Charles Dickens wrote of such times in 1843.

But surely he would have recognized 2014, a year that began with the Congress of the wealthiest nation in the world locked in debate over cutting funds for nutrition programs that serve those who are in need. The cuts were approved and, as the year progressed, so there came the announcements that tens of thousands of Americans would no longer have access to food stamps.

Food stamp cuts in a land of plenty are just one measure of the cruelty of the moment. There are also the threats to cut benefits for the long-term unemployed and to restrict access to welfare programs, which come even as Congress delivers another holiday-season “wish list” to the banking behemoths that have figured out how to crash economies and still profit.

Amy Goodman: Mark Udall Can Make History by Releasing the Torture Report

Mark Udall, the outgoing Democratic senator from Colorado, may be a lame duck, leaving office in less than a week. But his most important work in the Senate may still be before him. For the week he remains in office, he still sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He worked on that committee’s epic, 6,700-page, still-secret report, the “Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” otherwise known as the torture report. The intelligence committee has recently released a heavily redacted declassified executive summary of the report, in which new, gory details of the torture conducted during the Bush/Cheney administration have been made public for the first time.

Udall is angry about the U.S. torture program. He is angry about the heavy redaction of the executive summary, and the CIA and White House interference in the intelligence committee’s oversight work. He wants the full report made available to the public. While it is still secret, Udall could release the classified document in its entirety. To understand how, it helps to go back to 1971, the release of the Pentagon Papers and a senator from Alaska named Mike Gravel.

Syreeta McFadden: We declared in 2014 that black lives matter because we saw how often they didn’t

The great divide between black and white America will continue to insist upon itself. Racialized income inequality, the lingering effects of housing discrimination and persistent school segregation fuel the separation of communities, or at least prevent us from mixing, meeting and socializing interracially which, in turn, fuels indifference and the false narrative of a colorblind society.

Were we truly so naive to believe that post-racial America was a real thing?

We are past the point where any of us should be satisfied with flat conversations around racisms – structural or interpersonal. We are past the point that we can deflect. It’s time that we ask harder questions of ourselves and entertain – even demand – difficult answers. We shouldn’t have to have another march from Ferguson to Jefferson City to assert the personhood of black Americans in 21st century America. We can’t be afraid to talk honestly about the brutal legacy of slavery or its phantom effects that pervade every aspect of our society. We can’t be afraid to acknowledge racism for fear of being labeled racist.

We can’t rely on the reality of the Obama presidency to substitute for the deep, authentic work of interrogating who we really are, and the depths of our racial fears and biases. We cannot have to march in the streets for another year, and another, to remind America that black lives matter.

Nicholas Phillips: Missouri showed off America’s worst in 2014. Are we really this damn divided?

Missouri lore has it that in 1899, the state’s congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver averred in a speech, “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

That’s the homespun skepticism that earned Missouri its unofficial nickname – the stuff of license plates: the Show-Me State. Folks here in the middle of America pride ourselves on a preference for facts over foolishness, deeds over declarations. But what Missourians lack is a robust self-skepticism – the ability to admit that we are wrong, or plain don’t know. And in the tumult of the past year – whether from faith- and fear-based state laws that even our most backward southern neighbors won’t enact, or the unrest and police violence in the streets of Ferguson – that character flaw was laid bare. In 2014, Missouri showed itself, and the nation, at its most benighted. [..]

More than 120 years ago, Missouri’s greatest writer and sage, Mark Twain, wrote, “Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world – and never will.”

If Missouri or any other American state with similar conflicts – racial, religious, political, whatever – have any hope of healing, it lies with those who are serious and sturdy enough to ditch their petrified opinions, to embrace complexity and to absorb facts that make them uneasy. The power-elite must do it. The strong young leaders of the Ferguson protests must keep pushing them to do it, and keep doing it themselves. We’ll all be served by a healthy self-skepticism.

Sonali Kolhatkar: The Sony Hack Revealed How Hollywood Fails Us All

Whether or not North Korea was really behind the devastating Sony hack, and whether or not the U.S. government orchestrated North Korea’s Internet outage in retaliation, one thing is clear: The incident has exposed Hollywood’s serious race problem yet again. People of color are barely visible on our screens, while women’s roles are generally foils for men. When minorities and women are present, the film industry usually relies on racist and sexist tropes.

I have not seen “The Interview”-Sony Pictures Entertainment’s targeted film about a foolhardy assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that supposedly irked the Guardians of Peace hacker group so much, it motivated the members to devastate Sony’s servers. But even simply watching the trailer reveals that the film’s premise is perfectly in line with standard Hollywood fare that serves up comedies through the eyes of self-effacing white men whose harebrained schemes and screwball antics are expected to make audiences wish they were dumb enough to be so hip.

Pop culture defines how we as a society view ourself. It also reflects and informs our implicit biases against one another. And it has remained far behind the times. As the hue of our society continues to diversify, our TV and movie screens remain largely the domain of straight, white men.

Dec 26 2014

The Breakfast Club (The Truth Is Plain To See)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

A tsunami kills more than 200-thousand people is Southeast Asia; Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey is found beaten to death; Winston Churchill addresses joint session of Congress; Presidents Truman and Ford die. Singer Annie Lennox is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Dec 26 2014

On This Day In History December 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 26 is the 360th day of the year (361st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are five days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, Gen. George Washington wins first major U.S. victory at Trenton

At approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington’s Continental Army reaches the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey, and descends upon the unsuspecting Hessian force guarding the city. Trenton’s 1,400 Hessian defenders were still groggy from the previous evening’s Christmas festivities and had underestimated the Patriot threat after months of decisive British victories throughout New York. The troops of the Continental Army quickly overwhelmed the German defenses, and by 9:30 a.m.Trenton was completely surrounded.

The image of ragged farm-boy Patriots defeating drunken foreign mercenaries has become ingrained in the American imagination. Then as now, Washington’s crossing and the Battle of Trenton were emblematic of the American Patriots’ surprising ability to overcome the tremendous odds they faced in challenging the wealthy and powerful British empire.

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 hazardous crossing in adverse weather made it possible for Washington to lead the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian soldiers garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army’s flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

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-Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army-devised a plan to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and surround the Hessian garrison.

Because the river was icy and the weather severe, the crossing proved dangerous. Two detachments were unable to cross the river, leaving Washington and the 2,400 men under his command alone in the assault. The army marched 9 miles (14 km) south to Trenton. The Hessians had lowered their guard, thinking they were safe from the American army, and did not post a dawn sentry. After having a Christmas feast, they fell asleep. Washington’s forces caught them off guard and, before the Hessians could resist, they were taken prisoner. Almost two thirds of the 1,500-man garrison was captured, and only a few troops escaped across Assunpink Creek.

Despite the battle’s small numbers, the American victory inspired rebels in the colonies. With the success of the revolution in doubt a week earlier, the army had seemed on the verge of collapse. The dramatic victory inspired soldiers to serve longer and attracted new recruits to the ranks.