About this time in 1776, the finishing touches were being put to the Declaration of Independence. Massachusetts militia had already engaged British regulars at Lexington and Concord. The Battle of Bunker [Breed's] Hill had been waged. The British had evacuated Boston. The fledgling Continental Army had a commander-in-chief, General George Washington.
Over the next several days the Declaration would be read to Washington's troops and in towns and villages in the 13 colonies.
By August, the British Army was on the way to attack and occupy New York. Washington was preparing for the defense of Long Island and more troops were pouring into New York to join Washington.
The Continental Army would face a series of devastating defeats at Long Island and other sites in New York. The Marylanders lost 250 of 400 men in an effort to cover the Army's escape from Long Island. Washington would retreat across the Jerseys and across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
Casualties, desertions and expired enlistments reduced the Continental Army to a shadow of itself as 1776 came to a close.
Washington should have surrendered and the dream of Independence should have ended by Christmas. Instead, Christmas would mark a turning point and keep the dream alive. It would take place with the crossing of the Delaware River and an attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton, West Jersey.