Sketch of the Engagement at Trenton, Given on the 26th of December 1776
This hand-colored map was submitted by Lieutenant Andreas Wiederholdt (circa 1752–circa 1805) as a part of his testimony at the Hessian Court of Inquiry on the Battle of Trenton, held in Philadelphia in April and May 1778. The map is an invaluable source of information about the battle, which took place on December 26, 1776. General George Washington and the Continental Army won a significant victory immediately after Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River. The Hessians were German auxiliaries of the British in the American Revolutionary War. Wiederholdt was a Hessian officer in the Knyphausen regiment. He first enlisted as a private and quickly rose to the rank of sergeant major before being made an officer. After showing much dedication to his men, he was promoted to captain, the highest rank he achieved. Wiederholdt kept a record he called a Tagebuch, or journal, during the war. This personal memoir and the sketch of the town of Trenton and the surrounding countryside it contained were an important record of the planning before the battle. Wiederholdt was forced to surrender his journal before the court, and his sketch of the battle figured prominently in the inquiry. The three Hessian regiments were commanded by Colonel Johann Rall, to whom Wiederholdt incorrectly reported that Washington’s army had Trenton completely surrounded. Rall died from his wounds and almost 900 Hessians were taken prisoner. The unscaled map depicts Washington’s routes of attack and the Hessian and American troop positions during the battle. The town of Trenton is mapped in the northeast, the Delaware River to the south of the town, and surrounding routes for potential retreat in several corners of the map. Wiederholdt includes pictorial representations of rivers, ferries, and roads leading to Trenton, as well as vegetation and relief. The map is marked with notes on various landmarks and includes references. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.
Title in Original Language
Sketch of the engagement at Trenton, given on the 26th of December 1776 betwixt the American troops under command of General Washington, and three Hessian regiments under command of Colonell Rall, in which the latter a part surrendert themselves prisoner of war
Battles Delaware River (New York-Delaware and New Jersey) France in America Great Britain. Army Hessians Knyphausen, Wilhelm, Baron von Manuscript maps Military campaigns Military maps Rall, Johann Gottlieb, 1740-1776 Trenton, Battle of, Trenton, New Jersey, 1776 United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Participation, German United States. Army Washington, George, 1732-1799
Type of Item
1 map : manuscript, pen-and-ink and watercolor ; 23 x 28 centimeters
- David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing (Oxford, UK, and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
- Library of Congress, Compiled by John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen Van Ee., Maps and Charts of North America And the West Indies, 1750‒1789: a Guide to the Collections in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC: Library of Congress (1981).
- Lass Cody, "Battle of Trenton," George Washington's Mount Vernon, http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/battle-of-trenton/.
Last updated: March 3, 2016