By December 1776 the Patriot cause seemed to be on its last legs.
After suffering a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Long Island, George Washington's Continental Army had been driven all the way across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
As Thomas Paine wrote in The Crisis, "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
From December 25, 1776 to January 3, 1777 — a period of just ten days — Washington's brave soldiers would win a series of victories at Trenton and Princeton that were glorious indeed. These Ten Crucial Days proved instrumental to rekindling Patriot morale and keeping the cause for American independence alive in the wake of early defeats.