24 Cannons

Posted in Education, Events, Past Events



Friday, December 28, 2018

1 PM

repeat performance

Sunday, December 30

2 PM


 Special lecture by David Wm. Bosted

Held in conjunction with the events of

Patriots Week


The program will follow the movements of all 24 of the cannons on the streets of Trenton during the Battle of Trenton. The talk will demonstrate why the 18 American cannons — including the two six-pounders commanded by Alexander Hamilton — were decisive in the victory over the Hessians, who had six three-pounders. A four-pounder cannonball will be on display during the talk. Presented by Urban Planner and Museum Trustee David Bosted.

About the talk, David reveals “I started writing this talk when I saw some obvious errors and inconsistences appearing online[i] and in print. My other main motivation in preparing this talk was to emphasize the critical ingredient in the Battle of December 26, 1776, namely, the 18 American cannon. There’s lots to talk about in this stunning American victory, but to me, the critical factor in the outcome is how George Washington and his artillery commander, young Henry Knox, effectively deployed their cannon. From the beginning of the Battle until the end, the cannon were able to fire despite the sleet, rain and snow. The cannon actually worked under wet-weather conditions, while the muskets often did not.”

[i] For example, mis-information on the Smithsonian website: “At precisely 8 in the morning, Hamilton unleashed his artillery on the Hessian outpost.” Hamilton was in the rear at the start of the battle, with the reserve unit.   www.smithsonianmag.com hamilton-takes-command

Revolutionary War Cannon

Revolutionary War Cannon




Two of Washington’s 18 pieces of artillery at the Battle of Trenton were howitzers.





GLIMPSES of the Talk:4-3-2. That is how they are deployed. Here are key phrases from General Washington’s Christmas Day orders: “Four pieces of artillery to march at the head of each column; three pieces at the head of the second brigade of each division; and two pieces with each of the reserves.”  The Hessians in Trent-town also have cannon. They have SIX. Two are attached to each unit. Von Lossburg, Rall, & Knyphausen. So, 18 American cannon + 6 Hessian Cannon = 24 cannon at the battle of Trenton.’


Question: Three American generals, AND ONLY THREE, fight from the start of the Revolutionary War until the end. All are here in Trenton, fighting on Dec 26, 1776. Who are they?

–This talk uses an 8’ by 10’ map to provide a clear bird’s-eye overview of everything that occurs.

–A bronze plaque will be on display that was installed in 1902 (on a now-demolished building on North Broad Street) to memorialize where Hessian Colonel Rall was fatally wounded near what is now Academy and Broad Streets.