American independence seemed like a lost cause in December 1776. Shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, a massive British fleet of 300 ships, 10,000 sailors, and 30,000 soldiers arrived in New York Harbor. Some 18,000 of those soldiers were Hessians. They were professional soldiers hired by the British government from Hesse and other states in Germany. That August and September, the British and Hessian soldiers destroyed about 90 percent of George Washington’s army in battles at Brooklyn, Manhattan, and White Plains, New York. They chased Washington and his remaining 5,000 men out of New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. . .
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