Only the lyrics for this song have survived the years that separates us from the American Revolutionary War. Its author is unknown as well as its date of origin. It would, of course, have been written following the actual Battle of Trenton, which took place on 25 December, 1776.
On Christmas-day in seventy-six, Our ragged troops, with bayonets fixed,
For Trenton marched away.
The Delaware see! The boats below! The light obscured by hail and snow!
But no signs of dismay.
Our object was the Hessian band, That dared invade fair freedom's land,
And quarter in that place.
Great Washington he led us on, Whose streaming flag, in storm or sun,
Had never known disgrace.
In silent march we passed the night, Each soldier panting for the fight,
Though quite benumbed with frost.
Greene on the left at six began, The right was led by Sullivan
Who ne're a moment lost.
Their pickets stormed, the alarm was spread, That rebels risen from the dead
Were marching into town.
Some scampered here, some scampered there, And some for action did prepare;
But soon their arms laid down.
Twelve hundred servile miscreants, With all their colors, guns, and tents,
Were trophies of the day.
The frolic o'er, the bright canteen, In centre, front, and rear was seen
Driving fatigue away.
Now, brothers of the patriot bands, Let's sing deliverance from the hands
Of arbitrary sway.
And as our life is but a span, Let's touch the tankard while we can,
In memory of that day.