By William E, Horsham, PA
My brother Hans:
It has been a long time since we saw each other. I am once again far from our home this Christmas. It is cold here in the “colonies” as they call them. Maybe one of the coldest I have experienced.
I am standing outside and am putting a note on the tree outside our barracks. It is a simple prayer asking for a blessing. It sounds funny to some people. A man who makes his living as a mercenary – a hired killer — celebrating Christmas with a note asking for a blessing and remembering the most holy of nights.
Here I am along the river watching the waters. Waiting for…for who? … for what….?
I am not supposed to say where we are but who cares or who can stop me. We are stationed near a city called Trenton, close to Philadelphia. We had heard about Philadelphia and its importance to the English. I haven’t had the chance to see that city, but I can see why the English want to keep these colonies under their control. There is a lot here that will give the English a step up on the rest of us.
The English troops are weak and incompetent. That’s why they called for us. You know we are the best fighting people in the world. So when we finish helping the English, maybe we will just turn around and take the colonies for ourselves!
We hear the English ridicule us. “Hessian brutes.” “War Prostitutes” “All braun. No brain.”
As weak as the English are, the colonists are ready to collapse and cannot win this war. They have no real weapons. They have no real organization. They have rage and anger. But that is not enough. Especially when you pit them against us.
I have no love for the English or for these colonists. I only have an allegiance to my fellow fighters. The ones in our campground now. Trying to keep warm. Waiting for Christmas. They are the only ones we can count on out here. They and our families back home are the reason we go on.
After thinking it over I am now sure that this will be my last campaign. I am tired of the fighting. Tired of the constant movement. Tired of being away from our home. For too long I have missed many moments and grow weary. I miss you by my side. Fighting together.
This Christmas I am feeling the loneliness more than ever.
The rest of the troop is celebrating Christmas. Drinking. Laughing. Enjoying each other’s company. This is my last assignment. I will go and join them after I hang the note. We have nothing to worry about from the colonists. Or the English.
We will control Trenton and soon move to Philadelphia. Then it will be over and I will come home. This will be our last Christmas apart.
This will be a memorable Christmas that the history books will recount. Of that I am sure.
Somewhere near Trenton in the English Colonies, 1776
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