On the day after Christmas in 1776, an 18-year-old from Virginia led a charge on a pair of cannons. That brave action cleared the way for General George Washington's Continental army to enter the town of Trenton, New Jersey. But the 18-year-old very nearly didn't live to see Washington's victory in the Battle of Trenton, a turning point in the Revolutionary War. During the charge on the cannons James Monroe took a musket ball high in the shoulder near his neck. He would have bled to death had it not been for the quick work of a doctor who'd been by his side. The son of a Virginia planter, James Monroe got caught up in the fervor for independence while he was a college student. After the war he went on to serve in a variety of government positions, capping his career by becoming America's fifth president.
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