Friday, December 25, 2015

Washington Crossed the Delaware on Christmas Morning

Washington crosses the Delaware
This Day In History

During the American Revolution, Patriot General George Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops, hoping to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Christmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey. The unconventional attack came after several months of substantial defeats for Washington’s army that had resulted in the loss of New York City and other strategic points in the region.

At about 11 p.m. on Christmas, Washington’s army commenced its crossing of the half-frozen river at three locations. The 2,400 soldiers led by Washington successfully braved the icy and freezing river and reached the New Jersey side of the Delaware just before dawn. The other two divisions, made up of some 3,000 men and crucial artillery, failed to reach the meeting point at the appointed time.
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How to celebrate Christmas weekend like George Washington
Natalie Pompilio, For The Inquirer
December 25, 2015
Groups of soldiers in the snow at Washington Crossing Park in Bucks County
Everything you think you know about George Washington's leading his troops across the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776? It's probably wrong, especially if you're basing your knowledge on a certain oil painting.

Those who want a more accurate depiction of that event can journey Saturday to Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County, where more than 300 reenactors in appropriate colonial dress - including the good general himself - will re-create scenes from that night 239 years ago, crossing the river to New Jersey in replicas of the actual craft used by the Continental Army.

"It's a fun event, a great event, but it's also a very serious commemoration," said Joseph Capone, executive director of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park. "We don't want to forget the soldiers' sacrifices. We don't want to lose that history."

The crossing is one of multiple regional activities commemorating a period of 10 days as 1776 ended and 1777 began that helped turn the course of the Revolutionary War for Washington and his ragtag army.
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