Monday, December 25, 2023

On This Night in 1776, Washington and the Continental Army Save the Revolution

"Christmas, 6 P.M….It is fearfully cold and raw and a snow-storm setting in. The wind is northeast and beats in the faces of the men. It will be a terrible night for the soldiers who have no shoes. Some of them have tied old rags around their feet, but I have not heard a man complain….I have never seen Washington so determined as he is now….He stands on the bank of the stream, wrapped in his cloak, superintending the landing of his troops. He is calm and collected, but very determined. The storm is changing to sleet and cuts like a knife…." (from the Journal of Colonel John Fitzgerald, Continental Army, December 25, 1776)

On Christmas Night of 1776, approximately 2,400 soldiers of the Continental Army huddled together against the biting cold on the banks of the Delaware River.

Under the cloak of darkness and the relentless assault of winter, they were poised to navigate the treacherous, icy waters of the Delaware. Their destination: a surprise attack on the formidable Hessian mercenaries – a group renowned for their ruthless efficiency and, on a couple of occasions, brutality.

These were indeed the darkest hours for the fledgling American cause. At the onset of summer, General George Washington commanded a force of over 20,000. Now, thanks to disease, defeat, and desertion, fewer than 3,000 remained.

Yet, in this hour of despair...

General Washington's determination and the courage of the Continental Army would save the American cause.

You can read more about Washington's crossing of the Delaware and the battle at Trenton at Mount Vernon's website...

The Trenton-Princeton Campaign

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