George Washington Crossing the Delaware

After the defeat at Long Island, George Washington led the American army in retreat across New Jersey.  Chasing behind him was the significantly larger, better trained, and better equipped British army.  Reaching the Delaware River, Washington rounded up every available boat and lit fires all along the Pennsylvania shore to guide the evacuation of his army across the river to the safety of the Pennsylvania shore.  Ninety percent of the Continental Army that existed at Long Island was gone from casualities and desertions.  What is worse is the fact that on December 26th, the enlistments of the remaining soldiers would be up and Washington would no longer have an army to lead.  In a desperate and bold move, Washington assembled his men and offered them a bonus if they would stay for one for month.  Unfortunately, none of the soldiers stepped forward to take such an offer.  Washington then started to ride away, but turned back to his soldiers and made a speech where he told them that never again would they have such a unique opportunity to serve their country.  Stirred by Washington’s words, this time the soldiers stepped forward to stick it out for one more month.  As a consequence, on the night of December 25, 1776 and on into the morning of December 26th, Washington led his men in boats backed across the Delaware River in order to mount an attack on the Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey.  The password that Washington picked for that night was “Victory or death.”


~ by americanpresidents on March 11, 2010.

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