Washington’s Crossing as it happened

PUMABydesign001's Blog

Constitution Daily

On a blustery Christmas Day in late 1776, George Washington led a daring attack in what we would call today a “special ops” mission to attack pro-British forces in Trenton.

800px-Emanuel_Leutze_-_Washington_Crossing_the_DelawareAt midday today, historical re-enactors will celebrate the event by crossing the Delaware River in front of several thousand people, in a relatively safe event. The event, about nine miles north of Trenton, is held in bucolic Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania.

The real event was at night, it was dangerous, and it was a key moment in the history of the Continental Army. And it bore little resemblance to the famous 19th-century painting marking the daring feat.

Washington’s army had been issued a series of defeats by British forces and were amassed between Philadelphia and Princeton. As a commander, Washington dealt with several critical problems: his forces were in need of a victory; many troops were at the end…

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