Tuesday, January 01, 2013

General Washington Does the Impossible

“My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected, but your country is at stake … The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny.” (Gen. George Washington in an appeal to his troops following the surprise attack on the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776_)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn late December 1776 and early January 1777 General George Washington secured two key victories over superior British numbers, turning the tide of war towards independence for the colonies and changing the course of history.

The first event was the defeat of the Hessians at Trenton (NJ) following a crossing of the ice filled Delaware in a snow storm and a forced march in darkness by ill clad, and in many instances shoeless, soldiers

Several days later, on January 3rd, 1777 Washington and his men defeated the British again, this time at Princeton (NJ).

Historian David McCullough wrote a stirring account of tne Christmas Night raid that changed the course of history in his book "1776". Listen to an excerpt from the stirring conclusion to David McCullough's "1776" read by the author. Here he tells of the perilous crossing of the Delaware and the victory over the Hessians at Trenton. battle-of-trenton (MP3 36:15, narration starts at 00:14))

A must read is this article by W. Thomas Smith Jr. about the "special operation" that changed the course of history and turned the war in favor of the continentals 233 years ago. Excerpts:

 Continental Army General George Washington’s celebrated “Crossing of the Delaware” has been dubbed in some military circles, “America’s first special operation.” Though there were certainly many small-unit actions, raids, and Ranger operations during the Colonial Wars – and there was a special Marine landing in Nassau in the early months of the American Revolution – no special mission by America’s first army has been more heralded than that which took place on Christmas night exactly 230 years ago........The factors in Washington’s favor were clear: The weather was so bad that no one believed the Continentals would attempt a river crossing followed by a forced march, much less at night. The Continentals were numerically – and perceived to be qualitatively – inferior to the British Army. The Hessians, mercenaries allied to the British and who were garrisoned in Trenton, had a battlefield reputation that far exceeded their actual combat prowess. And no one believed the weary Americans would want to attempt anything with anyone on Christmas.

How prophetic are these words uttered by George Washington at Christmas time 1776: "...your country is at stake. The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny"

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