Opinion

George Washington crosses the Delaware on Christmas 1776

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Philip Klein,History

As most Americans celebrate Christmas today, it's worth taking a moment to remember that on this day in 1776, Gen. George Washington made a daring crossing of the Delaware River to win a surprise victory in the Battle of Trenton.

As the website for Washington's Mount Vernon explains:

General George Washington's commitment to cross the Delaware River on Christmas 1776 foreshadowed the many hardships faced as well as the eventual victory of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. At first glance, the decision to transport 2,400 Continental soldiers across an icy river in one night, directly into a severe winter storm of sleet and snow seems irrational.

Washington's decision, however, was based on strategic motivation, understanding that the Continental Army desperately needed a victory after months of intense fighting with several significant defeats and no major victories. Washington also understood that the element of surprise was the only way that he and his army stood a chance of defeating the highly trained Hessian mercenaries.

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