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Topic: 22) The Crossing of the Delaware

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22) The Crossing of the Delaware


The Crossing of the Delaware


Washington crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

The Crossing of the Delaware was not quite the watershed moment you might think and it certainly was not the "do or die" situation George wanted people to think it was. This was actually an attempt by George to try and throw the war, as we will see.

They had to wait around for a thaw to break up the river (which hit on the 24th allowing for a Christmas crossing book-ending Knox's Christmas move the year before) and, while they were waiting, Adam Stevens crossed the river and shot up a group of Hessian Jager Guards in order to tip off the enemy (why else would he have done so?) to which George, subsequently, feigned disgust claiming Stevens had just cost him the element of surprise but his actions overall prove he had ordered Stevens to do so in order to throw the war but, turns out, the shooting was actually ignored by the Officer in charge anyways (why am I not surprised) who, instead, goes and plays cards for the rest of the night (well, you know, it was cold outside).

The subsequent ice jams kept three-fourths of the troops from crossing who were in four separate groups at various locations on the river (Fisher, pg. 398) and, not-so-conveniently, they took so much time crossing that they would never make Trenton by sunrise and would thus lose the element of surprise so that it is difficult to imagine exactly what else could possibly have been done in order to ensure disaster for the army.


Battle of Trenton by Charles McBarron

But, the thaw was followed by a brutal nor'easter that hid our advance right into Trenton and we actually ended up winning despite Washington's antics which included a desperate attempt to get himself captured by, for the first time, personally leading the attack at the front lines.

That this assessment is correct will be obvious when we get to Trenton II below.


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