He probably didn’t stand up in the boat, but otherwise, George Washington’s midnight soiree across the Delaware River in the wee hours of Dec. 25-26, 1776, lived up to the painting’s heroic impression. Correctly guessing that Hessian soldiers in Trenton would be hung over after a night of Christmas reveling, Washington led his troops in a surprise raid. When he finished his round-trip excursion, he had a large group of prisoners and badly-needed supplies.
Each Christmas Day, several hundred re-enactors in uniforms of the Continental Army recreate the crossing. They launch replicas of the boats Washington used and row across the Delaware, pulling ashore at Washington Crossing State Park. Instead of a midnight ride, though, the crossing now happens at 1pm. For more information, visit www.washingtoncrossingpark.org.
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- by Fran Severn