Colonial Forces Cross the Delaware and Attack British Garrison at Trenton in Daring Christmas Night Raid

The Founder’s Blog


Head-Quarters, Newtown, 27 December, 1776.

I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the success of an enterprise, which I had formed against a detachment of the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday morning. The evening of the 25th I ordered the troops intended for this service to parade back of McKonkey’s Ferry, that they might begin to pass as soon as it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw them all over, with the necessary artillery, by twelve o’clock, and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the morning, the distance being about nine miles. But the quantity of ice, made that night, impeded the passage of the boats so much, that it was three o’clock before the artillery could all be got over; and near four, before the troops took up their line of march. This made me despair of surprising the town, as I well knew we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke. But as I was certain there was no making a retreat without being discovered and harassed on repassing the river, I determined to push on at all events. I formed my detachment into two divisions, one to march by the lower or river road, the other by the upper or Pennington road. As the divisions had nearly the same distance to march, I ordered each of them, immediately upon forcing the out-guards, to push directly into the town, that they might charge the enemy before they had time to form…

General Washington’s letter may be read in full at The Founder’s Blog.

A brief history here of the men of Marblehead, MA, who ferried the General across the river.

Related: Newt Gingrich Web Ad Uses Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware 235 Years Ago to Rally Troops in Presidential Race: “Victory or Death” – Video 12/26/11
The video is worthwhile if you don’t know the history of the battle of Trenton.

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