Crossing the Delaware

Happy 4th of July!

I think one of the coolest things about living in New York City is the close proximity of everything you’ve ever learned about in early American history.

For example: Ann heard about a great flea market in Lambertville about a 1.5 hour drive from NYC, so one weekend we rented a car to go check it out.  It was a beautiful drive.  In fact if you drive about about 40 minutes west out of the nasty, industrialized, polluted parts of New Jersey directly across from NYC, you can actually see why New Jersey is the Garden State (and I always thought they were just being sarcastic!).

As we are getting close to the market, we noticed that we were driving parallel to a rather large river.  We pondered briefly what it might be, but being from Texas and California neither of us knew and service was sketchy at best so we couldn’t look it up.

As we’re walking around the stalls, curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the locals.

The Delaware River.

THE Delaware River?!?!?

She looked at me like I was crazy….yes, Pennsylvania’s right over there.

I mean, we knew we weren’t far as we were heading to Philly after the flea market (which is the Golden Nugget if you’re wondering), we just didn’t realize it was so close.  As we departed the Golden Nugget and continued to follow the Delaware River en route to Philly, we see a sign: Washington’s Crossing.

THE Washington’s Crossing?!?!?  The one immortalized by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze and is considered to be a pivotal turning point in the American Revolution?  Surely not.  But yes, indeed, Siri confirmed it (once we got to the interstate and had better service).

In case you’re a bit fuzzy on the details of The Christmas Night Crossing, Mount Vernon has a lot of information on it, like:

  • Washington’s aim was to conduct a surprise attack upon a Hessian garrison of roughly 1,400 soldiers located in and around Trenton, New Jersey.
  • Washington hoped that a quick victory at Trenton would bolster sagging morale in his army and encourage more men to join the ranks of the Continentals come the new year–and it worked.  The stunning victory served to rebuild American morale after a summer of defeats and setbacks.
  • After several councils of war, General George Washington set the date for the river crossing for Christmas night 1776.
  • The Delaware River is less than 300 yards (268m) wide at the point where Washington’s army crossed
  • It took the American army roughly 4 hours to march from the river crossing site to the outskirts of Trenton
  • Temperatures for the crossing ranged from 29 degrees to 33 degrees, with brisk winds coming out of the north east.
  • Future US President James Monroe crossed with the American forces and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton.
  • Washington’s attack mortally wounded Col. Johann Rall, the Hessian commander, killed 22, wounded another 83, and led to the capture of more than 890 Hessian soldiers.

If you’re interested, the Washington Crossing Historical Park does a Christmas Day reenactment of Washington’s Crossing.  And if you can’t/don’t want to make it, but do want to watch, they have kindly posted the entire ceremony on YouTube (please note, it is the FULL ceremony, not a 3 minute video highlight reel…)

Originally, that was going to be my post, however, since it IS July 4th and we did go to Philadelphia, I feel like I need to include some pictures of Philly as well.  I mean, it was the location of the First and Second Continental Congresses, the Liberty Bell, and where the Declaration of Independence was penned (along with a whole lot of other stuff not mentioned)!

On a side note, Philly is a very dog friendly place–even to the Darling Princess Adelaide, whom most New Yorkers find scary–so we stopped a lot on our walk through downtown Philly so people could say hi and pet them!

Unfortunately, we were too late to get tickets for the tour and Liberty Bell–so we just wandered around for awhile, just taking in the history of the place!

Happy 4th!

 

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