“For God’s sake, keep by your officers!”
— General George Washington
It was Christmas Eve, 1776 and the American Revolution was going badly; General George Washington was trying one last maneuver. He reasoned that if the men of the Continental Army could cross over from the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River to the Trenton side, then march the 30 miles to Trenton, the Colonies might still have a chance.
Washington calculated that the Hessian mercenaries — hired by the Crown of England to keep the Colonies down — would not be expecting this surprise attack. While crossing the frigid river, he and his men confirmed the presence of large chunks of floating ice — any one of which had the power fell the rickety rowboats that transported the Colonial fighters.
As Washington stood on the prow of the ship, in very similar fashion to German-American Emmanuel Leutze’s famous painting, it can be surmised that he thought the following:
“Great Father in Heaven, please allow for this to work. If this does not work they will find Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, the other members of the Continental Congress, Thomas Paine and myself.”
He might very well have added:
“The British government will hang us for being traitors to the government.”
While it is understandable that the emotional depths of certain events are dissolved into history, the results of that Christmas Eve attack are not forgotten. The United States is a free country because of Washington’s courage on that fateful Christmas Eve.
After all it is because of that monumental night — and the man who led that last-ditch effort to win American independence — that we enjoy the blessings of freedom today.
About the Author:
Don Everett Smith, Jr. is an experienced writer with a diverse background in journalism, books, magazines, websites, political commentary and comic book scripts with leadership experience as an editor, recruiter, group leader and internet radio host. He’s also the proprietor of the blog Don Smith Writes — not to mention one of the hardest working networkers I know!