WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. –
The Friends of Washington Crossing Historic Park hosted the 67th annual re-enactment of Gen. George Washington crossing the Delaware River Dec.8 at Washington Crossing Historic Park here.
This event commemorates Washington’s actual crossing Dec. 25-26, 1776, when he led several thousand troops across the icy river to conduct a surprise attack on enemy forces in Trenton.
“The crossing was not completed until four in the morning, and then the nine-mile march to Trenton began in the face of the blustery nor’easter,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Palzer, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division, who served as narrator for the event.
Approximately 1,500 Hessian mercenaries, who had been hired from Prussia by King George of England, were in winter quarters in Trenton, unaware that Washington was about to attack.
“Washington achieved the surprised he had hoped for, which allowed his troops to seize the high ground and thereby control the battle with their cannons; within 45 minutes, the fighting was over,” Palzer explained. “The Continental Army had its first and most significant victory of the War for Independence.”
Thousands gathered to witness the re-enactment of one of the most crucial moments in the war.
“Five years later, after the British surrender at Yorktown, British General Cornwallis, meeting Washington face-to-face for the first time, humbly informed the American general that the American Revolution was won the night they crossed the Delaware River,” Palzer said.
“Now, let your imagination travel back in time to that bitter winter day of 1776,” Palzer told the crowd as the re-enactment began. “Try to imagine what it was like to be a Soldier in that ragtag military. Imagine the fear, the trepidation, the suffering. But most of all, imagine the valor and the bravery, and the sacrifices which were made to secure the freedoms we enjoy today.”