Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Washington, Crossing the Delaware

We were a little late arriving in Titusville, NJ, this year for the annual reenactment of General George Washington's historical 1776 crossing of the Delaware River, but we got to see his boat land on the New Jersey side. By the way, Washington and his troops used Durham boats, manufactured in Pennsylvania since 1750 to cross the river. You can read more about them here: http://durhamhistoricalsociety.org/history2.html

You'll recall from eighth grade history that the Americans were not winning battles much at this point of the Revolutionary War. Washington, the great leader that he was, empowered the exhausted troops with his plan to cross the river from their camp in Bucks County, PA, to Titusville, NJ, and march south to Trenton. there they would surprise the Hessian soldiers who fighting for the British. The Hessians, thinking the war was won, were celebrating Christmas in Trenton. Other troops would join Washington's from Princeton, a few miles inland. Washington's plan, originally suggested by a man from Bordentown, NJ, (just south of Trenton), was successful and it turned the tide of the American Revolution.

The historic river crossing is reenacted every Christmas afternoon, and draws rather large crowds on both sides of the river. Uniformed reenactors mingle with the spectators, and some even pose for photos. (That's Gladys, held by her "cousin" Cecily, posing with some soldiers.) Gladys was not thrilled about this event because of the incessant cannon fire which sounded a lot like fireworks to her. She HATES fireworks. Gladys and I wonder: wouldn't cannon fire have alerted the partying Hessians that something was amiss upstream? We're supposing the cannon fire had more to do with showing off artillery than authentic reenactment, but that is just conjecture.

This year's crossing went smoothly from what we could tell, but it doesn't always. Back in 2007, Washington's boat was swept away by the swift current (towards Trenton), and we got a side view.
All was well as 21st-century rescuers were waiting on hand, and Washinton's troops finished their triumphant march through the park.


Anonymous said...

You make reading history fun with your comments and photos. abell

Margaret said...

Thanks abell! ;-) History can be fun once you get past the dates and dry stuff. Visiting historical places is a great way to do that.