Christmas Crossing

The Christmas Crossing that Birthed America

Spirits were low as General Washington listened to the grumblings of his men beyond the canvas walls of his tent. If they were to continue for the battle of freedom he knew he must find a way to boost the morale of the men. The plan he had in mind would be a daring Christmas operation that, no matter the outcome, would be written in the annals of history.

Taking a deep breath the icy air piercing his lungs Washington bowed his knees hitting the frozen ground and he began to pray.

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The Christmas Crossing of the Delaware

It was Christmas of 1776 that General George Washington led 2,400 Continental troops across the frozen expanse of the Deleware River. With a winter storm to the front and crushing defeats to their backs Washington’s operation sounds foolhardy at best.

But Washington was not a man. who made decisions lightly, and with much prayer and military strategy, he moved his troops forward.

Washington understood that his troops needed a victory. They had fought months in extreme weather far from their home and families, with little supplies to boot. The rewards for their efforts were one crushing defeat after another and very few, if any, victories to their names.

The spirit of freedom was waning in the face of the reality of hardships one must face in achieving the ultimate goal of Liberty. Washington also understood that it would be the element of surprise that would allow for any victory against the Hessian troops that waited across the river.

On December 25, 1776, the Continental Army woke to the snow-covered ground. As the day progressed the weather worsened unleashing sleet and freezing rain. All the while Washington waited, keeping his plans for that night a secret, even. from his men.

As darkness fell upon the miserable Christmas day Washington gave his orders. The army set off across the icy waters, silent wraiths amongst the frozen darkness.

The next morning the Hessians faced their own Christmas surprise. A sound defeat by the surprise attack of General Washington’s troops. An Army of farmers, merchants, and field hands beat the most highly trained unit of British forces. Washington’s prayers had been answered.

The God whose birth celebrated the coming of true freedom blessed Washington and his men with newfound hope for the future. The Continental Army would go on to face even more hardships but ultimately the faith and persistence of a few men would win the day. America would be birthed from such faith shown by Washington on Christmas day of 1776.

 

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