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In 1777, on the cold night of December 25th, General George Washington crossed the Delaware River to give the Hessian troops quartered in Trenton, NJ a post Christmas surprise.

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

We’ve all seen the famous painting, we’ve all heard the story, but it bears re-telling.

Washington’s army had taken a beating in many battles and had retreated to Pennsylvania in the winter of 1777.  Morale was low, the men were defeated, and recruitment was, well, it wasn’t.

Washington’s hope was to surprise the British paid Hessian soldiers, defeat them, capture as many as he could, and turn the tide of the war.

Battle of Trenton by Charles Mc Barron


Due to the icy river and horrid winter weather, the crossing itself was a brave move.  Taking on the well trained group of highly paid German thugs was even more so.

With the army’s morale low, the folks back home were sure the Revolution was doomed.  Washington’s bold move on the Day After Christmas provided hope both at home and with the troops.

The numbers captured were small, but they had a great meaning.  Recruitment increased, the tide turned, and well, we all know the out come.

I’m amazed that men I had no chance of knowing could move me so.  2,400 American soldiers gave UP their Christmas to make a nation based on freedom, and allows us to celebrate ours.

So, today, while you’re returning to work, returning presents that don’t fit, just aren’t right remember, their sacrifice just might be the second best Christmas gift ever.

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