Written by Rick Hennessy. Rick is a neighbor of Dale and Linda and he has participated in a weekly Disciple Group with Dale and several other men. He is a reproducing Follower of Christ as he has also started his own group with guys he has been friends with over the years.
It had been a brutally cold winter as Christmas 1776 fast approached. The cold weather was a concern to General George Washington, but the larger worry was the disintegration of his army and the end of a noble experiment “The American Revolution.”
Washington’s army had defeated the British earlier in the year at Boston, but since the summer of 1776 the Americans had suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of the most powerful army in the world. The American army had disintegrated from 20,000 troops to 3,000 troops by December 1776. The remaining 3.000 troop enlistments were to expire on January 1, 1777, and with the expiration of the troops the end of the American Revolution. Washington was desperate and in need of a miracle.
In the 18th century most armies took the winter off, recouped and prepared for warfare in the spring. Christmas was also a time to rest, party and celebrate the birth of Christ. But the weight of The Revolution was on Washington’s shoulders and he proposed a bold but risky attack to take place on Christmas Day.
The plan was for the American army to cross the ice-choked Delaware River at night, march to Trenton, New Jersey, and surprise the Hessians at dawn. The Hessians were German mercenaries hired by the British to fight along side them against the Americans. It was risky, it was difficult and it was full of danger, but Washington had no choice if The Revolution was going to continue after January 1st. Game on!
After Washington’s Army crossed the Delaware River, they marched to Trenton in miserable weather conditions. It was so cold a few Americans froze to death on the trip. They arrived at the British-Hessian quarters early in the morning to find them asleep and hung over from the celebrations of the night before. The miracle Washington needed was at hand and delivered by almighty God. It was a crushing victory for the Americans.
Word spread quickly in the 13 colonies. Confidence in General Washington and his army was restored and a resolve to continue the fight for freedom. The grand experiment that almost ended in December 1776, was reborn on that Christmas Day, 1776. To quote noted commentator Paul Harvey, “and now you know the rest of the story.”