POPULAR ANNUAL RE-ENACTMENT OF WASHINGTON’S CROSSING OF THE
DELAWARE SLATED FOR CHRISTMAS DAY
EVENT MARKS ICONIC TURNING POINT IN AMERICAN REVOLUTION
(14/P141) TRENTON – The New Jersey State Park Service invites residents and visitors to re-live a crucial turning point in the American Revolution with the annual re-enactment of George Washington’s iconic Crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day.
Washington’s daring 1776 Christmas crossing is considered to be a pivotal event in the War for Independence, leading to politically important victories in Trenton and Princeton that helped establish the Continental Army as a viable fighting force that could challenge the British and their Hessian supporters.
The re-enactment begins at 12:30 p.m. Christmas Day with a brief lecture about the history of the crossing at the Nelson House in Washington Crossing State Park, located in Titusville, Mercer County.
At 1 p.m., a cannon will be fired on the Pennsylvania side of the river, signaling the start of the crossing of some 100 re-enactors from Washington Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania to Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville. The re-enactors will use four replicas of Durham boats that Washington used in the actual crossing.
“Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware is one of the most recognized events in American history,” said Park Service Director Mark Texel. “And the Christmas Day re-enactment is one of our most anticipated and venerable traditions for history lovers, going back nearly 70 years.”
“If you want to come see a key moment in how our nation was created, this is a fantastic event to attend,” added Park Resource Interpretive Specialist and Historian Mark Sirak. “Many families open their presents then attend this reenactment as part of their holiday tradition. The New Jersey view of the crossing presents great photo opportunities, with the re-enactors rowing straight toward the New Jersey bank of the river.”
Prior to the crossing, and the ensuing battles of Trenton and Princeton, the American Revolution was thought to be nearly lost. But the victories at Trenton and Princeton – Washington’s first – helped turn the war around and led to the eventual defeat of the British.
The crossing of the Delaware River was the first move in a surprise attack organized by General Washington against Hessian forces in Trenton. Planned in secrecy, Washington led troops across the icy and dangerous river in the hours before dawn.
The first re-enactment was held in 1947, and though there were a few years when it wasn’t held, it has been a holiday tradition for decades.
The event is free. Hot cider will be available. Free parking is available on both sides of the river, though there is more parking on the New Jersey side. Enter at the visitor center on Route 546, where volunteers will direct traffic. The event concludes around 3 p.m.
For more information about Washington Crossing State Park, including directions and GPS coordinates, visit:
For more information on New Jersey State Parks, including a link to the free New Jersey State Parks and Forests Pocket Ranger ® app, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/