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Washington Crossing the Delaware

George Washington and his Continental Army crossed the Delaware's ice-choked waters on Christmas night, 1776, ambushing a party of Hessian troops in Trenton. Also present at the crossing was another future president, James Monroe. It was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

The spot where General Washington led a group of heroes across the Delaware 237 years ago in pursuit of freedom is commemorated every Christmas Day, conditions permitting, during an annual reenactment.

The Crossing of the Delaware continues to inspire Americans as evidenced by its reference in President Barack Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address:

"So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At the moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words to be read to the people: 'Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].' "


The photo on this page was taken by Ken Najjar at the Christmas Day 2002 crossing reenactment, with the added effect of Emanuel Leutze's "George Washington Crossing the Delaware" painting.