Author: John L. Moore
Book Type: Trade Paperback
A wintry December 1776 forced General Washington’s army to struggle against the ice, snow, sleet, and wind as well as against Hessian and British soldiers.John L. Moore’s nonfiction book draws on first-person accounts to chronicle these struggles. In the weeks prior to Washington’s victory over the Hessians at Trenton:
- Continental regiments coming south from Albany, New York, to join Washington in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County ran into a severe snowstorm as they marched across northern New Jersey.
- Militia troops from Dover, Delaware, marched through snow to join Washington in eastern Pennsylvania. En route, they met a congressman fleeing Philadelphia who predicts that Washington may soon need “to obtain the best terms (of surrender) that could be had from the enemy.”
- A Philadelphia militia company, ordered to make a night march, “hadn’t marched far before it began to rain and snow,” the sergeant said. When the men reached their objective, they were “as wet as rain could make us and cold to numbness.”Washington’s offensive against Trenton began on a “fearfully cold and raw” Christmas night on the Delaware River’s Pennsylvania side with “a snow storm setting in,” an officer said.
“The wind is northeast and beats in the faces of the men,” the officer said. “It will be a terrible night for the soldiers who have no shoes.” Even so, the soldiers crossed into New Jersey, then marched nine miles to Trenton.
Downriver, hundreds of General John Cadwalader’s militiamen also managed to reach New Jersey even though, as Colonel Joseph Reed reported, “the ice began to drive with such force and in such quantities as threatened many boats with absolute destruction.” Cadwalader called off the offensive when his men couldn’t get the cannons ashore.