Thursday, December 17, 2009


In Lebanon CT on 3/4/1781, Washington stopped at the home of Col. Jonathon Trumbull. Washington was on his way to Rhode Island. Lebanon is still a farm community on a crossroads.

Below is the home of William Williams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and also from Lebanon.

The War office for Trumbull is just down the road from his home and across from the town green. On the green, Washington reviewed the cavalry Legion of the Duke de Lauzun. Originally the War office was the merchant shop for Trumbull.

Below is the home of Col. Jonathon Trumbull, future Governor of of Connecticut. He was also Father of John Trumbull. The younger Trumbull was an aide to Washington and a painter. His paintings are famous and one is on the back of the twenty dollar bill.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Morristown New Jersey was home to Washington's headquarters numerous times during the Revolutionary War. This statue commemorates the frequent stays by the General.

Starting on 1/6/1777 to5/28/1777, the General retreated to Morristown after the victory at Princeton.
He stayed at the tavern owned by Co. Jacob Arnold on the town square. The building is now gone. So was much of the army. Washington depended mostly on the militia. They harassed the British Soldiers preventing them from resupply.
Washington was afraid that the British would discover how weak he was and attack. The militia activity prevented the enemy from gaining a clear picture of their advantage. The supplies that Washington needed came in slower and slower.

He tried to rebuild the army and challenged the British and Hessian forces who came to New Jersey for supplies.
He also organized an attack on Staten Island under the command of Lord Stirling. Alexander Hamilton became one of his aides.

He returned 7/4-7/10 1777. Washington was not sure of what General Howe in New York City would do. Would Howe move North to join up with General Burgoyne or South to attack Philadelphia. He moved the army to Morristown to position himself to go in either direction.

He stayed overnight at Arnold's Tavern on 6/3/1779. The British seemed to be making an advance on the Hudson Highlands and Washington stopped overnight before pushing on for West Point.

Returning again on 12/1/1779 to 6/6/1780, Washington stayed at the Ford Mansion. The trials endured by the Continental Army while encamped at Morristown are incredible. The army was starving, maybe eating every 3-5 days. It was a terrible winter with bitter cold. The only good news that came out of this camp was the news from Lafayette that the French would come with troops and a Navy to support Washington.

Again on 11/27/1780. Washington stopped to visit troops in the hospitals before moving on to New Windsor.

Lord Stirling's Headquarters in Parsippany near Troy Hills. A private home.
Stirling protected the North flank of Washington's command. From here, he launched his attack on Staten Island with the use of hundreds of sleds to move troops.

Reproductions of the cabins for the troops at Jockey Hollow.

More cabins and a training ground in front of the cabins.

The Ford Mansion. It is a beautiful museum open to the public.

The troops cabin in front and junior officers cabins to the rear. Endurance levels would have been unbelievable. Thank goodness they had it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Looking at Pennsylvania from New Jersey across the Delaware. The river is smooth and beautiful now unlike the night of Washington's Crossing.

It is 1776 and on the night of December 25th, Washington assembled what was left of his army and put them on boats to cross back from Pennsylvania into New Jersey. He planned a surprise attack at dawn on the Hessian's who were occupying Trenton. These were the same Hessian's who were ferocious in the Battle of Brooklyn. They bayoneted all who came in their path, including those who surrendered.
There were about 900 Hessian's, Washington had about 2000 worn out men left.

Washington had approximately 25,000 men at the Battle of Brooklyn in August. He lost 95% of his command in the battles that followed and his retreat across New Jersey. If he did not attack now, then the rest would be lost along with the cause.

The McConkey's Ferry Inn in Pennsylvania. Washington gathered troops together here for the crossing of the Delaware. Barely fed, freezing and their enlistments about to expire, it did not seem that Washington had anything going for him with these men. A closer look shows that they were tough. Some had fought at Bunker Hill and at every battle since. Yes, they had lost, but they would not quit. They had given their word to finish out their enlistments and that is what they would do. Also, with every battle, they and their officers became better soldiers and better professionals.

Below is the Thompson-Neely House. Now a museum, in the days leading up to the crossing, it was headquarters for General William Alexander, aka, Lord Stirling. His Lt. was James Monroe, future President.

A reproduction of a ferry boat that would have brought horses and cannon across the Delaware for Col. Henry Knox. Below is the Merrick House, headquarters of General Nataniel Greene. Greene led the left wing of Washington's attack on Trenton. The home is privately owned.

The Keith House, Headquarters to General Washington from 12/15/1776 to 12/24/1776. The house is privately owned and modernized, but you can still see the old outline of the original.

The Nelson House on the Jersey side of the Delaware. Washington was given a quick bite by the inhabitants. He watched the boats coming over the river. He knew he was behind schedule, but turning back was not an option. The watchword for the night was "Victory or Death".

The journey from the ferry to Trenton was about nine miles over frozen roads in the dark. The horses to pull the cannons were not able, so the soldiers had to pull and push the artillery all the way. Two Continental soldiers laid down on the side of the road and never got up, frozen. Washington wanted to attack at dawn, but he was hours behind. Fog rolled in giving him time and saving the attack.


Old time Trenton roads were laid out in the shape of a capital A. The top of the A was pointing North and a road led North-east to Princeton. The left leg of the capital A was closest to the Delaware River and the right leg led South to a bridge over the Assunpink Creek. Trenton was a sleepy little country town in 1776. The Hessians were an outpost for the British Army which was camped at Princeton. Colonel Johann Rall was in command. He was a tough veteran commander, but careful with his troops. He had beaten the American rebels all summer and had no respect for them as soldiers.

Washington stayed with the left wing of his army and split again to stay with the center of the attacking force made up of the artillery. General Greene would lead General's Stephen, Mercer, and Lord Stirling on the left flank. General John Sullivan led the right wing of Glover, Sargent and St. Clair along the river and stop at the bridge South of town to prevent the Hessians from escaping Washington's trap.

At 8:15 the attack began with the Continental's coming out of the fog at the Hessian sentinels. The Hessians fell back and the alarm went up. Knox and Capt. Alexander Hamilton swung their cannons into position at the top of the A. Their field of fire controlled both legs of the A. Below is the modern look South into the two streets controlled by Knox's nine cannon.

The Battle of Trenton Monument at the top of the A. Col. Rall could not believe the Americans would attack him and rallied his men. The grapeshot fired down the streets was merciless. Rall watched his men fall and was wounded himself. He tried to fall back and regroup, but he was wounded again, fatally. The Hessian second in command led his men South to the bridge to escape and met with Sullivan's men, he could not break through and was also fatally wounded. The Hessians then moved East of town into orchards only to find General Greene's Division closing in. They were surrounded and drew down their colors or flags, the battle was over.

The untrained rag-tag Americans had defeated the Hessians, killing 22, wounding 84 and capturing 834.

The British purchased the services of 30,000 Germanic Soldiers from German princes. There was no united Germany in 1776. These troops came from Hesse Cassel, Hesse Hanau, Brunswick, Anspach, Bayreuth, Anhalt Zerbst and Waldeck.

Hesse Cassel 16,992 ,
Hesse Hannau 2,422
Brunswick 5,723
Anspach - Bayreuth 2,553
Anhalt Zerbst 1,152
Waldeck 1,225
Total sent was just over 30,000 from 1776 to 1782; 12,562 did not return... 7,754 dead and 4,808 remained in America due to Washington's insistence that the captured soldiers be treated well.
All are generally referred to as "Hessians" because of the large number of Hessians that came and their General Knypyhausen was commander of the entire German force which contributed to the common reference of "Hessian Soldiers".

The Old Barracks in Trenton is open as a museum. It does a great job. Originally built for British Soldiers for the French and Indian War.

The barrels of spirits found in Trenton were destroyed. Washington was afraid of a counterattack and did not want his men unable to defend themselves.

The Crossing is redone every year at Washington State Park on Christmas and a rehearsal day just before.