Posted by: Kirsten | Saturday, 22 December 2007

Washington Crossing the Delaware — Again!

Washington Crossing the Delaware -- Again!The banks of the Delaware River separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the place to be on Christmas Day, as boatloads of historically decked-out folk will participate in the 55th annual Crossing of the Delaware at Washington Crossing Historic Park, located in the appropriately named village of — you guessed it — Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania.

By the winter of 1776, General Washington and his army had experienced several defeats and both the health and morale of his troops were at an all-time low. Forced to retreat across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania on December 7th and 8th, he hunkered down at Valley Forge while trying to devise a plan to keep his soldiers fighting beyond the current term of their enlistment, which was about to end. On Christmas of 1776, the Continental troops slipped back into New Jersey through a miserable sleet- and snowstorm, and surprised His Majesty’s mercenaries (the Hessians) in Trenton on the 26th.

The reenactment of the crossing happens around 1:00 pm (that’s 1300 for you military types!). The Visitor Center opens around 11:00 am and closes at 3:00 pm on Christmas Day, and the village houses will not be open. According to the park’s website, the crossing is dependent upon safe conditions for participants. If conditions don’t cooperate, be sure to attend anyway since there will still be speeches and ceremonies to commemorate this historic event.

And if you think that’s a neat idea on how to spend your Christmas afternoon, how about actually participating in the crossing?  It’s a bit too late to get involved this year — but plan now for your historic crossing on a future Christmas.  Participants must be 18 or older, unfortunately for the kids, but it’d still be an unforgettable experience for everyone in attendance.  If you’re interested, check out the park’s crossing web page and see the section on Participants.  No former experience with reenactments is required, however an authentic-looking costume is a must, so get started on those breeches and tri-corners now.

If you can’t make the Christmas Crossing — not to fear, as the Washington Crossing Historic Park has many events throughout the year, including a homeschool day on May 7th and October 16th, 2008.  See the complete Calendar of Events for more great field trip ideas.

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