On December 26, 1776, General George Washington and 2,400 soldiers successfully cross the icy Delaware River just before dawn.
Perhaps unrealistic, they appear rather heroic as depicted by Emanuel Leutze in his famous 1851 painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. Even so, the actual circumstances surrounding the iconic crossing further enhance their heroism.
Christmas night, Washington’s army began preparations for a ‘surprise attack’ on the Hessian troops at their Trenton, New Jersey camp. His plan called for three separate divisions embarking on three different crossings of the river. The cold rain that accompanied them on their march to the launch points became a blustery snowstorm. As a result, only Washington’s division made it across. Worse yet, they were three hours behind schedule, endangering the entire mission.
Additionally, spies and deserters passed along advance warning to the Hessians, mitigating the crucial element of surprise. Thankfully, a Christmastime attack in a winter storm seemed unlikely.
Despite all of this, Washington remained “determined to push on at all Events.”
The pursuant victory provided a much needed morale boost for the soldiers and colonists alike.
Events such as these are indicative of the “signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war,” as President Washington wrote in his 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Clearly, he believed God was with them.
This belief is also evident in the following quote from his Inaugural Address, which inspired Our shirt, found HERE:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”