Titusville in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Christmas Night Crossing
December 25-26, 1776
— Washington Crossing State Park —
After a series of defeats in New York in 1776, General George Washington’s Continental Army retreated across New Jersey and, on December 8th, escaped across Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The British, unable to find boats, could not pursue Washington further so went into winter quarters; leaving a chain of outposts throughout New Jersey. The Trenton outpost consisted of three regiments of Hessian soldiers.
In desperate need of a victory, Washington decided to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night to launch a surprise attack on Trenton. As night fell, the army of 2,400 men began to cross the ice-filled river. By midnight a storm had developed – hurling sleet, hail and snow at the rebel army.
“We had to wait for the rest and so began to pull down the fences and made fires to warm ourselves, for the storm was increasing rapidly. After a while it rained, hailed, snowed, and froze, and at the same time blew a perfect hurricane.”
For almost ten hours, boats moved continuously back and forth across the river, ferrying men, horses and cannon to the Jersey side. It was nearly 4 in the morning before the entire army was assembled and ready for the march to Trenton.
On the morning of December 26th, after a nine-mile march, the Hessian garrison was surrounded and defeated. This decisive victory at Trenton – a tremendous morale boost for the Continentals – saved the Revolution.
“…the army…passed the river on Christmas night, with almost infinite difficulty…. The floating ice in the river made the labor almost incredible. However perseverance accomplished what at first seemed impossible…. The night was cold and stormy; it hailed with great violence….”
Colonel Henry Knox, Continental Artillery
Erected by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Division of Parks and Forestry.
Location. 40° 17.803′ N, 74° 52.052′ W. Marker is in Titusville, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker is on River Drive, on the right when traveling north. Marker is in Washington Crossing State Park, on the banks of the Delaware River. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Titusville NJ 08560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance The Site of Washington’s Crossing (here, next to this marker); An Historic Site (was a few steps from this marker but has been reported missing. ); Ferry Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Crossing (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Crossed the Delaware (within shouting distance of this marker); 200th Birthday of George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Bicentennial of General George Washington's Birthday (within shouting distance of this marker); Crossing of the Delaware (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Titusville.
More about this marker. The marker is dominated by a picture of “Washington Crossing the Delaware by Lloyd Garrison. Courtesey of the State Historical Foundation, Inc.”
Also see . . . Washington Crosses the Delaware, 1776. (Submitted on April 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Events • Notable Persons • War, US Revolutionary •
More. Search the internet for The Christmas Night Crossing.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,709 times since then and 42 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week December 21, 2008. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 3, 4. submitted on December 9, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5. submitted on November 26, 2010. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.