Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Meeting Notes: November 20, 2019

"How Did They Cross: Washington's Crossing of the Delaware River, December 25-26," Bill Welsch

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:
ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 1/15/20 at Heilman Dining Center at the University of  Richmond – dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. – the speaking program begins at 6:30 p.m.

ARRT-R’s featured speaker on 1/15/20 will be Christian McBurney, of the George Washington ARRT at Mount Vernon, who will speak on his forthcoming book George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the American Revolution.

Guest Speaker – Bill Welsch – President – American Revolution Round Table of Richmond
Washington’s plan involved three crossings, with the main effort being an attack on Trenton. The second crossing would be led by Colonel Cadwalader and would create a diversion to the south of Trenton.  The third crossing would be led by General Ewing who was tasked with crossing at Trenton Ferry and holding the bridge at Assunpink Creek, in order to prevent the Hessian force from retreating south.

Preparations for the attack involved hiding boats behind Taylor Island at McKonkey’s Ferry. The boats collected included large ferry vessels and a large number of Durham boats.  These boats where designed to carry heavy loads for the Durham Iron Works and featured high sides and a shallow draft.  The Durham boats could be poled across the river.

The boats where crewed by both civilians and soldiers including members of Colonel John Glover’s 14th Continental Regiment.  The famous regiment was recruited from the area around Marblehead, Massachusetts.
On the evening of the 25th Washington began assembling his force at McKonkey’s Ferry. 
Weather conditions on the evening of the 25th grew progressively worse as rain turned into sleet and snow.  The weather conditions and the amount of ice in the river slowed the crossing.

Weather conditions prevented the 2 other planned crossings from taking place.

Today the Pennsylvania launch site and the New Jersey landing site are part of the Washington Crossing Historic Park.

--Noah Rogers

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