I have just been refreshing my memory about the Battle of Trenton December 26th 1776–you know the famous “Washington Crossing the Delaware” thing? It’s a freaking miracle they made it: It’s mid-winter and one of the coldest the Americans have ever seen. The weather is horrible–with wind and sleet as well as bitter cold. The army is demoralized and ill-equipped. They have to ferry troops and equipment across a half-frozen river in scavenged boats in the dark. Some of the troops and artillery can’t make it across and have to turn back. The support unit under General Ewing abandons the plan in the face of the weather and goes home. Many of the soldiers and militia have no shoes. Guns freeze in the cold and Washington urges the men to fight on with bayonets if they must. Two men die of exposure on the nine-mile march in the dark through snow drifts from the river to Trenton. It takes 14 hours to reach their attack positions and they lose the advantage of darkness and have to attack in daylight….
But the crazy mofos win! With no further casualties!
The British consider it a nuisance to have lost the town, but for the Americans, it is a turning point in morale. At this point, victory for the Americans became inevitable. I like to think it’s because the Americans found the British rum rations and returned with them (and 900 captured Hessians) to camp.
So here’s to craziness, determination, and rum! May we all have enough to get where we’re going.