still yet young in comparison to empires of past centuries, is rich in
history. Such history of revolution,
conflict, enlightenment and prosperity should be taught to our youth and
celebrated. If we are to continue in
prosperity and bask in the light of freedom that Lady Liberty shines down upon
those who call the United States home then we must take to earnest endeavor to
properly teach the youth of our nation their history.
a founding story of our nation with an excerpt from our book Vigilance: The
Price of Liberty:
It was December of 1776, little more
than four months after America had declared its independence, and General George Washington’s
army in full retreat. While successful in flushing the British from Boston, the
American army moved to New York where it suffered devastating defeats. Driven
out of New York and forced to flee across the Delaware River to Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, only 3,000 of the initial 20,000 troops remained of the
Continental army. Over matched by
British troops and with his army’s enlistments expiring at month’s end,
Washington knew he had to do something bold or the revolution would be at risk.
To this end, Washington conceived a plan to attack the town of Trenton, New
Jersey on Christmas day. The watch words would be “Victory or Death”.
Trenton was the closest outpost to
Washington and manned with about 1,400 Hessian [German] mercenaries under the
Hessian Commander Colonel Johann Rall. Washington devised a plan to strike the
Hessians believing they would be sleeping off the effect of Christmas Eve food
Thomas Paine had written an essay that
Washington ordered read to his troops on that night before Christmas with the
opening words “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Troops would be on
the march that Christmas, some without shoes and all facing a winter storm as
they made their way onto boats to cross the Delaware River. It would take some
14 hours for soldiers, horses and artillery to cross the river in sleet, while
dodging blocks of ice.
As the Americans began their journey
that fateful Christmas eve, a Loyalist – Americans who aligned with the British
and saw the rebellion as treason against the Crown – came to see Colonel Rall
at the house of Abraham Hunt, a wealthy town merchant. But Rall would not be disturbed and was given
a note instead which Rall placed into his coat pocket.
It was about 3 am when the Continental
Army landed and began its march of 10 miles to Trenton. Washington ordered the
men to keep moving. Two stopped for rest and froze to death. Of the four forces
that set-out for Trenton, only two arrived and Washington placed his troops at
both ends of the town when at about 8 am he ordered the attack.
The Hessians bolted from their houses
to battle formation as the Americans converged from each side of Trenton.
American soldiers lay blows of flesh and steel on the enemy and shouted “This
is the time to try men’s souls!” Cannon fire from each end of the town cut-down
the Hessians as they poured into the street to engage in battle.
Colonel Rall urgently gathered his coat
to organize a charge, however, during the battle he was shot and mortally
wounded. He would soon surrender to
General Washington but before he would die, he lifted the note he placed in his
pocket given to him the night before only to read the warning that the
Americans were on the march to Trenton.
Near death, Rall would say “If I had read that at Mr. Hunt’s, I’d not be
Shortly after the Hessians surrendered
General Washington would return to Pennsylvania. For the next 14 hours the Continental Army
would again cross the Delaware to return to Bucks County with captured weapons
and some 900 prisoners.
For a period of 48 hours valiant men
forged a victory without sleep and little food and in conditions that would
kill any other man – it was only their determination for Liberty that would
keep them alive. With their blood following them on the snow from their bare
feet and the courage that would try men’s souls, the Battle of Trenton brought
life to the new revolution.
Such were the sacrifices and resolute
courage that gave birth to America. We have largely forgotten our heritage and
the goal of liberty that was so valiantly fought for in 1776. In doing so we have stepped on a path toward
tyranny and the warm lake of blood that gave genesis to our nation lies a
distance that is too far from sight. We must take measure to make our way back
to this enshrined lake that paid for our liberty or we risk forever that which
was so dearly won. (pg.13-15)