Washington Crosses the Delaware

So Jenny says to me she says, “You’re a history type of girl, right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, baby! Yeah!” So we repaired to the spot where Washington crossed the Delaware.

There are a lot of facts about that day that most people don’t realize. The Delaware, for instance, is quite shallow. And there’s a narrow little bridge that spans the river at this point—far too narrow for a Revolutionary War-era chuck wagon, hence the crossing via boats. There’s a tremendous population of Canadian Geese in the area, lending credence to the conspiracy theory that America never actually won the war and is still a colony of Montreal. C’est vrai!

General Washington was a tremendous fan of cross country running as a college event, and we were careful to look out for the historical reinactment taking place of the famous Washington Runs Cross Country Near the Delaware.

Jenny and I became so concerned about the importance of documenting these startling facts, that we turned to the camera I’d stuffed into my pocket that morning.

This is a replica of a Revolutionary War-era ferry, built to scale. Why did Washington choose to cross in boats instead of on ferries such as this? It’s not, as most people believe, because he knew that boats would lend themselves much more readily to ninteenth century paintings. No, Washington chose not to use the ferries because, as anyone can see, the damned thing doesn’t look very stable. We’ve seen Survivor and know what happens when you take a big flat piece of wood and load it up with hostile people and supplies. It’s funny to the viewers at home, but not conducive to winning a war.

Washington and his men each had small figurines representing themselves. They used these to mark their spots at the dinner table when they got up to get more rolls, use the bathroom, or avoid difficult conversation. They were also used to plan battles on enormous maps they carried place to place on the backs of mules. This site has a real treat: a few of the figurines remain intact and are on display inside a building. Only no one’s allowed inside the building for fear that the little guys will be stolen.

This is the tree Washington sent a young page boy to climb to see whether he could spy any nasty Hessians hanging around on the other side of the river. He couldn’t.

And here we see the path Washington followed along his quest to win the war and a spot on the lowest form of US paper currency. He’s very lucky that this path was already here and went exactly where he wanted to go.

In this spot on December 26, 1776, Washington pondered which sandwich to eat as they paused before the next leg of his journey. Jenny shows, with remarkable historic accuracy, the awkward thinking position Washington preferred when making difficult choices.

This is the actual bench where Washington ate a bologna and mustard sandwich. Yum.