Washington on horse back to right of center facing viewer. Three other officers with him along with their horses. To left and down in valley soldiers in boats crossing river. Duplicate title (2004.D03.045 FAC #6523) is Washington Crossing the Delaware with Washington standing in a boat.
On night of December 25, 1776, George Washington led his troops across the ice-swollen Delaware about nine miles north of Trenton, New Jersey. The weather was horrendous and the river treacherous. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain produced impossible conditions. To add to the difficulties, many soldiers marched through the snow without shoes. The next morning the troops attacked to the south, taking the Hessian fort by surprise and over-running the town. After fierce fighting, and the loss of their commander, the Hessians surrendered. Washington’s victory was complete but his situation precarious. The continued violent weather made a strike towards Princeton problematic. Washington and his commanding officers decided to retrace their steps across the Delaware, taking their Hessian prisoners with them. The news of the American victory spread rapidly through the colonies reinvigorating the failing spirit of the Revolution.