A Christmas To Remember by Tom Reynolds
After a devastating defeat in New York City, where surrendering Continental soldiers were bayoneted to death by Hessians, George Washington led his army on a retreat through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. At Valley Forge, Washington set up a winter camp and pondered his next move.
The enlistments of the bulk of his army were due to expire in a few weeks and there was little hope of many reenlistments. Not just because of the devastating defeat in New York but the army was undersupplied in almost every area; many soldiers had no shoes and had been wearing the same clothes – now rags - for months; food was scarce. Defeatism ran through the army.
There is no record of Washington contemplating giving up but, certainly, some of his top generals must have contemplated getting the best possible terms from the British and surrendering. Instead, Washington gained control over whatever negative emotions he had and formulated a plan, which led to the most important Christmas in American history.
With the temperature barely above freezing, on the early evening of December 25, 1776, the Continental Army loaded onto boats, in a freezing rain storm that lasted all night. They crossed the ice clogged Delaware River in three groups; one group did not make it across and while a second group did make it across, it turned around and went back. Only Washington’s group was able to march to the attack.
Hours behind schedule, with one-third strength, they arrived at their target, Trenton New Jersey. Officers reported to Washington that the ice storm had soaked the muskets and many could not fire because of wet powder. These officers suggested that the attack be abandoned. Washington’s reply was the equivalent of “fix bayonets”.
While the enemy was yawning and waking up, they were suddenly attacked. The Continental Army, in rags with long hair and matted beards all coated in rain and mud, came screaming down on the Hessians. It must have looked to the Hessians like the army-from-hell had come from the depths to kill them. The battle was brief and the Hessians surrendered.
There would be another winter of deprivation at Valley Forge and a worse winter at Morristown in 1779-80, which was the coldest winter in 400 years. But in 1776, in what was the potential breaking point of the Revolutionary war, when all hope seemed to be lost, Washington did not lose hope. He and his army persevered and they eventually won. They set an example that should live today: we’re Americans; beware; we’d cross a frozen river on Christmas to kill our enemies.
Today, many are dejected and in a funk over the results of last year’s election. Morale is cratering. Summoning the energy to continue the fight to preserve the Constitution seems beyond some people’s wills. To them it would be easier to surrender to the likes of Alexandria Octavio-Cortez and tell her, “You win. We give up. Do with the USA what you will.”
We need to remember that many of us took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath had no expiration date! If you didn’t take that oath, it’s not too late to commit yourself to that principle.
Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The sunshine soldier and the summer patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”.
Are you a sunshine soldier and summer patriot that will find other excuses to occupy your time, in this modern crisis, and let the Constitution be shredded by the forces of Socialism? Do you believe our current situation is less winnable than it appeared on Christmas morning, 1776?
Paine also wrote, “Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered, but…the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph”. Did anyone believe that the Socialist lust for power would just go away and die when confronted? Did people believe that Donald Trump could take on the entire Washington swamp by himself?
When we were born in the USA, we won the lottery! It’s time to pay the price of that lottery ticket. Our forefathers were willing to pay that price, we need to join with them.
Enjoy the holidays. Reenergize and decide whether or not you are a “sunshine soldier” and will surrender to A O-C or if you are willing to stand up and fight for the USA: its Constitution; its traditions; its future; and your family. The choice is clear - get engaged or surrender.
Merry Christmas from SCOPE! Stay safe! Enjoy your family and friends!