Washington’s Crossing of Delaware Re-enactment December 25th

Posted on December 22, 2015

Residents and visitors can relive a crucial turning point in the American Revolution with the annual re-enactment of General George Washington’s iconic Crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas, the New Jersey State Park Service announced today.

The crossing on Christmas Day in 1776 is considered a pivotal event in the war for independence, leading to politically impactful victories in Trenton and Princeton that helped establish the Continental Army as a viable fighting force that could challenge the British and their Hessian supporters.

The re-enactment program is from noon to 3 p.m. and kicks off with a brief lecture about the history of the crossing at the Nelson House in Washington Crossing State Park, in Titusville, Mercer County.

At 1 p.m., a cannon will be fired on the Pennsylvania side of the river, signaling the start of the crossing of some 100 re-enactors from Washington Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania to Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville. Re-enactors will use four replicas of Durham boats that Washington used during the actual crossing.

“General George Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware was one of the most important events in American history, ultimately leading him and his troops to victory during the war for independence,” said Mark Texel, Acting Director of the Division of Parks and Forestry. “For nearly 70 years, the Christmas Day re-enactment of that critical moment has been one of the State Park Service’s most anticipated and venerable traditions for history lovers.”

“If you want to come see a key moment in how our nation was created, this is a fantastic event to attend,” added Park Resource Interpretive Specialist and Historian Mark Sirak. “Many families open their presents, then attend this re-enactment as part of their holiday tradition. The New Jersey view of the crossing presents great photo opportunities, with the re-enactors rowing straight toward the New Jersey bank of the river.”

Prior to the crossing and the ensuing battles of Trenton and Princeton, the American Revolution was thought to be lost. But victories at both Trenton and Princeton – Washington’s first – helped turn the war around and led to the eventual defeat of the British.

The crossing of the Delaware River was the first in a surprise attack organized by Washington against Hessian forces in Trenton. Planned in secret, Washington led troops across the icy and dangerous river in the predawn hours.

The re-enactment has served as a holiday tradition for decades, with the first held in 1947. There have been some years during which the event was not held.

The event is free. Hot cider will be available. Free parking is available on both sides of the river, though more parking is available on the New Jersey side. Enter at the park’s main entrance on Route 546, where volunteers will direct traffic. The event concludes at approximately 3 p.m.

For more information about Washington Crossing State Park, including directions and GPS coordinates, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/washcros.html

For more information on New Jersey State Parks, including a link to the free New Jersey State Parks and Forests Pocket Ranger app, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/

Source: NJDEP