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tv   1776 Battle of Trenton Myths  CSPAN  July 2, 2021 9:36pm-10:30pm EDT

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national park service historian mark maloy talks about several myths surrounding the 1776 battle of trenton including whether or not the hessians who were german mercenary soldiers were really drunk during george washington's attack. the office of historic alexandria in partnership with emerging revolutionary war hosted this talk and provided the video. our next speaker is mark maloy. he is a historian currently working for the national park service in virginia. he is the author of victory or death the battle of trenton and princeton december 25th. 1776, january 3rd. 1777. one of the inaugural volumes in the emerging rev war book series. he holds an undergraduate degree in history from the college of william & mary and a graduate degree in history from george mason university. he has worked at numerous public
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history sites and archaeological digs for the past 15 years and is an avid revolutionary war reenactor. i'm super looking forward to drunk hessians and other myths of the 10 critical days and everyone get close to your computer because this is an interactive session. so watch out for some fun things to pop up on your screen. so with that i'm going to pass it off to mark all right. can you hear me liz? yep, we're good. all right, excellent. well, thank you everybody for joining me here today. and yeah, like liz said i figured you know, well hindsight is 2020. if only we pushed this, uh this symposium a few months back. we might actually have been able to do it in person, but that's fine because we are doing it virtually i figure this might actually be a great opportunity to get a little interaction between you all in the audience and and myself and yeah, no, i i
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wrote a book about a battle of trenton princeton part of the 10 crucial days campaign 1776 1777 and when when we originally talking about highlighting myths of the the revolution and as i started looking through many of the myths and stories of this critical campaign, you know what i found amazing was looking through them is that any of the things that i considered myths or you know fictions they had kind of been brought up over the years. we're in fact actually facts. they are true some of these things actually happened and we have, you know, written evidence from people from the time period writing about some of these some of these amazing deeds. and so what i'm gonna do today is i got i got 14 of these these myths and myths conceptions and what i'm gonna do is i'm gonna pose them to you all as questions as we get up to them and and then you're gonna have the opportunity we'll do is when i ask a question you should be able to see something pop up on
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your screen saying with a question and then either yes or no answer as far as whether it's true or not, and then the great thing about this is it's anonymous. so, you know, you don't have to feel like you don't know the right answer you can just kind of say whether you think it's a myth or whether you think it's a true event and he helps me because i can kind of get a better understanding of you know, what people think is true when people think isn't true and i think it'll be a little fun so but i'm gonna go ahead and let me see if i can. share my screen here. so hopefully y'all can see this. so yes, we're gonna start off by talking about what i consider. well, first of all i said, you know, we're gonna be talking about myths and legends really so you'll see the definitions
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here a myth a widely held but false belief or idea. so these are things that have been kind of manufacturing over the years and then legends which are traditional stories. sometimes popularly regarded as historical, but they're not unauthenticated and so these are you know, some of these things we don't know the answers to because trying to prove a negative can be obviously very difficult. you see the image there, of course, you know in on the blog post specifically about talking about miss and misconceptions, you know, the revolutionary war the founding of america is kind of a wash in all sorts of myths and misconceptions as we're seeing throughout the day today and and the 10 crucial days and trenton and princeton is is really no different. and i'm gonna start off by talking about probably the the biggest touchstone that anybody has to the campaigns of trenton princeton, and that is this image you see right here
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washington crossing the delaware by emmanuel. loitza, you have probably seen this in history textbooks. it's on classroom walls. it's if you actually go up to the site where washington crossed the delaware river at in pennsylvania, new jersey, you'll see it you'll see actually a full sculpture of it. you'll see it on prince coffee mugs driving through the area you'll see on mailboxes. it's kind of one of the most famous and recognizable images not just of the american revolution but really all of american history and it really is an amazing painting and that's gonna go bring us to our very first myth or misconception and that's the question of is this a historically accurate representation? of the event of crossing the delaware so you all should see a question just pop up and we're gonna give you about 10 seconds
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here and go ahead and answer that question. you can hit submit and we'll just give it a couple seconds and we'll see. we'll see what the with the results pop up here in just a moment once we get everybody's input. wow, okay, so we just got the results 94% of you believe. this is not an accurate representation. it's only six percent do very good. okay, so you guys are already winning at this game. so yes, this is not a very historically accurate portrayal. i'll just point out some of the things here. first of all, you'll see this close up here. you see the sun rising. it's a overcast day, of course crossing the delaware happened in the middle of the night. it was snowing sleeting raining. it was terrible weather. and so that is obviously incorrect. you'll look at the water here and you'll see these mini
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icebergs floating down. this was actually painted by lloydsa who's a german painter. he actually painted it over in germany and this actually probably resembles more of what the ice looked like over on the rhine. in fact the the width of the river in this image is is more likely that with the with the ride on the actual delaware. it's a little bit flatter ice now there was ice in the river at that time, but probably didn't look exact. like this in the boat, you will see these gentlemen here you'll notice right behind him an african-american now there were actual african-american's that were took part in this campaign, but lloydsa wanted to include an african-american. he was actually an abolitionist and wanted to show the many different types of people who came together and the american cause you also see this figure who's somewhat androgynous the idea was to also show although we don't know of any women who
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actually participated in the actual campaign you wanted to show that women supported the american cause during this time period in the background, you'll see horses and artillery on other boats now. this is true there what they did cross over 18 pieces of artillery and numerous horses to get over the river. you can imagine what that would have been like on a snowy night and you also see over on the right some men actually walking. on the ice as well, and that is true too. so at one point the river does get so frozen over that people would have been able to cross over on foot. here in the center of the painting you have this the american flag flying now this version of the american flag wasn't actually adopted until the the following summer and the man you see holding the flag. there is a supposed to represent lieutenant james monroe the free future fifth president united
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states and you have washington there in the center and now washington, you know, one of the big things, you know, he wouldn't stand up on a boat going, you know on a little robot going across the river and that might be true, but you know, what kind of boats were they actually using they probably weren't using many of these little robots. they would have had large what they called durham boots. they were used to actually shuttle coal. they would have been using those to transport many of these soldiers across and on those boats. he actually many of people would be standing up on those boats because they are so large and also to squeeze as many guys in these boats as they could one of the neat little accurate things the sword you see there hanging off. washington side that's an exact replica of the sword that washington carried later in the war. so that's actually on display at the smithsonian. but the sword he didn't actually get this until 1778. so previously at the actual crossing he had a different sword. he was carrying. there's a great book called the swords of george washington that shows you that sort still
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exists, which is pretty amazing. although it is in private hands. um, so yes this painting you see is not an accurate historically accurate representation of the crossing now that became you know other people are gonna try and do images of washing crossing the delaware after the extreme success that leitz is painting had even immediately that was painted. this was all painted that painting was painted 1850. so you see the men crossing here washing on a horse back in this painting recently. there's actually more counselor actually did a version to try and get a more historically accurate version. here. he is on a on a fairy barge because there was he crossed that this place called he's fairy so he may have crossed over on that fact is we don't have that much information on the actual details of washington himself crossing. so there's gonna be artistic
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license and all this but i will say although this is not historically accurate i do think what it does sum up. is that the critical nature of this campaign and loitza was painting. this is after the revolution of the revolutions in europe in 1848, and he was trying to garner support and and use the american cause to show how these few men, you know with the wind beating in their faces pushed up against all odds and were able to to pull victory from the the jaws of defeat and that is accurate this this campaign the battles of trenton and princeton is going to be a defining moment of the american revolution and and it was against all odds and washington in his band of men were successful. this is probably the lowest of the the cause of the revolution and trenton and prince is gonna kind of turn everything around so i do think it is still a very
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valuable representation. it's inspiring. and hopefully gets people to want to learn more about this campaign. my biggest complaint is that this is become so famous that people often think of the crossing and a lot of people don't know what he did once he got to the other side of the river and that there were, you know, three very important battles that had to be one and and washington was in doing that. um now about this painting here's another question for you. okay, does the first version of this painting hang today in the metropolitan museum of art now, you'll see this question pop up to for you here. now there are many different copies of this painting that have have gone around and you like i said, you'll see prince of this all over there's actually i think it was mark twain who actually said that you know, this painting became so universals almost in every
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household across the country in the 19th century. so so here we go. all right, so we got our results 20% of you believe it is 80% of you believe it is not. all right, so this is kind of a trick question, so if you go to them met today, and i'll see if i can switch it over here. if you do go to the met today, you will see a painting and it is by a manual lloydsa, and it was paying in 1851 and it's hanging there today. it's a massive a painting. it just steps away actually from gadsby's taverns interior. that's up there today and this so this is an original by loitza, but the one he painted right before this actually is hanging and we have a photograph of it no longer exists. this was the actual original one and it was over in germany. it was damaged by a fire and
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then it was actually destroyed by allied bombing during world war ii, so the original original does not exist anymore, but an original lloyds that does hang there in the metropolitan museum of art and there's a copy of it the same. eyes that you'll see on site there at washington crossing park in pennsylvania. so here's another question common misconception. did washington cross the delaware river to attack the hessians on christmas eve 1776. seems like it should be a pretty no-brainer. i don't know. what do you guys think? i'll let you guys go ahead and answer that. we're gonna be we're gonna be getting close here to talking about drinking and hessians in just a second, but this is something that i'll often see in many books, you know all over that washington crossing christmas eve. so almost 30% of you said he did
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us about 75% of you said he did not and this is a myth. he did not cross on christmas eve. he crossed on christmas day and this is often miss attributed and i think it goes to how we celebrate christmas today. so we often think christmas eve the night before christmas is when all the merriment and joy happens, but washington actually crosses on the night of december 25th 1776. so when he attacks the hessians the next day, it's actually december 26th 1776. so common misconception now, this is a good question. did the weather happen to align perfectly? for the american cause during this campaign. you know, did it did it support his army almost perfectly.
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you know in in finding a way to defeat the hessians and then you know, there's gonna be a couple more battles against the british in just a few days after the battle of trenton, but did the weather just somehow magically happened? oh interesting. we are evenly divided on this 50/50. well, this is true. the weather almost happens perfectly for the american cause now i know what you're saying. they had a cross in a blizzard. it was snowing sleeting raining. how's that help their cause at all? well, what happens is is washington sets the time to attack now he was going to cross the delaware and they had a march 9 miles down to actually attack trenton. he actually had two other divisions there were also going to cross the river in attack the hessians that trend. well those other two columns can't even get across the river because downriver the ice builds up so bad. they can't even get across. so how does this help the americans?
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well, those other divisions got across they may have alerted the hessians too early and throwing the whole plan off. so the weather actually helps in just keeping washes the vision getting across the weather was so bad too that the hessians patrols that usually patrolled the area or washington. then we're crossing. they actually came in so they weren't patrolling that night because of the weather and washington's able to spring this surprise the day after christmas and totally surprises the hessians and was able to capture over 900 of them. so the weather actually that terrible weather helps washington that night then when the british find out about this general cornwalls is gonna gather up as many british troops as he can and march down and attack washington's guys at trenton. well, guess what the weather gets so warm, uh that all the the frozen roads and everything. they turned a mud and as well as his guys are trying to get down trenton, you know, there are artillery and the men all sink down in this mud and they get bogged down so that they come in
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too late to trenton and when they had the second battle of trenton also known as the battle of assassin paint creek, you know, they run out of daylight and so cornwall says well, we'll bag the old fox in the morning. well then what happens is the temperature limits so so deep all those roads freeze over and washington's able to maneuver all of his troops out of trenton go around the british flank in attack his rear guard at princeton. so it just so happened that the weather is gonna actually fall directly in place. it's gonna be able to support washington's troops and slow down the british or drive in there their infantry. so really interesting one of those. oh that's got to be a myth, but now that's actually that's actually helped the american cause, you know, it's amazing how some of this this happens, you know, just pretty interesting. all right. let's see did many of the
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continental soldiers lack shoes during this campaign. now, this is a story that i see a constantly they talk about, you know, barefoot continentals, you know, not not being, you know, lacking proper footwear and all sorts of things. but is this a myth? is this something that was made up to make the the continentals look more brave than perhaps they actually were or do you think this is was actually a fact that they were lacking shoes and an important thing you can see this image of a monument up there at princeton showing one of the continentals lacking shoes. all right, so we got about 65% of you say they did and 35% of you say they did not this is a fact washington's men were terribly under supplied and you see it throughout journals diaries and all sorts of things of just how many guys are lacking shoes one of washington's aids actually writes that you could follow the
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the path of the continental army from blood in the snow from the men who lack shoes just shows you like and you know when i was up, you know researching this book up in that area in the winter, you know anytime or anytime it snows you take your shoes off and walk around a little bit and snow. i mean, it boggles my mind to understand how these guys went through this and really also what drove them to do this, you know, it really was a belief in you know, you know if what whatever their motivations were it had to be pretty substantial in order to go undergo these kind of privations one of my favorite stories is the painter charles wilson peel who actually painted many of the port famous portraits of washington. he was actually a pennsylvania soldier and his brother was in a maryland regimen. well, he's on the delaware river and he's seeing washington's army come by in this guy breaks
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out from the ranks and he looks but draggled his beard is overgrown. he has sores all over his face. he had no idea who this man was and it wasn't until the guy started talking to him that charles realized that this is his actual brother talking to him and he didn't even recognize him just based on on how how malnourished and under provisioned he was so so yeah the privation of the common continental soldier is no myth is an actual fact and one that is just difficult to comprehend of how they were able to put up with that. okay, so let's talk about hessians were the hessians bloodthirsty mercenaries. uh now you see the the picture here is probably one of the most famous hessians you probably may or may not know this is a crystal walking portraying the headless hessians from the the
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movie sleepy hollow. you can see his teeth are filed down into sharp pieces. and but was this the the fact where these hessians he's kind of monsters 90% of you say no only 10% say yes and most of you yes are correct. these are not blood thirsty mercenaries. actually hessians isn't the best description for him because usually hessians comes from a region in germany has a castle where many of the the soldiers came from, but there are many other german troops that are gonna come over to america to fight on the side of the crown forces and hessians becomes a popular name for now these men you'll see the term mercenary use quite a bit and they were being they were paid professional soldiers but a better description of them would be auxiliaries so they are fighting for their prints and their prince has been contracted
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out by the king of england to be sent over to america to fight in this war and this isn't the only war these were professional soldiers. they kind of fought all over europe and they were renowned as some of
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man. there are actually stories, where they needed some of the rifleman to treat, and left their bodies hanging there. some of these were saying, yes, there was atrocities committed, put the stories grow, and grow, and grow. there are stories for these newspapers, and they're talking about how these mercenaries were bloodthirsty, that they eight babies, that they were terrible marauders. the british, even, talk about the hessians pennant for looting, and they do a lot of looting throughout new jersey. but, they weren't these mercenaries. there were actually many germans, on the american sides,
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and the more you get into what happens today, but it's interesting, after the battle there, washington captured 900 of them, and it's an amazing thing, because after what happened some of the men who are killed, after the surrender at new york, you would think that the americans could take their vengeance on these men, and put them to death, or commit atrocities themselves, but washington orders, no reprisals against these men, and he sends him to philadelphia, where he has the march through the streets. people do come out to see them, because they've heard the stories about how terrible these guys are, they want to see for themselves what these people looked like. many of them end up in prison, or in work camps, in pennsylvania, maryland, and virginia. this is where they will sit out, waiting for an exchange. let's go to another one. let's see. okay, here is a more accurate representation of the hessians.
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not the headless one, who became famous after that washington irving story. so, leading up to the battle, this is a story that has been around for a while and there was a spy named john, honey men, who infiltrated them, and told all of their dispositions to general washington. you don't notice you are not, you may have heard a lot about washington spies, and it becomes a very popular narrative that washington used to many spies, but this particular story, you can see a plaque to them there, in new jersey, for his work as a spy. but was this true? did this happen? okay, 70% of you say yes. 30% say no. so, this is a tough one. we don't know, for sure, and
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that is because, proponents of the story, they say that he was a local tory, that he infiltrated, but his heart was with the patriots. he infiltrated the hessians, then pretended to be captured by the americans, was brought to washington, washington interviews him at night, alone, and then washington leaves him imprisoned, with a guard, but he is able to escape, and make it back to tell all of the hessians, about his terrible ordeal, and then say don't worry about washington, is geyser dying across the river, and they won't be able to attack. he spreads this misinformation, and then, of course, the battle happens, and they're all captured. now, we have no evidence from the time period that this did actually happen. john honey was a real person, and he was known as a tory.
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now, was he a spy, or not? descendants, family histories, traditions, do say he was. that is one of the reasons why, after the war, he is not one of the tories who is kicked out of the state, or how this property confiscated, and he does well, that was because he was a spy, he helped washington, and so he was rewarded for that. so, there is no documentation to back this up, washington was known as a spy master, he did use many spies, and to gather intelligence, and this is just one of those traditions. on authenticated, no ways that we can prove whether it is true or not, but, really, it is up to who you believe, and whether you think that this was such a secret operation that they were able to keep it secret, even 250 years later, but it does make for a great story, for
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sure. okay, the big question. were they drunk on the morning after christmas? we have all heard the story is, we're hessians probably drawing their rahm's, and having a good time, totally unprepared, when the americans hit. totally disorganized, hung over, drunk, struggling around, easy pray for the americans, and my favorite meme is washington walking across the delaware and says, americans, we will cross the delaware, until you in your sleep, while you are drunk. we've done it before. but is this true, or not? >> okay, a third of you believe that this is true, and two thirds of you believe it is not true. now, if you look at the title of this, it was a myth. this is not true. they were actually quite the
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opposite. the professional soldiers, they were under constant attacks, from different militia forces, and nearly, always on, not ready for an attack, the night of christmas, actually, the snow forced them in, but they will sleep that night, with their uniforms on, there must gets ready to go, and now, there officer, ilhan, he was known to have been celebrating at a home oven loyalist, abraham hunt, and it is likely he had a few drinks at night. was a drunk, or hung over the next day? no. were they taken by surprise? yes. there is actually an american fight for, jon green, who says that he swears afterwards, not a single hessians, was drunk that morning. where does the story come from? right after this embarrassing defeat for the crown forces, many of the british are some of
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the first to say, well, they were a bunch of drunks, they couldn't handle it, so the story starts to spread, almost immediately after the fact. there were hessians, who had been known for looting, and there was some hessians, down and mile tall, -y who were drinking that night. but, at this battle, they were prepared, they were ready. like i said, they were not drunk. it kind of grows from their, to a point to where it becomes a common myth about the battle. let's see. what's the next one. was the colonel warned the night before the attack was coming? now, you may have heard this story. there is a story that while washington's men are crossing the delaware, a loyalist, from pennsylvania, makes it over, gets a note to him, he has a good hand of card, so we put the note in his pocket, doesn't
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pay attention, and the next morning, he is killed in the battle. then, as he's dying, he reaches into his pocket, and finds us note. if only he read it, he could've prevented it. was that true, or not? >> we are about evenly divided here. 60% of you say yes, 40% say no. so, this is -- what's he warned? yes, he was warned. his superiors were telling him to fortify, they were telling him to get ready for an attack, and rall who performed a billing at the battle of new york does not build fortifications. he says he is very overconfident, he says these are contrary clients, let them come to me, we will give them the bayonet. but, as far as the story from the note, it doesn't appear until almost 100 years after the event. one of the first, what we would
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consider, real histories of the event, written by a man named william striker. he published things like the fact that they were drunk, and other traditions that were passed down orally, and, includes this story, so, maybe it was true, but, one of the things is that he didn't speak english. so, unless this german farmer was able to write it down in german, and passed it down, that is the only way to read it. really, that is the first, document to time, that he had this note. but, again, it is one of those things, do you believe it, or not? it is up to who you want to believe. >> did the crown forces out number the americans in the campaign? this is something, i think vanessa was talking about, in the movie, the patriot. we've all seen it.
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thousands of red coats, all coming out you, did they outnumber the americans in this campaign? like i said, it's that small band of guys, going up against, across the river, to attack the larger force. is that, in fact, the case? where they numbered? okay. two thirds of you think they were, only one third think they were not. now, this is interesting, because, actually, the americans outnumber the british, and they outnumber those in the campaign. they did suffer a massive defeat at the battle of new york, just before this campaign. his army, in august of 1776, was 23, 24,000 men. as he retreats across new jersey, that winter, he says he only counts around 3000 men left. now, by the time he gets across the river, and including sick,
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or people who are unable to fight, there were six or 7000 people, on the southern side of the delaware with her. now, the british do outnumber them, in the battle of new york, and they leave all of these little outposts, all across new jersey. he only leaves around 1500 hessians, under rall, at trenton. washington divvy up his forces, and he's the only guy who gets across the river to attack trenton. his 2400 men. he will outnumber the hessians. he has 2400, they have about 1500. washington brings artillery, massively outnumbering that hessians as well. in this case, he has more numbers. at the second battle at trenton, he's even with the british, both around six or 7000 men. then, at the battle of princeton, he vastly outnumber so british. around six, or 7000 people.
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the british only have around 1500. so, in each of these events, washington was able to set it up so that his men were in a numerically superior position. most of his men don't have as much experience, or not as good soldiers as the well disciplined, trained, british, so that does affect how these battles could have played out. washington always trying to be numerically superior. during this first battle, did the continental army suffered zero deaths at the battle? >> now, if you watch the movie, the crossing, it's a good movie, a tv movie, a lot of inaccuracies, but does show the crossing, and the battle. they say, did we lose anyone, and they, say no, we lost no
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people. is that possible in this battle that took place, that no one on the continental side died? okay, 70% of you say no, 30% say yes. and, this is true. no one in the continental army died in the battle. they suffered zero deaths, there was four or five men wounded, so you can see on the right side, that is lieutenant james monroe, who is got in the shoulder, he merely died, and the artery clamp was saved, but no one was actually killed. two men, we believe, was frozen to death, on march. so, if you counted those, it would say a couple people died in the campaign, on the way there. now, the hessians looters about 20 men out, 80 or wounded, and like i said, 900 were captured. so, huge disparity, huge victory for the american cause.
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now, what happened to the hessians? they were paraded to philadelphia, and then up in prison, or work camps, but they nearly all go back to europe after the war. we think of expeditionary forces, the united states sends to other places, and the majority of the men that you send overseas, will come back except those who were killed, and what about the hessians? are they eager to head home to germany, or do you think some state over here? most of you got this right. 90% say no, 10% say yes. no. most of them do return. around 60% of them go back, but, a large percentage of them end up staying here, in the united states. i mentioned there were germans in america, many, actually, liking it here. they will basically mailed into
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the population. a lot of people actually have hessians ancestors. they don't even know. there was an interview with rob low, in this tv show, were one of his ancestors was at the battle of trenton. quite interesting. we're getting close to the end here. to george washington ride up in front of the american troops, and come within 30 yards of the british soldiers, and survive unscathed? now, this is a story, i think, i read in the kids book. i thought it was awesome. this statue you can see here, standing in washington d.c., and washington circle. it is supposed to show this moment, but was this true? did washington ride up that close to british soldiers and survive? i would be interested to see which you guys think, if you think this is part of washington lower, a myth, or is this, in fact, truth?
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did he actually do this? okay, 60% of you say yes, 40% say no. this is, in fact, true. washington, who is renowned for his ability to expose himself in danger, on the battle of princeton, at the battlefield there, americans were being overrun, they were being driven back. a couple artillery pieces are holding off the 17th regiment of foot, and it looks for a moment, like this whole campaign will break down, when he rides in washington on a source, the rods right up into the fleeing men, and says, parade with us migrate fellows, there is but a handful of the enemy, and we will have them directly. he rides out, he starts leading the men forward, orders of fire, then rides, in between the british, and the american airlines. we know this is true, actually,
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alexandria colonel john fitzgerald, who was with washington at this time, told this story to washington's adopted grandson, george washington, and says that washington wrote up in between the lines, and gave another order to fire. at this moment, the british leveller muskets, both sides opened fire, fitzgerald puts a hat over his eyes so he doesn't see washington cut down in front of him. he lifts his hat, the smoke clears, and there is washington, unscathed, riding up and down the line. this is repeated throughout the army. there's a great letter from a pennsylvania soldier, writing to his wife a few days after saying, when i saw him, free of all the dangers of the field, his important life, hanging as it were, by one hair, with 1000 deaths flying around him, believe me, i thought not of myself. and the americans are able to level their bayonet's, charge forward, and drive the british
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away. this moment is so important in the washington's story, he almost becomes a hero overnight. it's solidified a bond between washington, and his men, there, at princeton, that he was willing to do anything for the cause, and they were willing to follow him anywhere. so, last question for you. was this the most significant military campaign in the war? now, this is, partly, an opinion piece. i would, really, hope that you all get a chance, and get a copy of my book, victory, or death. if you actually go to our publisher, you can get 20% off, if you order it for attending this symposium today. but, ultimately, this is the crux. how important were these battles? was this the turning point? the most significant campaign? most of you are my friends
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here. 60% say yes, 40% say no. i, of course, and biased. i do believe that this is the most significant event. like i said, this is the lowest ebb of the american cause. everything looks as if it could be over if washington is defeated here. if he loses one of these battles, if his army is crushed, if his men desert, there is no george washington, and i am a strong believer, there is no united states of america. he proved invaluable in the war of independence, in the creation of the nation, and this is a crucial moment for him, and the whole country. of course, we don't know what would happen if these did not happen, but i can say, in my book, if you look at historians through the 19th, through the 20th, and 21st century, constantly, they took both difficult this is. james big fearsome, in a civil
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war story, say that this is the most significant campaign in american history. that's a civil war historian. and, i think it's best summed up by a british historian, in the 19th century, who said it can be doubted whether so few men, and such a short span of time had more lasting, or longer affects, on the history. i truly believe that, i believe that is why if you get the chance, one of the things about the book as it focuses on the places, that you can see today. the parks, the battlefields, the city, standing in the footprints of heroes. if you have never been there, you are in luck, we are doing a tour in november, of these battlefields. check out emerging revolutionary war dot org, you can sign up, you can get a ticket, led by yours truly, and this is the way to see to some of those events.
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so, just a great place. it is fascinating history, to be sure. so, at that, i will go ahead, and stop sharing my screen. if we have any questions, i want to make sure everyone gets their lunch break, so we do have five minutes, go ahead, let's turn it over to liz. >> thank you so much mark for that great presentation. i do appreciate it. the polls, that was super fun to play with on the back end. we have some nice comments in the chat about the experiences touring the washington crossing a few years ago, one of the participants said that the ranger explained, while pointing to the bridge, that he likes to ask tourists why washington didn't use the bridge. he likes to see the reactions from those folks. perhaps, this will be a conversation for the panel, or for next year symposium, but,
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presentation about the weather, and the impact of the weather throughout the war. >> that is spot on. just a new york, washington's army, all move crushed in brooklyn, and it just so happens that a fog descends over the east river. they hide his men, and shuttling across the east river, and the weather is amazing. you can see many of the men who participated in this, including washington, attribute some victories to divine providence. it is hard, reading the actual events, and seeing that, and saying, and arguing, against that. i think it was stonewall jackson who said, in a different war, he who does not see the hand of god is truly blind. you will see something similar to that, with the revolution. how did this happen? it just so happens that it follows directly in place, and helps the american cause around the way.
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it is hard to argue against divine providence. >> another note, i think we believe that our spied john honey well, his houses around, in new jersey. i'm not sure if that's in your book or not. >> it is not, but, yes, i am familiar with it. that's great. >> so, we have a question, and feel free, again, to drop questions in the chat. that is also where a link to mark's book is, and the code to use, if you want to purchase it online, it is a signed copy. so, make sure you buy it online, with your 20% off. our question is, is it true that the american soldiers got into the hessians room supply, and were the ones who may have been drunk? >> that is fantastic, and yes. that is true. the americans do break into the room supply, if there are reported events from the time period that yes, some americans
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did get drunk. you can imagine, having not slip all night, crossing an ice choked delaware mover, marching nine miles of the blizzard, fighting a battle, that they were entitled to a celebration. but, at this moment, this is one washington makes the decision to march his army, and everyone back nine miles, across the delaware river, later that day. he didn't want his entire army to be drunk, and essentially, be sitting ducks for the british, and the other soldiers there, in the area. so, yes, it is interesting that it's almost on top of its head as to who is drinking on that christmas in 1776. >> well, i don't see any more questions in the chat, i know we had someone raise their hand, but if you type your question in our chat bar, certainly, we will pass that along.
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oh, a good trivia question. how many times washington across the delaware. >> yes. he crosses the delaware to go attack, he crosses the delaware back, and then spends a few days in pennsylvania, and then he's going to cross again, back over to set up. of course, he crosses the delaware. so, yes, he goes back and forth, many times. you can imagine that whether, in the middle of december, would have been quite amazing. if you go up to the area today, you will see nearby, our other ferry's in later campaigns, where they go from valley forge to attack the british, more than one year later. washington crosses many rivers, but it is that crossing, on christmas day, that becomes the most important because of the
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events that have followed in the battle of trenton. >> i think one of the questions for our panel, in the afternoon, that we will have to drop for robin and phil would be, you, and vanessa. can you do a fight club over the southern campaign, or princeton as the most important parts of the revolutionary war. i look forward to seeing the banter back and forth, depending on the answer to that question. >> i have a foot in both ends, and i'm working on a book right now, just about charleston south carolina, and the revolution. so, i don't discount the importance but, we will wait until the panel. >> for the afternoon fun. so, unless there is any other questions for our participants out there on zoom, then, if you can think of one, you can also certainly email me, and we can pass it along to mark as well, to get that answer. but, in the meantime, i think
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we will end here. so, thanks again for a great presentation. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies, and more. including nato. mitt go support c-span as a service, as well as these television providers. giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> american history tv, on c-span 3. exploring the people, and the events, the tear the american story, every weekend, saturday at 6 pm eastern, on the civil war. elizabeth, and william currents,
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of the university of virginia center for civil war history, on their project, black virginians and blue. about african american union soldiers, fighting for emancipation. saturday, 8 pm eastern, on lectures in history. university of california riverside professor, catherine, on the lives of women during the american revolution, and the early republic. and, sunday, 6 pm eastern, on american artifacts. the arrival of the reconstructed friendship, and the 18th century board of yorktown virginia, designed after the french vessel, back in the united states in 1780. exploring the american story, unspent three. during the revolutionary war, columnists took out arms to gain their independence from england. however, there was a portion of the population that oppose the
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quest for independence, and organized rebellion throughout the colonies. up next, travis shaw looks at the causes of these uprisings, and how the loyalists may have been misunderstood by history. mr. shaw is the education director for the virginia piedmont heritage area. the office of historic alexandria, in partnership with emerging revolutionary war, hosting this top, and provided the video. current director of education our first speaker, a good friend of mine, travis shaw. travis shaw is the current director for the virginia piedmont heritage area. he joins two decades of presentation and museum itch occasion. with publican educations provoked adjoining, try the spent time at historic st. mary's at the archeological conservation lab at mount vernon, and oakland's gardens. he holds a b.a. in history from state mary college, nma


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