While the American Revolution seemed on the verge of defeat on December 25, 1776, George Washington had assessed the weaknesses and strengths of his situation, and while steadfastly focusing on ultimate victory, reacted to the complex situation and developments over the next ten days to turn the psychological, if not the strictly military, situation completely around.
On December 25, 1776 the American Revolution seemed all but defeated just six months after the Declaration of Independence had been adopted. General George Washington’s army had suffered a series of defeats in New York, retreated under British pressure across New Jersey, and then crossed the Delaware River to temporary sanctuary in Pennsylvania. This left the British army in a string of winter cantonments across the middle of New Jersey, the New Jersey state government in total disarray, and the Continental Congress fleeing Philadelphia, fearfully perceived to be the next British target. Loyalists in New Jersey felt empowered and Patriots felt abandoned. Washington needed not only a battlefield victory, but also to reestablish Patriot control in New Jersey.
The story of these ten crucial days is one that displays Washington’s military and interpersonal abilities along with his personal determination and bravery to keep the Revolution alive through restoring the psychological confidence of the Patriots, while reducing that of his British political and military opponents. Throughout these ten days, Washington’s efforts faced constantly changing situations, requiring modifications or completely new plans that fortunately often benefitted from elements of luck, such as the weather or British decisions, which he could not control.
Join the winter patriots who marched with Washington, fought, and died in frigid temperatures during those “times that tried men’s souls”. Through meticulous primary source research and masterful storytelling, author William L. Kidder corrects the record and presents what we now know about how Washington exploited his enemy’s hubris by leading his upstart army in daring maneuvers that humiliated His Majesty’s forces in just ten short days that changed the course of history.