Times that Try Our Souls - Americans Lose to Redcoats

About a week after the American Colonies adopt a Declaration of Independence, King George III sends a huge fleet of war ships to New York Harbor.  Dark days follow for the Americans as their commander, George Washington, loses battle after battle.

His men are cold, sick, ill-fed and poorly clothed.  The Colonies may have declared their freedom from Great Britain, but their Commander-in-Chief and his troops are unimpressively waging the war.

Now it is the winter of 1776, and Washington is pinned-down.  Beyond his inability to keep his retreating (and largely rag-tag) soldiers safe in their current position, he has to figure-out how to get 2,000 men and all their supplies across the Delaware River.

How will that happen when he has no boats?  If he somehow gets boats, how will he make the crossing without alerting the Brits?

Beyond all those issues, Washington is planning something else ... something new.  Until this point in the war, he and his men have been defenders.  Now they  will be attackers.

The General is planning to surprise the enemy, encamped at Trenton (New Jersey), with an attack on Christmas Day.  If he succeeds, the Americans will get a much-needed morale boost.  If he fails ... ?

This video depicts what may have happened as Washington plans and implements his battle strategy leading up-to, and including, the Battle of Trenton where Americans attack the Hessians (a group of German mercenaries who were British allies).  Entitled “The Crossing,” the film stars Jeff Daniels as General Washington.

Washington's successful strategy gives the colonists a victory over the unsuspecting garrison at Trenton. That win marks a turning-point in America's War of Independence.

Editor's Note:  This film recreates battle preparations and troops engaging in a key Revolutionary-War battle.  The language used may not be suitable for all ages. Proceed with caution.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 08, 2019

Media Credits

The Crossing,” a made-for-television film released in 2000, is an A&E Network and Columbia Tri-Star Television, Inc. (in association with Chris/Rose Productions) program with copyrights owned and retained by the respective makers.  It is embedded here via a YouTube link as fair use, for educational purposes, and to acquaint new viewers with the program.


See, also, Episode 3 of the PBS series, Liberty:  "The Times that Try Men's Souls" 1776-1777.


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"Times that Try Our Souls - Americans Lose to Redcoats" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 08, 2019.
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