https://www.breitbart.com/politics/...an-that-changed-the-course-of-the-revolution/ Victory or Death–A Desperate Plan that Changed the Course of the Revolution 1,154 Emanuel Leutze Patrick K. O'Donnell24 Dec 2018593 This Christmas marks the 242nd anniversary of a battle that changed the course of history. You think America has problems in 2018? Try living as a Patriot during the winter of 1776. Washington’s army had lost one battle after another. The economy had tanked. And the paper money the United States printed seemed worthless. Americans were abandoning the cause in droves. During the Fall of 1776, the British issued an amnesty proclamation that offered pardon and protection to rebels who signed an oath of loyalty to the king within sixty days. Thousands of Americans, including several members of Congress, clamored to sign the oath. One disgusted American Patriot recalled, “To the disgrace of the country and human nature, great numbers flocked to confess their political sins to the representative of Majesty, and to obtain pardon. It was observed, that these consisted of the very rich and the very poor, while the middling class held their constancy.” Making matters worse, the enlistments for the Continental Army expired in December and January 1, 1777. Washington knew he needed to make a bold attack or the United States might fail. I told the story of this desperate time in American history in my best-selling book Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution. It chronicles the efforts of the elite troops of Maryland. This unique book is the first Band of Brothers treatment of the American Revolution, detailing the most important elements of nearly every significant battle of The War of Independence, including the watershed victory at Trenton on Christmas night. On the eve of the battle, General George Washington sat in his tent on the banks of the Delaware River and methodically wrote the same three words over and over on several small pieces of paper. He had decided on a daring plan: crossing the ice-choked Delaware River and mounting a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison there. Knowing that the assault could not hope to succeed if word of the plan reached the enemy, he detailed a Virginia brigade to serve as sentries around the Patriot camp. The general himself selected the password for the night, and that was what he was writing on scraps of paper for distribution to the unit commanders. While the surgeon general of the Continental Army was visiting Washington, one of the slips happened to fall to the floor. “I was struck with the inscription on it,” the physician wrote. “It was ‘Victory or Death.’” Contrary to the myth perpetuated by many children’s books, the Hessians in Trenton were neither drunk nor idle. Their experienced commander, Colonel Johann Rall, the hero of White Plains Chatterton’s Hill and the breakthrough at Fort Washington, kept his men in constant readiness and on patrol. A series of raids by the local militia in the prior days had put them on edge, and the men slept dressed and armed. Rall realized the precarious nature of the Trenton outpost and frequently demanded reinforcements—to no avail. In exasperation, he complained, “Scheiszer bey Scheisz! [shit on shit] Let them come. . . . We will go at them with the bayonet.” British spies had warned of an impending attack on Trenton, but no one knew the exact day and time. The intelligence, combined with the raids, put Rall and his men in a perpetual state of alert and began to fray their nerves. Washington settled on a complicated plan to envelop Rall’s garrison. The main force, which included the elite troops from Maryland, would cross at McConkey’s Ferry. The unflappable John Glover and his Marblehead Mariners led the amphibious operation to cross the river at the ferry. Asked if the plan was doable, he confidently reassured Washington “not to be troubled about that as his boys could manage it.” He ordered two additional groups of American troops to cross the river below Trenton to cut off the enemy’s retreat. Unbeknownst to Washington, neither force would cross that night because, without the experienced guidance of Glover and the Marbleheaders, the icy conditions made the river impassable. When the main body reached the crossing point as the sun was setting on Christmas night, the water had begun to freeze near the shore, and even sections in the center of the river were covered in ice. Yet the men followed Washington. One participant recalled: Our General halted his Army and raising on his stirrups made us such an animating speech that we forgot the cold, the hunger and the toil under which we were ready to sink and each man seemed only to be anxious for the onset. The Snow & Slush ice covered the firm ice in the River, yet when our brave commander gave the word and turned his horse’s head across the stream, no one complained or held back, but all plunged in emulous who should next touch the Jersey shore after our beloved.