The Crossing

The Crossing (1999) This excellent A&E documentary highlights the rock-and-hard-place nature of General George Washington’s ‘Hail Mary’ attack on the Hessians at Trenton. After a series of defeats and continuous desertions, the enlistments of most of Washington’s remaining troops expired at the close of 1776. Usually cautious Washington decided to gamble all on a Christmas crossing across an ice-choked Delaware River. His officers were skeptical. General Glover and his Marbleheaders were critical in handling the make-shift fleet of scows. Tom Paine’s The Crisis, in this account, was read as inspiration to Washington’s shivering troops. Curiously, David McCullough’s 1776, while it views the battles of Trenton and Princeton as critical turning points, makes little mention of the Marbleheaders and totally omits Tom Paine’s role.

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