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Christmas, 1776

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
December 21, 2022 3:02 am

Christmas, 1776

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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December 21, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, it is called the first “American” Christmas because the Declaration of Independence was created the previous summer, essentially “divorcing” America from England and declaring our country an independent nation. Here’s Brian Benjamin sharing the story from his book, Christmas, 1776.

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Like, it's like you're competing against all these men and there are a lot of men. Call on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. My name is Brian Benjamin. I recently wrote a children's book entitled Christmas 1776 that I'll be reading for you today. It covers the Revolutionary War and follows George Washington and the Continental Army in the late months of 1776 as they were fighting and mostly losing to the American people. Fighting and mostly losing to the British for American independence. It, of course, culminates in the famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776.

This book, I was actually reading a biography of George Washington. And I got to the part where the Continental Army is in Pennsylvania. Christmas is approaching and the war is looking really bleak.

And you know, they plan the crossing of the Delaware River. The two things that struck me were one, I didn't realize how bleak the picture was for the Americans at this point during the war. We were really getting kicked around by the British and heading into that winter of 1776. The cause of American independence did not look well. And the other thing that struck me was how history really turned on a dime with this attack. But this really saved America's cause. And so I tried to put that in the book, you know, it is a children's book, but tried to get across both the America was an underdog and was it was not looking good.

And also that contingency of things could have gone different in their cases where America doesn't come through this. But with the brave actions of these men led by George Washington, they they saved American independence starting on Christmas night. So without further ado, Christmas 1776. The year was 1776. America faced a crisis to fix.

British taxation without representation angered Americans of every station. They sought the freedom to make their own laws, the right to liberty, their sacred cause. American patriots took up their arms. They left their homes, their shops, their farms. These farm boys had grit, but little training.

The experience they lacked, they would soon be gaining. General George Washington would lead them to fight Britain's oppressive imperial might. George Washington was an American born and bred, taller than most men by a head. With six brothers, three sisters, he grew up strong. The start of his adventures did not take long. He fought in the French and Indian War. And by the end, he'd entered American lore. When the Revolutionary War broke out, America needed a leader no one could doubt. They turned to their only living legend.

Barely another name was mentioned. George Washington would lead them in this war to take on all the British had in store. They'd faced British regulars skillfully taught, perfectly disciplined before they fought.

The Brits had a few other friends they'd brought, some German soldiers whose support they'd bought. And all these troops would cross the sea aboard the world's best navy. General Washington and his new army prepared to defend New York City. This coveted crown jewel of the colonies stood especially vulnerable to attack by sea. The Americans worked to fortify their shore before the Brits arrived to kick off the war. The British came with 100 ships or more, and three times the men, or maybe four.

The Americans tried to stand their ground, but the British showed up and beat them sound. From Long Island, they were displaced. From Manhattan, they were quickly chased.

From the banks of the Hudson, they were erased. And into New Jersey, they ran disgraced. To the Delaware River, they anxiously fled. They crossed to safety, but were filled with dread. The war was less than two years old, and the Americans were stranded in the cold. Their greatest city, conquered, lost.

Their treasury wiped out by the cost. Many Americans began to doubt, and feared they faced a certain route. The Brits pursued all the way to the river, then looked across and saw their enemies shiver. With winter coming, December here, the Redcoats felt they'd had a good year. They retreated to Concord, NYC, to warm beds and tory hospitality.

They left behind their German dogs of war, to guard the Delaware's Jersey shore. With American hopes plainly fading, and British troops relaxing, celebrating, Washington knew he must take bold action for the revolution to regain some traction. He gathered his men to plan and plot how to grab the victory they so desperately sought. They decided on a holy night, to begin their brave and noble fight. On Christmas night, they would embark, and cross the river in the dark. Then marched 10 miles to surprise their foes, and arrived to attack just as the sun rose. Awaiting their final orders, the men held their breath. George Washington stated gravely, victory or death.

With the plan all set, now just to wait, they must keep the plan a secret and their heads on straight. They braved a tense Christmas Eve and mourn, then approached the ships on which they'd be born. In a light rain, General Washington crossed first.

The river was choppy, with ice interspersed. When the sun fell on that Christmas day, the weather turned and their plan gave way. In an army with men of every station, twas the fishermen that rose to this occasion. These expert sailors guided boat after boat, across nature's deadly makeshift moat. The rain had shifted to snow and hail, but these brave men refused to fail.

They moved 2,400 men across, and not a single soul was lost. But the vicious weather had another cost. Three hours against the plan were lost. Finally, by 4am, their march began, and they braved the elements to a man. They marched 10 miles in hail and snow, to meet their skilled and rested foe.

They arrived well after the morning sun, not sure if by their lateness they'd been undone. These brave men charged from the woods at a run, and the German mercenaries were simply stunned. How could an army arrive ready to fight after the terrible weather of the previous night?

General Washington led from the front on horseback and rebuffed every German counterattack. American cannons fired with precision, guided by Alexander Hamilton. They raced through the town, took prisoners galore. They shocked the mercenaries, pressing for more. The Germans lost almost 1,000 men. The Americans lost less than 10.

After battling the weather all through the night, it took less than an hour to finish the fight. The next 10 days were a complete whirlwind. They crossed the river, back and again, first to deposit their prisoners in booty, then returning to continue their tour of duty. They stymied a British assault at Trenton, then launched a surprise attack at Princeton. At Princeton, the famed British regulars were beat, and the world was astounded by this colonial feat. In the space of 10 days, they'd secured two victories.

In the space of 10 days, they'd changed the course of history. On Christmas Eve, the American cause had been dead, but now Britain was back on its heels instead. The morale of the troops and colonists soared. They again believed in what they were marching toward, towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to secure their rights and to crush British haughtiness. America's birth was never a certainty, but it was filled with men that would fight for it fervently.

These brave men volunteered to fight and die, not knowing what their sacrifices might buy. But we know the eventual success of their plan, and the day America's future began, the day their deeds left the world transfixed, Christmas 1776. And what a story he tells, and what a great way to share it with a child or a grandchild.

And we try to tell every kind of story, but also in every kind of way. And my goodness, to hear the battle of Christmas 1776 reduced to rhyming poem, well, it's just spectacular. The story of Christmas 1776 as told in rhyming verse by Brian Benjamin here on Our American Stories. This clip is brought to you by Coca-Cola. The holidays always find a way.

It's about enjoying the real magic of the season by surrounding yourself with good friends and family, delicious food, and of course, an ice cold Coke. This is our very first episode as Locatora radio for the Michael Dora network. We're beyond thrilled.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-21 17:48:35 / 2022-12-21 17:53:23 / 5

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