WASHINGTON CROSSING, N.J. — Safety concerns kept George Washington from completing his annual Christmas Day ride across the Delaware River.
The 60th annual re-enactment of Washington's daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the river — the trek that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War — was staged Tuesday on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border.
Officials say the boat entered the channel and riverbank areas, but could not complete the full trip due to high water conditions in the river. Similar problems have occurred in recent years, including two occasions where bad weather and high water levels forced re-enactors to abandon the water crossing and walk across a bridge instead.
Hundreds gather each year for the free event, where they hear Washington's stand-in deliver stirring words to the troops and watch three boats make the crossing from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
During the crossing 234 years ago, boats ferried 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river, and the troops marched 8 miles downriver before battling Hessian mercenaries in the streets of Trenton. Thirty Hessians were killed and two Continental soldiers froze to death on the march, but none died in battle.
The victory electrified the struggling nation and led to further military successes in Trenton and Princeton.