Can you imagine rowing through ice floes and then trudging through a blizzard in the middle of the night, with miles to go before your destination is reached — especially when that destination is a battle to decide the fate of your country? The paintings that show General Washington crossing the Delaware on that snowy Christmas night in 1776 have forever caught the imagination of the public — so much so that annual December reenactments by Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania attract thousands of visitors each year. But what happened once the troops landed in New Jersey? This year you can get a glimpse of that experience at the Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ.
On December 11, from 10am to 3pm, please join State Park historians, the Washington Crossing Park Association, the First Rhode Island Regiment (a group of African-American reenactors who tell the stories of the historically-underrepresented men and women who fought in the Revolutionary War), and other NJ-based reenactor groups who will give the public an opportunity to experience both the Crossing and the March to Trenton through the eyes of the men and women who lived it.
The title of this event is “Washington’s Landing in New Jersey,” which occurs on the same day as the Pennsylvania Park’s rehearsal crossing of the Delaware. The encampment will take place at the New Jersey Park’s “Overlook,” next to the historic Johnson Ferry House, with a wonderful view of the river below. Reenactors will patrol the lower park, encouraging visitors to undertake a brief “march” over the Park’s pedestrian bridge and up to the Overlook, where cozy fires, hot cider, and skilled reenactors will regale them with tales of the rich history that took place in Mercer County. Special efforts will be made to engage the youngest visitors in the hope of sparking their interest in New Jersey history.
The event will feature programming throughout the day, including a presentation by noted historian Larry Kidder, entitled “The Crossing Was Just the Beginning: The little-known story of local New Jersey militiamen who guided Washington’s army to Trenton.”
This program is made possible in part by the Mercer County Division of Culture & Heritage through funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission. Partners are the Washington Crossing State Park (a division of the NJ DEP); the Washington Crossing Park Association, the First Rhode Island Regiment, the Swan Historical Foundation, and NJM Insurance.
Please visit www.wcpa-nj.com/landing for more information.
Feature photo by Mike Chipowsky
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