An annual re-enactment of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas morning is taking place in this COVID-19 impacted year, but onlookers will have to watch it via video online.
Washington Crossing Historic Park said the re-enactment filmed earlier in the month provided a “close-up view" of the event it called “a beloved community tradition that will continue for years to come." Crowd-size restrictions barred holding the re-enactment in the “traditional, in-person manner," organizers said.
Normally, thousands gather every Christmas morning on the banks of the river in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Titusville, New Jersey, to watch historical re-enactors set out in boats to retrace the daring 1776 voyage of Washington and his troops.
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Last year, the crossing was completed for the first time in three years with what the Friends of Washington Crossing Park said was probably a record crowd of 4,500 to 5,000 people looking on. The crossing had been scuttled during the previous two years, first by high winds and then by high water levels.
Other activities at the annual event include Washington’s address to his troops, historical speeches and processions, and staff in period clothing providing public interpretation.
In the original crossing, boats ferried 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river. Washington’s 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.