By December 1776, the patriots' prospects for victory against British tyranny was looking bleak. The Continental Army had been defeated in every battle in New York, due to the lack of cavalry and trained soldiers. General Washington had untrained, teenage soldiers who were fresh off the farm, while the British had the world’s finest professional soldiers.
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We crossed the icy Delaware River in mid-December, making camp in the relative safety of the Pennsylvania shore. As a precaution, I had all the boats we would not need taken to the Pennsylvania side, to protect them from enemy capture. This was the first time we had had a rest from marching for quite a while. During this time, I visited the men every day. I wanted to prove that I cared for their welfare, and that I was personally involved. I did not want them to think I was just sitting in my tent, directing from afar. As I made my daily rounds among the men, I heard murmurs about how much they were looking forward to going home on January 1.
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James Hodges, Ph.D. is the author of