Washington’s Winter Surprise: The Battle of Trenton in Depth – April 28, 2011

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Thursday, April 28 (8:00am-5:00pm)
Leaving from the Dolce Hotel, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Led by Bill Welsch and Bruce Venter
Registration Fee: $145.00 

Less than an hour from Valley Forge was the scene of George Washington’s stunning victory over the British army’s garrison of feared Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey. It was here that a ragged, sleet-soaked Continental army crossed the ice-packed Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 to attack unprepared German hirelings under Colonel Johann Rall. Washington’s complete victory at Trenton is considered by some historians to be a more significant turning point in the Revolutionary War than even Saratoga. Washington’s steadfast determination to lead his troops to victory stabilized sagging Patriot morale at a time when the American cause was at its nadir.

This full-day tour will cover the battle of Trenton in-depth. Our first stop will be the Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey. The Visitors Center houses the famous Swan Historical Foundation Collection of nearly 900 Revolutionary War era items, including muskets, side arms, swords, clothing, maps, etc. We have invited Mr. Harry Kels Swan, who frequently visits his collection, to be at the Visitors Center for our tour. Our next stop will be the Johnson Ferry House and the site where Washington’s troops actually crossed the river and marched up a road bed that is still visible today. We will also cross the river (by bridge, not boat) to see Pennsylvania’s display of Durham boats. Our tour will include a sit-down lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we will visit the Trenton Battle Monument and tour the Old Barracks in downtown Trenton. The Old Barracks, built by the British during the French and Indian War, where Rall housed some of his Hessians, has been fully restored and includes a gallery of Colonial and Revolutionary War artifacts and militaria. Then we’re off to Five Mile Run where British Major General Charles Lord Cornwallis launched his counterattack against Washington on January 2, 1777. Next we will visit the Assunpink Creek site that was important to both battles of Trenton. We’ll see the Douglas House where Washington met with his generals during the Trenton actions. We’ll finish the day at the site marking the start of the Continentals’ march to Princeton and complete the story of these two famous battles.

This tour was designed for the Company of Military Historians’ annual conference. It is our first tour of the 2011 season and open to all America’s History customers. You do not have to register for the CMH conference to attend the Trenton tour, but we encourage you to look at the CMH program because they will be offering many terrific lectures and activities from April 28-May 1. For information about the conference, go online to www.military-historians.org. Last year one Company member said our Mosby’s Confederacy tour was “the best part of the conference.”

Suggested reading for this tour:

Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer

Registration Fee: $145.00

What’s included: motor coach transportation, lunch, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of experienced tour guides and historians. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary. Tour goes out rain or shine.

Hotel: We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for CMH conference for you to reserve accommodations at a group rate of $99 per night. Please call the Dolce Hotel and Resort, 310 West DeKalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA 19406 directly at 610-337-1200 and ask to reserve a room under the Company of Military Historians group rate.

Our Tour Guide/Historian: William M. Welsch is a frequent speaker on and experienced tour leader of New Jersey Revolutionary War sites. He is a founding member and president of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond, VA. His article “Washington’s Indispensable, Yet Unknown Lieutenants” appeared last year in American Revolution magazine. Dr. Bruce M. Venter, CEO of America’s History, LLC (formerly Stars & Stripes Events) and a Company of Military Historians member will also accompany the tour.

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