Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Washington Crossing the Delaware
Author: Carlton, Henry Fisk
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Washington Crossing the Delaware" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



DRAMATIC HOURS IN REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY


Washington
Crossing the Delaware

BY

HENRY FISK CARLTON


_Edited by_ CLAIRE T. ZYVE, Ph.D.
Fox Meadow School, Scarsdale, New York


BUREAU OF PUBLICATIONS
TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
NEW YORK CITY



_HOW TO BE A GOOD RADIO ACTOR_

The play in this book has actually been produced on the radio. Possibly
you have listened to this one when you tuned in at home. The persons
whose voices you heard as you listened, looked just as they did when
they left their homes to go to the studio, although they were taking
the parts of men and women who lived long ago and who wore costumes
very different from the ones we wear today.

The persons whose voices you heard stood close together around the
microphone, each one reading from a copy of the play in his hand. Since
they could not be seen, they did not act parts as in other plays, but
tried to make their voices show how they felt.

When you give these plays you will not need costumes and you will not
need scenery, although you can easily arrange a broadcasting studio if
you wish. You will not need to memorize your parts; in fact, it will not
be like a real radio broadcast if you do so, and, furthermore, you will
not want to, since you will each have a copy of the book in your hands.
All you will need to do is to remember that you are taking the part of a
radio actor, that you are to read your speeches very distinctly, and
that by your voice you will make your audience understand how you feel.
In this way you will have the fun of living through some of the great
moments of history.


_HOW TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS IN THE PLAY_

There are some directions in this play which may be new to you, but
these are necessary, for you are now in a radio broadcasting studio,
talking in front of a microphone. The word (_in_) means that the
character is standing close to the microphone, while (_off_) indicates
that he is farther away, so that his voice sounds faint. When the
directions (_off, coming in_) are given, the person speaking is away
from the microphone at first but gradually comes closer. The words
(_mob_) or (_crowd noise_) you will understand mean the sound of many
people talking in the distance.

Both the English and the dialect used help make the characters live, so
the speeches have been written in the way in which these men and women
would talk. This means that sometimes the character may use what seems
to you unusual English. The punctuation helps, too, to make the speeches
sound like real conversation; for example, you will find that a dash is
often used to show that a character is talking very excitedly.



Washington Crossing the Delaware


_CAST_

GENERAL WASHINGTON
COLONEL REED
JOHN HONEYMAN
COLONEL RALL
A CORPORAL
A SOLDIER
GENERAL KNOX
COLONEL GLOVER
MOB
VOICE
ORDERLY


ANNOUNCER

We take pleasure in presenting this story of Washington crossing the
Delaware. The picture of that famous event is familiar to everyone, but
the story of what led up to it, and of its importance in American
history is not so well known.

The fall and early winter of the year 1776 saw the fortunes of
Washington's army sink very low indeed. Beginning with the defeat on
Long Island in late August, Washington and his army had met reverse
after reverse. They had been forced to retire in succession from
Manhattan to Fort Washington, then across the river to Fort Lee, then
from Fort Lee to Hackensack. This succession of defeats and the enforced
retirements had disorganized and depleted the army. But even worse than
that, it had well-nigh ruined the morale of the civilian population,
whose hearty support was absolutely necessary if the war was to be
carried on. But now, discouraged and disheartened, the mass of the
population gave Washington no help, no encouragement, no cooperation.

This is the situation on the morning of November 22, 1776, as we begin
our story. Washington is in his headquarters at Hackensack, New Jersey,
when Colonel Joseph Reed, his aide, enters--

REED

Good morning, General Washington!

WASHINGTON

Good morning, Colonel, what news?

REED

Not much, I'm afraid, sir.

WASHINGTON

Have we no information of the British movements yet?

REED

None!

WASHINGTON

What's the matter with our intelligence service?

REED

It's completely disrupted, sir; and we can get no help from the civilian
population.

WASHINGTON

I know--they've lost all faith in us, Colonel. Nothing but a victory can
bring us again the loyalty and help of our own people! It's
discouraging, Colonel, to think that now when we need it more than ever
before, we can get no help!

REED

Sir, if we could only turn and strike a quick blow, we might recapture
Fort Lee.

WASHINGTON

Yes--if I only knew what force of the enemy is holding the Fort, and
when Lord Howe expects to bring the rest of his army across the Hudson.

REED

Well, we don't know that!

WASHINGTON

And without an intelligence service we can't find out! Of course if
General Lee would join me--there wasn't any word from Lee this morning,
was there?

REED

None, sir.

WASHINGTON

Oh, why doesn't he answer? Why doesn't he come? It's been more than a
week now since I ordered him to join me at once! Have you heard any
rumor about him? Has he left Peekskill yet? Has he crossed the Hudson?

REED

I haven't heard a word. He hasn't even acknowledged the last half dozen
orders I've forwarded to him.

WASHINGTON

That's the most discouraging thing of all! If the second in command
won't obey orders, is it any wonder that the rest of the army is out of
hand? Oh, well! We can't hope to do anything without Lee's help, so
there's nothing for us to do but retreat--

REED

Again?

WASHINGTON

Yes, Colonel, our small force is uselessly exposed here. We can't risk
capture--that would be the end of everything!

REED

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

If Lord Howe crosses the Hudson in force, we'd be trapped between the
Hackensack and the Passaic Rivers.

REED

I'm afraid so, sir.

WASHINGTON

So--we've got to begin our retreat at once.

REED

The troops are ready to move, sir. It shouldn't take us long to get out
of danger with our small force.

WASHINGTON

Yes, yes, that's one advantage of a small army, isn't it, Colonel? At
least we can retreat rapidly! I suppose the force we have is even
smaller today than it was yesterday?

REED

I'm afraid so, sir. The morning report showed less than five thousand
present and fit for duty!

WASHINGTON

If we only had Lee's seven thousand! But we haven't. You may order the
retreat at once, Colonel.

REED

Yes sir, over what route?

WASHINGTON

We'll move across the Acquackonack bridge, and thence to Newark.

REED

Yes, sir. I'll write the orders, sir. (_rattle of paper_)

WASHINGTON

Colonel John Glover with his Marblehead regiment will cover the retreat
as usual.

REED

Yes, sir. And the advance?

WASHINGTON

Knox and his artillery will lead. We mustn't lose our guns--the few we
have left.

REED

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON (_half to himself_)

Retreat--retreat--retreat! Is there nothing else in store for us?

REED

Will you sign these, sir?

WASHINGTON

Yes--the quill.

REED

Here you are, sir.

WASHINGTON

Thank you. (_rattle of paper_) You may send the orders at once, Colonel.

REED

Yes, General. (_calling_) Orderly!

VOICE

Yes, sir.

REED

Deliver these orders at once!

VOICE

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

I suppose it's useless to send another order to Lee.

REED

We can send one--I don't think it will have any effect.

WASHINGTON

He ought to be informed of where we're going--yes, write him again, tell
him we're retreating to Newark--

REED

Very well, sir--and after Newark?

WASHINGTON

Retreat again I suppose. New Brunswick--Trenton--across the Delaware
into Pennsylvania.

REED

Yes sir, if we have any army left by then.

WASHINGTON

We have some loyal souls who will stand with us to the end. We may have
to retreat to the back country of Pennsylvania; but winter is coming,
Lord Howe is not an energetic foe, and he will hardly press us after the
snow falls. Then if we can fill up our depleted ranks we'll be ready for
him in the spring.

REED

Oh, General, if we could only make one stand against the enemy! Make one
bold stroke to put new heart into our discouraged countrymen!

WASHINGTON

I know--I know, Colonel! If Lee would only obey my orders!

REED

Very little hope of that!

WASHINGTON

I know--and I can't understand his motives!

REED

Why sir, they're perfectly plain to me--and to the rest of the army.

WASHINGTON

Indeed?

REED

Certainly--he wants to discredit you--to bring about your failure--so
that he can succeed to your command!

WASHINGTON

So--? (_pause_) Well, if Lee can bring victory where I have failed, I'll
be only too glad to step down in his favor.

REED

Sir, I beg of you, you mustn't even entertain such a thought, why
General Lee could no more--(_knock_)

WASHINGTON

Will you see who it is, Colonel.

REED

Yes, sir--(_mumble at a distance, then out loud_) General, there's a man
here who wants to see you.

WASHINGTON

Who is it?

REED

He refuses to give his name, and says his business is private.

WASHINGTON

Tell him to come in.

REED

Yes, sir--(_off_) Come on in, the General will see you.

HONEYMAN

Thankee--thankee, sir. I'm obleeged to ye, sir. (_in_) Be ye General
Washington?

WASHINGTON

I am, and what can I do for you?

HONEYMAN

Wal'--General--if ye don't mind--er--er--

WASHINGTON

Yes?

HONEYMAN

I'd like to see ye alone--sir--it's important!

WASHINGTON

Alone? Oh, very well, Colonel--

REED

I'll go, sir.

WASHINGTON

Write that letter to Lee.

REED (_going_)

Yes, sir. (_door closes_)

WASHINGTON

Now, what is it?

HONEYMAN

Wal', here I be, General--

WASHINGTON

Yes?

HONEYMAN

An' I've had tarnation's own time gittin' here--I cal'ate half yer army
stopped me an' wanted to know my name an' my business--an' they wasn't
goin' to let me in when I wouldn't tell 'em. But it takes more'n that to
stop John Honeyman when he gits sot on doin' something.

WASHINGTON

Your name is John Honeyman?

HONEYMAN

That's me, sir, an' I promised Marthy--that's my wife, sir--that I'd
come to see ye--and I come, an' here I be!

WASHINGTON

And what can I do for you, Mr. Honeyman?

HONEYMAN

Nary a thing, General Washington.

WASHINGTON

Then what--?

HONEYMAN

I come to make ye an offer.

WASHINGTON

Well?

HONEYMAN

I'm in a way to find out a lot o' things that's goin' on in the British
Army.

WASHINGTON

So?

HONEYMAN

Aye, ye see, I'm a butcher.

WASHINGTON

Well?

HONEYMAN

An' I've got a contract to supply the redcoats with beef. Now they think
I'm a good Tory! But General, I ain't!

WASHINGTON

I'm glad to hear that!

HONEYMAN

An' I figgered that mebbe I could find out things an' tell ye about
'em--if we could fix things up.

WASHINGTON

How much do you want for your information?

HONEYMAN

No! No! General! I ain't tryin' to sell ye nothin'!

WASHINGTON

I beg your pardon, Mr. Honeyman. But I have so many insincere offers.

HONEYMAN

I know--I know! I hear folks talk. They think I'm a Tory! Wal', sir, I
want they should keep on a-thinkin' it! I cal'ate if I'm a-goin' to be
any use to ye, nobody must know I ain't a rip-roarin' all-fired Tory.

WASHINGTON

Certainly!

HONEYMAN

An' that's the why I wouldn't tell none o' yer men what my name er my
business was.

WASHINGTON

Mr. Honeyman, you've shown extraordinary good sense! You're exactly the
man I've been looking for! I'm in desperate need of reliable
information. And I believe you're the man to get it for me.

HONEYMAN

I cal'ate I be.

WASHINGTON

Have you any information now?

HONEYMAN

A mite.

WASHINGTON

Well?

HONEYMAN

Lord Cornwallis is bringin' 15,000 men across the Hudson tonight, to git
ye.

WASHINGTON

We'll be gone.

HONEYMAN

That's fu'st-rate! Now I'll be goin'--an' I'll keep ye informed when I
know anything ye ought to know.

WASHINGTON

Just a moment, Honeyman. How are you going to get your information to
me?

HONEYMAN

Wal', I figger I might come to see ye--

WASHINGTON

No, you'd be sure to excite suspicion.

HONEYMAN

I'd be as keerful as could be.

WASHINGTON

No--I mustn't even let my own men know you're working for me.

HONEYMAN

Wal'--ye might have me captured now an' agin--tell yer men I'm a
notorious Tory--an' have 'em be on the lookout fer me particular! Then
when I've got something fer ye, I'll put myself in the way o' gittin'
captured.

WASHINGTON

Good! That's an excellent idea. I'll have to give you a pretty bad name
with my troops.

HONEYMAN

Pshaw--I don't mind that, sir.

WASHINGTON

And I don't know how I can reward you.

HONEYMAN

I don't need no reward to help ye, General Washington, I got a duty to
do that!--There's only jest one thing, sir--

WASHINGTON

Yes?

HONEYMAN

I'd sorta--er--kinda like my wife an' children protected from
the--wal'--the results o' my bein' an active an' notorious Tory.

WASHINGTON

Of course.

HONEYMAN

Ye see, I don't mind what folks think o' me, but Marthy--that's my wife,
sir--she an' the young un's might git--wal'--treated pretty shabby.

WASHINGTON

I understand. I'll give you an order for them to use in case of
necessity.

HONEYMAN

Would ye--er--sign it yerself, General?

WASHINGTON

Certainly! Here--I'll write it now. (_rattle of paper_) Let's
see--(_slowly_) "To the Good People of New Jersey and all others it may
concern: It is ordered that the wife and children of John Honeyman of--"
Where's your home?

HONEYMAN

Grigstown, sir.

WASHINGTON

"--of Grigstown, the notorious Tory now within the British lines and
probably acting the part of a British spy, should be protected from all
harm and annoyances. This is no protection to Honeyman himself." Is that
satisfactory?

HONEYMAN

I cal'ate that covers it, sir.

WASHINGTON

Very well, I'll sign it--(_signing_) There you are, sir.

HONEYMAN

I'm much obleeged to ye, sir.

WASHINGTON

No, Honeyman, I'm the one who is your debtor. Good day, sir.

HONEYMAN

Good day, General Washington. Next time ye see me I'll be yer prisoner.


ANNOUNCER

And John Honeyman left Washington's camp to set about making his
position secure with the British. He became one of the regular meat
contractors for Cornwallis's army, which pursued Washington across the
state of New Jersey during the next month.

Washington did not hurry his retreat, but he always got away. Finally
about the first of December, he came to Trenton, where he halted for a
week and sent men up and down the river to collect all the boats on the
Delaware. He knew that he would be forced to retreat into Pennsylvania;
and he proposed to leave no means for the enemy to follow him. On
December 8, 1776, the British advance, which consisted of a brigade of
Hessians under Colonel Rall, entered Trenton; but as usual, Washington
was half a day ahead of his pursuers, and as the Hessians entered the
village, the rear guard of the Americans was just entering the last of
the boats, and safely pulled away to the Pennsylvania shore! Lord Howe,
who had joined Cornwallis, sent out men to look for boats, but none
could be found. The weather turned cold. Lord Howe was uncomfortable; so
he decided to put his troops into winter quarters and let the pursuit
go. He had done enough for one season!

He and Cornwallis arranged to scatter the troops about New Jersey to
hold that territory, while they went back to New York to enjoy the
winter.

Trenton was left in charge of Colonel Rall and his brigade of Hessians.
On December 22, John Honeyman drove a small herd of cattle into Trenton,
left them standing in front of headquarters, as he went up and knocked
on the door. (_knocks_)

RALL (_off_)

Come in! Come in!

HONEYMAN

Mornin', Colonel Rall!

RALL

Oh, it's you, Honeyman!

HONEYMAN

Aye, it's me--an' I got some cattle out front here fer yer
Quartermaster.

RALL

Well, that's good news--my men will be glad to see that beef! Now we can
give 'em a Christmas dinner that'll _be_ a Christmas dinner!

HONEYMAN

All ye need now, Colonel, is a mite o' wine, eh?

RALL

Never fear, we've got the wine!

HONEYMAN

Wal', ye kin have a fu'st-rate Christmas then.

RALL

Yes sir! With roast beef and two hogsheads of fine wine--we should do
very well.

HONEYMAN

Two? Pshaw, is that all?

RALL

Why--what's the matter with that?

HONEYMAN

Two hogsheads won't go so far with a whole brigade.

RALL

Oh, I haven't got a whole brigade.

HONEYMAN

Ye ain't?

RALL

No, just a thousand men, that's all! Why sir, they can all get roarin'
drunk on the ration I'll issue 'em.

HONEYMAN

An' like as not they will, eh, Colonel?

RALL (_chuckling_)

Well, Honeyman, what do you expect o' soldiers? Christmas you know--and
out here in this God-forsaken place. Let 'em get drunk, I say. There's
nothing else to do.

HONEYMAN

Wal', Colonel, I cal'ate 'tain't often ye find a better officer than ye
be! I'd like to serve under ye!

RALL

Well, if you want--

HONEYMAN

Yes, sir. I'd do it if I wasn't helpin' along things in my way by
roundin' up food fer the king's men. Wal', mebbe ye better sign fer
these critters out in front an' I'll be gittin' along. I got to hike
over to the next post. Er--by the way--how fer is it to the next
detachment o' troops?

RALL

Oh, about six miles south.

HONEYMAN

Six miles, huh? How fer to the next one north?

RALL

Nobody north of us.

HONEYMAN

Eh, nobody north?

RALL

No, I'm command of the flank. This is the last post.

HONEYMAN

I cal'ate that makes a lot o' hard work fer ye, Colonel?

RALL

Hard work?

HONEYMAN

Sure, don't ye have to patrol up an' down the river, an' sich like
things?

RALL (_laughing_)

What for?

HONEYMAN

Wal', after all, there's _some_ o' the enemy left, ain't there?

RALL (_laughing_)

A half-a-dozen starved ragamuffins. What could they do to my trained
Hessians?

HONEYMAN (_joining in the laugh_)

Not much, I cal'ate! Ye ain't in much danger, an' that's a fact!

RALL

If we had some boats we'd soon make short work of them. But confound the
rascals, they made away with all the boats.

HONEYMAN

Ye ain't got no boats, eh?

RALL

Not a one!

HONEYMAN

Ye ain't built none, eh?

RALL

Why should we?

HONEYMAN

Wal'--if ye want to git across the river--

RALL

Oh, we'll get across as soon as the river freezes over. We'll get the
last o' the rebels then.

HONEYMAN

Wal', Colonel, good luck to ye. But I hope ye won't be in too big a
hurry to capture all the rebels!

RALL

Eh, what's that?

HONEYMAN

Er--I'll be out of a job; and so'll ye be, Colonel!

RALL

Yes, that's right too. Well, let's have a look at your cattle and I'll
sign for 'em.

HONEYMAN

Come on--you fu'st, sir.

RALL

Thanks--hm--how many did you say there were?

HONEYMAN

There's twenty-two critters there--er, there was when I drove 'em up.

RALL

Hm--they look a little scrawny.

HONEYMAN

Best I could git, Colonel!

RALL (_counting_)

Two--four--five--seven--ten (_etc._) Hm--twenty-one's all I make,
Honeyman.

HONEYMAN

Twenty-one? Pshaw now--did one o' them critters go trapsin' off. (_he
counts_) Yes sir, that's just what's happened. Wall--sign fer the
twenty-one, an' I'll go out lookin' fer that other critter.

RALL

Here you are--let me have that bill--(_rattle of paper_) Twenty-one in
good condition, signed--Rall. There you are. Hope you find the other
one.

HONEYMAN

Thankee--where's that road off to the left go?

RALL

That--oh, that's the river road.

HONEYMAN

I cal'ate the critter musta gone that way.

RALL

Better keep a sharp lookout if you go down that way.

HONEYMAN

Eh? What fer?

RALL

Some o' those ragamuffin rebels might be on this side of the river.

HONEYMAN

Pshaw now--ye don't say! They come across the river, do they?

RALL

Yes, once in a while. But they don't dare bother us. But they might pick
up a civilian.

HONEYMAN

Oh, I cal'ate I kin take keer o' myself. I got my whip and this halter.

RALL (_laughing_)

That ought to be enough to scare 'em away from you!

HONEYMAN (_going_)

They'll figger I'm the hangman come out to git 'em--fetchin' my halter
along! (_he and_ RALL _laugh_)


ANNOUNCER

So Honeyman started down the river road, cracking his whip and swinging
his halter. A couple of miles down the road, four Continental soldiers
were in hiding. They had been sent out with instructions to pick up a
prisoner, if possible, and bring him into Washington's headquarters for
the purpose of securing information. As Honeyman drew near their place
of hiding in the brush alongside the river road, the men heard the
snapping of his whip. (_crack of whip_)

CORPORAL (_low_)

What's that?

SOLDIER

Don't know, sounds funny. See anything, Corporal?

CORPORAL

There, I see him! Huh, it's just a farmer crackin' his driving whip.

SOLDIER

Yah, I see him. What's he got in his other hand?

CORPORAL

Looks like a piece o' rope.

SOLDIER

A halter! Look, Corporal!

CORPORAL

Yep. A halter. Well, no use stoppin' him. Lie low. We want to get one o'
them Hessians. By George, though, I'd like to have that whip.

SOLDIER

What for?

CORPORAL

To use on the Hessians we're goin' to git!

SOLDIER

You bet. Them mercenaries ought to be whipped out o' the country!
Shootin's too good for 'em--we'd ought to--

CORPORAL

Sh! He's gettin' closer.

SOLDIER

Say! I know that fellow.

CORPORAL

Yah? What about it? Keep quiet, I said!

SOLDIER

No! Listen, Corporal, we got to capture him.

CORPORAL

Why?

SOLDIER

The General issued orders about him.

CORPORAL

Who is he?

SOLDIER

Honeyman!

CORPORAL

Honeyman the Tory?

SOLDIER

That's who it is. Let's grab him.

CORPORAL

Men! (_several voices respond_) We're going to take this fellow. All
right now--lie low--and when I give the signal, jump!

HONEYMAN (_off, coming in_)

So-o-o, boss--where's that dang critter gone to? I cal'ate mebbe--

CORPORAL

Halt! Get him boys!

HONEYMAN

Say! What's the matter--what ye doin'!

ALL

Come on! Grab him! Get hold of him there! Down with him! (_etc._)

HONEYMAN (_at same time_)

Hey, you scoundrels! Git off me! Leave me be! I'm a peaceable man, ye
ain't got no right to do this to me--git off me--git off--I say--hey,
leave go my halter!

SOLDIERS

Well, ain't this nice, boys. He's brought along a rope for us to tie him
up with, now ain't that thoughtful--here--leave go the rope.

HONEYMAN

Let me up--don't ye tie me up! I'm jest a farmer--out huntin' a stray
cow!

CORPORAL

Stray cow, eh? Well, we was huntin' a stray coward! (_laughter_) Here
give me that whip!

SOLDIER

Here ye are, Corporal! Well boys, take a look at him--this here's
Honeyman the Tory. (_all comment_)

CORPORAL

All right, throw him into the boat! General Washington'll be right
pleased to see ye, Mister Honeyman! Come along--oh, ye won't go,
eh--well, fetch him, boys.

HONEYMAN

Leave me be! Stop it! The King's men'll make ye pay fer this.

ALL

Hey shut up--grab him Tom--stop that kickin', fetch him along. (_etc._)


ANNOUNCER

Protesting and struggling, Honeyman was thrown into the boat and carried
to the Pennsylvania shore of the Delaware. In the meantime, on that very
afternoon of December 22, 1776, Washington was holding a council of war
with his staff.

WASHINGTON

Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that Congress has fled from
Philadelphia.

ALL

What? Fled? Left Philadelphia? Too bad! (_etc._)

WASHINGTON

I'm sorry! I asked them particularly to stay there, as I feared the
effect on the people of the country. But it seems that even Congress has
lost faith in the army.

KNOX

General Washington.

WASHINGTON

General Knox.

KNOX

We've got to do something to re-establish their faith! (_all agree_)

WASHINGTON

Yes! But what? Charles Lee is captured--his army gone--we can't look for
any help from that quarter.

KNOX

Sir, can't we go back across the river, suddenly--and strike a blow
before the enemy knows what we are up to?

WASHINGTON

We'll have to! It's our only hope. But how, when, and where? I had hoped
that we might get information that would guide us in our plans. Well, we
haven't got it! Now, much as I hate to make any move without full and
complete information, I don't see what else we can do. The river will be
frozen over in a week or ten days. That means that the enemy can cross
over and chase us whither they please! If we are to do anything, we've
got to do it now! I've called you here to lay this before you. Will you
follow me on a blind chance?

ALL

Yes! We will! You can count on us, sir. (_etc._)

WASHINGTON

I want you all to realize that this is a desperate chance. Failure
means--well, we might as well face it--it means the end of our cause;
but success--well, gentlemen, we can only hope and pray for success!
(_knock_) Will you see who's at the door, Colonel Reed?

REED

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

Tell whoever it is to come back later--I'm in council.

REED

Yes, sir. (_a mumble at the door_) I beg pardon, sir, they've just
brought in a prisoner.

WASHINGTON

Good, tell them to wait outside.

REED

They say, sir, it's Honeyman the Tory, and you left orders--

WASHINGTON

Honeyman? Excellent! Gentlemen, I must ask you to leave me.

ALL

Yes sir, General, of course. (_etc._)

WASHINGTON

You may hold yourselves in readiness for action. I'll issue the orders
shortly.

ALL (_going_)

Yes, sir. Very good, sir. (_etc._)

WASHINGTON

Bring the prisoner in, Colonel Reed.

REED (_off_)

Yes, sir. Bring him in, men.

VOICES (_coming in_)

Here you are--come along. (_etc._)

CORPORAL

Here he is, General, that Tory you wanted, sir.

WASHINGTON

Very good, men. You may go.

CORPORAL

Can you handle him safe, sir?

WASHINGTON

He seems to be well bound. I think I'll have no trouble.

CORPORAL

Yes, sir. Very good, sir. Come on, men. We'll wait outside, sir.

WASHINGTON (_loud_)

Well, Honeyman. We've got you at last, eh?

HONEYMAN (_loud_)

I demand to be set free. Ye'll all answer to yer King fer this. (_door
shuts_)

WASHINGTON (_low_)

What news?

HONEYMAN

Across the river in Trenton there ain't but a thousand Hessians.

WASHINGTON

Who's commanding?

HONEYMAN

Colonel Rall, and he ain't none too keerful--no patrols up er down the
river--nobody at all north of him, and six miles to the nearest post on
the south of him.

WASHINGTON

Excellent--excellent! We can do it! I'll order the attack tomorrow
night! We'll trap them! We'll fight for once instead of retreat--we'll--

HONEYMAN

Beggin' yer pardon, sir.

WASHINGTON

Well?

HONEYMAN

If yer figgerin' on attackin', the time is Christmas night!

WASHINGTON

Why?

HONEYMAN

On Christmas the Hessians are goin' to git a big issue o' heavy wine,
an' wal'--General--ye know soldiers--I don't have to say no more!

WASHINGTON

Good! Christmas night! Yes that's it! Has Colonel Rall taken any
precautions against surprise?

HONEYMAN

Nary a one that I could see. He ain't a mite o' use fer you er yer
soldiers. Ragamuffins he called 'em.

WASHINGTON

Ragamuffins? Yes, they are, poor fellows, but Honeyman, we'll
see--perhaps ragamuffins can fight when they're given the chance--and
with this information, you have given us our chance!

HONEYMAN

Wal', sir, I thought ye'd like to know.

WASHINGTON

Now, shall I turn you lose, Honeyman?

HONEYMAN

No, General, I figger ye'd better treat me like a prisoner er I can't be
any more use to ye.

WASHINGTON

True, very well then. I'll have you put in the guardhouse and contrive
to have you escape.

HONEYMAN

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON (_calling_)

Oh, Orderly!

VOICE (_off_)

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

Tell the Corporal who's waiting out there to come in and take his
prisoner to the guardhouse.

ORDERLY

Yes, sir--Corporal, come take charge of your prisoner.

CORPORAL (_off, coming in_)

Come on, men! Fall in around the prisoner--and look sharp that he
doesn't try anything--forward march! (_sound of feet receding_)

WASHINGTON (_to himself_)

Christmas night! Trenton--God be with us!


ANNOUNCER

That night, by some unexplained accident, John Honeyman escaped from the
guardhouse and returned to the British lines, where he continued his
valuable service for the American cause.

Washington, with the information that Honeyman had brought him, was able
to lay his plans intelligently and carefully.

Just after dusk has fallen on Christmas night, Washington orders his
troops to the shore of the river. Snow is falling and the wind is
howling, as Washington and Knox stand together near the boat
landing--(_wind and murmur of crowd with occasional sharp commands in
background through this scene._)

WASHINGTON

This weather ought to help us, Knox.

KNOX

Brrr--it's cold enough to keep the Hessians indoors--if that's what you
mean, General.

WASHINGTON

The snow will cover our movements.

KNOX

Yes--in more ways than one, General.

VOICE (_off_)

First brigade is formed, sir.

WASHINGTON

Very good. (_lower_) Order embarkation to begin, Knox.

KNOX

Artillery first, sir?

WASHINGTON

No, a company of foot soldiers first to stand guard and protect the
landing.

KNOX

Yes, sir. (_calling_) General Green!

VOICE (_off_)

Yes, sir.

KNOX

Send one of your companies across first to stand guard and protect the
landing.

VOICE

Very good, sir. Company A, into the boats! (_orders and mob confusion_)

KNOX

The river looks bad, sir. See all the ice? It looks wicked!

WASHINGTON

Ice! Hm--I hadn't foreseen this.

VOICE (_calling_)

General Knox!

KNOX

What is it?

VOICE

The boatmen say they can't make it, sir.

WASHINGTON

Can't make it? But they've got to!

VOICE

Sorry sir, they say the floating ice--

WASHINGTON

Call Colonel Glover, Knox!

KNOX (_calling_)

Glover! Colonel Glover! Pass the word for Colonel Glover. (_order
repeated several times at different distances_)

WASHINGTON

We've got to get across, Knox, we've got to! If this attempt fails,
there's nothing left for us! Nothing!

KNOX

We'll get across, sir, if we have to swim.

GLOVER (_coming in_)

Colonel Glover reports, sir.

WASHINGTON

Colonel Glover, can your regiment of seafaring men handle our boats in
that river?

GLOVER

General Washington, my men can handle boats in any water!

WASHINGTON

The boatmen say they can't cross because of the floating ice.

GLOVER

Sir, my men are _sea_ sailors, not river boatmen--it takes more than ice
to scare them off!

WASHINGTON

Good! Put some of them in every boat.

GLOVER

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

And you will take general charge of the entire fleet.

GLOVER

Very good, sir.

WASHINGTON

Tell them to listen to General Knox's commands. He is the only one whose
voice can be heard in this storm!

GLOVER

Very good, sir! (_going out_) This way, the Marblehead regiment! This
way to the boats! (_mob_)


ANNOUNCER

For the next nine hours the difficult work of crossing the ice-filled
river went forward. Colonel Glover and his regiment of seafaring men
from Marblehead, Massachusetts, performed almost miraculous service in
landing every man, horse, and gun without losing anything!

It was five o'clock in the morning of December 26 when Washington, now
on the Jersey shore of the river, turned to Knox--(_wind and crowd
noise_)

WASHINGTON

Has the last boatload landed, Knox?

KNOX

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

Call the men to attention.

KNOX (_calling_)

Call your men to attention!

VOICES

Company--company! (_etc._) Attention! First regiment is formed, sir,
second--(_etc._)

KNOX

The men are formed, sir.

WASHINGTON

Men, we are about to start upon our most important offensive. Upon the
results of our efforts this morning depends the outcome of our struggle
for liberty and independence.

I shall take the first brigade and half the artillery with me down the
Pennington road. The rest of the detachment under command of General
Green will take the river road. It should take us about four hours to
reach the outposts of Trenton. Now, it is necessary for us to attack
simultaneously, so will the officers all set their watches with mine. It
is now just five o'clock and ten minutes. At nine o'clock, attack!

Let every man march quietly, keep in good order in the ranks,
give prompt obedience to his officers, and bear in mind the
watchword--_Victory or Death!_ March your men off!

VOICES

First Regiment--Second Regiment--Company--Company--(_etc._)


ANNOUNCER

Thus, on that cold and stormy December morning, the half frozen,
desperate band of ragamuffin soldiers started its march toward
Trenton--toward its last forlorn hope. Washington prayed that he might
catch the garrison of Hessians unsuspecting and unprepared; but he
feared that he had taken so long to effect the crossing of the
ice-filled river that he could not surprise the enemy!

As a matter of fact, warning was sent to Colonel Rall, but that officer,
secure in his belief that no effective force of Colonial soldiers could
be sent against him, paid no attention to the warning.

It was nearly nine o'clock when the Corporal of the advance guard of
Washington's detachment hurried back to report to the General.

CORPORAL

General Washington, we've sighted the enemy outpost.

WASHINGTON

Good! Halt the brigade, Knox.

KNOX

Brigade!

VOICES

Company--company! (_etc._)

KNOX

Halt!

WASHINGTON

It lacks five minutes of the time set! Oh, Corporal--

CORPORAL

Yes, sir?

WASHINGTON

Did you see any sign of General Green's command on the river road?

CORPORAL

We saw 'em a half hour ago, sir, as we came over that hill back there.

WASHINGTON

Were they abreast of us?

CORPORAL

Yes, sir, a little ahead of us, sir.

WASHINGTON

Good. General Knox.

KNOX

Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON

This storm has likely ruined the flintlocks.

KNOX

No doubt of that, sir--we'll have to use bayonets.

WASHINGTON

Order bayonets fixed, and the troops deployed ready to charge bayonets
on command.

KNOX

Brigade, fix bayonets! (_voices repeat order, etc._) Shall the artillery
lead or follow, sir?

WASHINGTON

Follow and take position at the head of every street.

KNOX

Very good, sir.

WASHINGTON

Hm--two minutes--order the troops deployed.

KNOX

Deploy your troops--prepare to charge bayonets! (_command repeated--mob
noise as order is obeyed_)

WASHINGTON

Keep your ears open for firing--it's nearly time. (_musketry_)

KNOX

There it is, sir!

WASHINGTON

Green has started! Order the charge, Knox! And God be with us!

KNOX

Forward! Charge bayonets! Ho! (_a great roar from the mob as the charge
begins_)


ANNOUNCER

So Washington and his men swept into the village of Trenton, catching
the Hessians totally unprepared! In an hour and a half it was all over.
The disposed army of ragamuffins put the Hessians to rout! It was the
first great American victory of the Revolution, and its effect was
enormous. The discouraged Colonists suddenly received new heart. Hope
for the cause of independence had a rebirth, and Washington, instead of
fighting a losing battle alone, found himself the leader of his
countrymen in fact, as well as in name! In crossing the Delaware,
Washington had saved the cause of American independence!



       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes

Page 8: Changed You're to Your. (You're name is John Honeyman?)

Page 19: Changed HONEYWAN to HONEYMAN.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Washington Crossing the Delaware" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home