On Dec. 25, 1776, during the early years of the American Revolution, General George Washington led his troops on a surprise attack of British-backed forces by crossing the Delaware River in adverse weather conditions.
Stationed in Pennsylvania, Washington devised a plan to take his troops across the river in New Jersey to surprise opponents in Trenton. Between the holiday and poor weather, the attack was unexpected by the enemy forces. According to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, "The element of surprise was the only way that he and his army stood a chance of defeating the highly trained Hessian mercenaries."
The night of the crossing, high winds, sleet, rain and snow made for rough waters on the river, where chunks of floating ice added to the dangers. Combined with the dark of night, the conditions also contributed to low visibility for the Continental troops as they tried to make their way across the treacherous river. Three other forces had previously attempted to cross the river that night but were unsuccessful, leaving them a few thousand people short for their battle plan.
Artist's depiction of Washington's forces as they cross the Delaware River. (George Caleb Bingham/Chrysler Museum of Art)
Washington's forces attacked a stronghold of Hessian soldiers the following morning, catching them largely off guard. The result was a decisive victory for the Patriot troops, taking on very few wounded in the battle. The casualties they did endure were a result of exposure to the harsh winter elements during the march rather than the battle itself.
The victory helped to boost the morale of American fighters who had previously suffered significant losses against British forces. The event inspired soldiers to keep fighting for their cause and has ensured a spot in American history as one of the most iconic moments of the Revolutionary War.
Rounds of drenching showers and heavy thunderstorms will heighten the risk of flash flooding across the northeastern United States through the final weekend of July.
Tropical Storm Nida threatens to bring flooding rain to the Philippines into this weekend with future impacts on China and Taiwan.
Additional downpours are likely to roll across northern New Jersey and further suspend play during the late rounds at the 98th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club this weekend.
As several large fires continue to rage across the western United States, weather conditions will gradually improve for firefighting efforts in the upcoming week.
A tropical wave approaching the Caribbean Sea will attempt to reactivate the Atlantic Basin during the first week of August.
A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashed in central Texas on Saturday morning. Authorities say there appears to be no survivors.
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