An American Revolution Diary

Read “An American Revolution Diary” and Follow the Ten Crucial Days of 1776-77 with prominent Historians and Authors

You are invited to read “An American Revolution Diary,” an exclusive, new examination of the ten crucial days of 1776-77 on the Princeton Battlefield Society’s website, The Diary will start on December 14. In the words of leading historians and authors, explore this time in our American history, day-by-day. Our line-up of historians includes:

Prelude: December 14-25, 1776 – David O. Stewart
Day 1: December 25, 1776 – Ron Chernow
Day 2: December 26, 1776 – Mark Lender
Days 3 & 4: December 27-28, 1776 – David Hackett Fischer
Days 5 & 6: December 29-30, 1776 – James Kirby Martin
Days 7 & 8: December 31-January 1, 1776-77 – Larry Kidder
Day 9: January 2, 1777 – David Price
Day 10: January 3, 1777 – Glenn Williams
Postscript: January 3-6, 1777 – Rick Atkinson


It is a refreshing new drama of our American Revolution. Join us as we explore the critical timeframe, December – January 1776-77, known as the ten crucial days of the American Revolution.

We will start our Diary (mid-December to the 25th) as a prelude to George Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night, his victory at first Trenton, his second victory at Assunpink Creek (second Trenton), his stunning overnight march to Princeton and dramatic victory at the historic Battle of Princeton – followed by a postscript for these truly Ten Crucial Days of the American Revolution. We welcome you and look forward to you enjoying our “American Revolutionary Diary.”

The “Diary” will start on December 14 and end after January 6. Each posting will be on the day noted above.

Prelude – December 14-25, 1776

After punishing defeats in New York and a desperate retreat across New Jersey, General Washington’s freezing men camped on the west bank of the Delaware River, many without tents. Fewer than three thousand when they arrived, more straggled in: nearby militias, then Continentals formerly led by General Charles Lee, captured by the British due to…

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Day 1 – December 25, 1776: Crossing the Delaware River

At about 4:30 A.M., as dusk settled into dark, vanguard regiments began to board sixty-five foot Durham boats—some thirty-five men to each of the massive shallow-draft vessels—as sailors from the vaunted 14th Massachusetts Regiment, Colonel John Glover’s “Marbleheaders,” began the arduous task of transporting about 2,400 men across the frigid Delaware. Philadelphia dock hands managed…

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Day 2 – December 26, 1776: First Battle of Trenton

As Washington approached Trenton, he was astounded by the valor of his men, who had marched all night and were still eager to attack. Though a snowy tempest still whirled around them, the squalls now blew at their backs as they raced forward at a brisk pace. Intent on exploiting the element of surprise, Washington…

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Days 3 and 4 – December 27-28, 1776

As at every difficult moment, Washington decided to convene a council of war. On the afternoon of December 27, he informed his adjutant, “I have called a meeting of the general officers,” to discuss “what future operations may be necessary.” Just before the council met, a courier arrived with unexpected news. It was a message…

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Days 5 and 6 – December 29-30, 1776

General Washington faced two major problems when finally deciding to move his victorious Continentals back across the Delaware River from their temporary campsite in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Justifiably, he felt obligated to support the force of 1,500 Pennsylvania militiamen that Colonel John Cadwalader had finally gotten across the river on the 27th and was now searching…

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Days 7 and 8 – December 31, 1776-January 1, 1777

On December 31, 1776, with temperatures in the 30s, Washington completed his efforts of the past several days to convince his Continentals to extend their one-year enlistments, which ended that day, for an additional six weeks. He had troops at Trenton and also at several other locations, including Crosswicks, so other officers had to help…

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Day 9 – January 2, 1777: Battle of Assunpink Creek (Second Trenton)

In the early morning hours, General Charles Cornwallis marched from Princeton with about 8,000 British and Hessian troops, intending to crush Washington’s ragtag army and the rebellion. Washington had positioned his forces on Mill Hill south of Assunpink Creek. Experienced Continental Army units led by Colonel Edward Hand of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, totaling about…

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Day 10 – January 3, 1777: Battle of Princeton

With campfires burning on Mill Hill, Washington sent his baggage south and began the twelve-mile overnight march north to Princeton with about 6,000 men, mostly untested Pennsylvania militia in freezing weather. Just south of town, on the Quaker farms of William Clarke and his brother Thomas, the Continentals encountered a column of British regulars commanded…

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Postscript – January 3-6, 1777

The British high command initially acknowledged losses for the day of 276 men; as more reports filtered in, the tally eventually grew to 450, or a third of the Princeton garrison. About half had been killed or wounded; the other half were headed to jails in Connecticut or Pennsylvania. American casualties, although imprecisely recorded, likely…

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As our guest historians and authors relive these special, critical days in securing our independence, we welcome your support of our efforts to inform, educate, and involve people in programs and services focused on the American Revolution, the ten crucial days of 1776-77, and the heritage of what happened at Princeton and afterwards.   

The Princeton Battlefield Society requests and welcomes your partnership.  Our History & Heritage Fund furthers our efforts to bring the American Revolution to life through new exhibits, displays, and informative materials.  Our goal is to turn the historic Thomas Clarke House into a first-class, living history museum and to expand an understanding and appreciation of our American history and the heritage of the ten crucial days.  Exploring our military victory is important; so is the human drama of British and American soldiers, civilians and slaves, women and children. They were all part of the ten crucial days. Our History & Heritage Fund will focus on the Battle of Princeton, but it will also tell human stories through exhibits, displays and informative materials.  We ask you to help us achieve our goal with a donation today.

We send our thanks - - and hope you enjoy our “American Revolution Diary.”

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