George and the Delaware

By: Karen Lin, Judy Xu, Manjusha Warrier, & Malvika Sridhar

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George Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)

Story Truth (from the POV of George Washington) By: Judy Xu

The morning sun finally rose over the harsh Delaware River. My men were exhausted and frozen, but hope came with the dawn. I did not know if our troops would make this trip across the icy river; there were too many hazards that could have ended all of us, but this was a potential sacrifice that I knew I must make. The light that ended our miserable darkness was much welcomed, and there was much internal rejoicing amongst my men, but we did not let our expectations grow into carelessness. The British did not know of our impending arrival, victory was about to be won, but we could not let our guard down yet. Swerving precariously around the icebergs, the boats emanated expectant energy. This would be a fight for our dear, dear America. I do not know what lies ahead, but together with the men willingly to lose their lives for the lives and liberty of our children, I am certain that we will fight to the death with no regrets. God bless America!

Happening Truth By: Malvika Sridhar

During the American Revolutionary War, Washington and 2400 soldiers crossed the Delaware River. They began their feat on 11 pm on December 25, 1776. The next morning at 8 AM, they reached the outskirts of the town of Trenton , New Jersey. He and his soldiers snuck up on the enemy Hessian forces here. The enemy forces were caught off guard, and although some escaped, many of them were captured. Although they were able to capture many of the enemy forces, Washington’s army had to retreat due to low artillery and arms, because the majority of the troops did not cross the Delaware in time for the mission. From a strategic perspective, this victory is not all that significant.

Critic of the Painting By: Karen Lin

The purpose of this painting is to venerate the leadership and valor of George Washington during the American Revolution. By emphasising on Washington’s prominent figure and the waving American flag beside him in the center, our eyes are drawn to his patriotism for the cause. The surrounding subjects also provide movement in their tiring actions of rowing in the small boats, and the windy weather shown in the lines of their clothing. Furthermore, the background helps to emphasis the perilousness of the journey through the stormy waters and sky (both in dark and ominous colors). At the same time, the breaking light of dawn (bringing a contrast to the surrounding darkness) brings balance to the composition and simultaneously represents the hope Washington and his soldiers bring to the upcoming battle. Finally, the artist uses similar style, of the neoclassicism, throughout the piece to tie together a unified emotion felt by the fleet during this unsure moment.

Identity of the Author By: Manjusha Warrier

Emanuel Leutze was a German American artist famous for his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. Leutze was born in Shwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, but moved to the United States as a child where he and his parents settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia. After growing up in the United States, Leutze later moved back to Germany to attend the Academy in Düsseldorf where he studied art. While in Germany, Leutze painted a series of canvases representing U.S. History. Of these canvases Washington Crossing the Delaware was one of these. The painting's original purpose was to stimulate German patriotism after the Revolution of 1848, a series of Republican revolts against European monarchies. It became a popular painting in the United States and served as a symbol of American Patriotism.

War Story By: Judy, Karen, Manjusha, and Malvika

At 11:00 am, Christmas morning, General Washington ordered me and his other troops to begin crossing the Delaware. I stare astounded at him at first - it’s freezing cold, Christmas morning, and we’re going into battle already. No heartfelt goodbyes to our families after our previous days of encampment, and I already know the battle will not be in the action but the journey towards. Our thousands of soldiers are expected to fit in a small multitude of a range of row boats to ships all aiming towards a unified goal. I gather just the clothes off my back and move with the crowd. The next thing I knew, burning cold waves crash into my skin and the only thing in my vision is my commander’s sturdy and stoic back looking out to the upcoming conflict. Trying to concentrate on rowing, I see, or maybe I imagined, several large sea creatures jumping around our fleet, distracting and almost mocking our effort. But I can’t take a break, especially in this frigid weather. After what feels like an eternity, I start to question our destiny. I see my other comrades start to question this too. Everything is dark and dreary and numb and I feel like everything will turn out to be hopeless. But, what is that I see?