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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[graphic] Washington Crossing State Park


[photo] McConkey Ferry Inn, one of the still existing buildings from 1776
Photograph courtesy of Michelle Matz, Washington Crossing Historic Park

[photo] "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 1851
Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

On December 25, 1776, General George Washington and a small army of 2400 men crossed the Delaware River at McConkey's Ferry, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on their way to successfully attack a Hessian garrison of 1500 at Trenton, New Jersey. This march, at one of the lowest points of the American Revolution, gave the Patriots new hope after their failed effort to keep the British from occupying New York City. The close of 1776 found the cause of American independence from Great Britain staggering under a succession of defeats. In October, the Continental Congress had made provision for a long-term military force, but at the end of the year this establishment was on paper, not in the field where it was desperately needed. Washington, in his camp on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, realized that he must strike a military blow to the enemy before his army melted away and he was determined to hit the Hessian garrison at Trenton. On the night of December 25, the American main force was ferried across the Delaware River by Colonel John Glover's Marblehead fishermen and in the bleak early morning hours assembled on the New Jersey shore for the march on Trenton, about 10 miles downstream. Surprise was complete, and within an hour and a half after the action opened the Hessians surrendered. The site of the crossing is a National Historic Landmark; the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River is now a state historic site and museum. The crossing vicinity site features the assembly area, embankment point, landing area, the road used by the Continental Army for its attack, the historic McConkey Feryy Inn, the Thompson-Neely House and the 19th-century Village of Taylorsville. Today, the 500-acre recreational area includes 13 historic buildings, replica Durham boats like those used during the 1776 crossing, the noted 100-acre Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve and observation tower, and many picnic areas.

From the PA Trnpk. take 532 towards New Jersey and turn left on 32. Washington Crossing Historic Park is located at 1112 River Rd., in Washington Crossing. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday, 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Closed major holidays, except Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Christmas Day. Visiting hours may change on a seasonal basis. There is a fee for guided walking tours. Please call 215-493-4076, or visit the park's website for further information.


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