"Desperate diseases require Desperate Remedies." George Washington, December 20, 1776.
Christmas Eve was the day in which the fate of world turned - not only because of the Messiah - but because of the masterstroke effected by George Washington in 1776. The enlistments for the Continental Army were about to expire on December 31 - in effect the American Army would dissolve of its own accord. Although the British had taken up winter quarters, Washington had no doubt that once his army disappeared, that the British would simply cross the Delaware and occupy the American capital.
Washington would not sit idle. Instead, on Christmas Eve he crossed the all but frozen Delaware River with 2400 Continental troops, and a masterstroke was made. Only 2 Americans injured when they took the 900 Hessians captive the at Battle of Trenton.
Cornwallis, who until then thought the war about to end, was about to sail home. Instead, he had to retrieve his baggage from the ship and resumed command.
Nicholas Cresswell, a British loyalist reported the astounding effect:
"The news is confirmed. The minds of the people are much altered. A few days ago they had given up the cause for lost. Their late successes have turned the scale and now they are all liberty made again. Their Recruiting parties could not get a man (except he bought him from his master) no longer since than last week, and now the men are coming in by companies. Confound the turncoat scoundrels and cowardly Hessians together. This has given them new spirits, got the fresh succors and will prolong the War, perhaps for two years. They have recovered their antic and it will not an easy matter to throw them into that confusion again. Volunteer Companies are collecting in every County on the Continent and in a few months the rascals will be stronger than ever."
The Revolution was saved, and so was freedom. Merry Christmas indeed!