Washington's Crossing 2023-Christmas Day

February 01, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

George Washington and his ragtag troops of about 2,400 crossed the icy Delaware River on Christmas Day around 6 PM during a severe snowstorm, one of the pivotal moments of the American Revolution. The revolution likely would have ended without this daring surprise attack and the defeat of the Hessian garrison at the Old Barracks in Trenton, NJ. Over the past 60 years, the crossing reenacted is held on Christmas Day, with thousands of spectators watching reenactors crossing the Delaware River from PA to the shore of NJ in replica Durham boats. For many families in the area, attending this event is a Christmas Day tradition. 

There is also the two-week before practice event, which I attend more often; it's a festival. I came on Christmas Day this year. I left home around 10:30 for about one hour, mainly around the Philadelphia highway. It was a beautiful, sunny day with above-average temperatures.

Once I arrived, I met some photo friends and spoke with some reenactors. It was only a short time before I spotted George Washington entering the (McConkey's Ferry Inn) to plan the crossing with his officers. His lifeguards were protecting him outside. I first converted this photo to black and white and used a new photo post-processing technique, the canvas filter in On1 software, to make it appear like a charcoal painting. With his spyglass, George Washington viewing the Delaware River was the perfect choice for this technique. 

This photo shows the Delaware River and the Washington Crossing Bridge linking PA and NJ. It is near where George Washington and his men crossed on Christmas Day. I shot this panoramic on the PA side while waiting for the event to commence. You'll notice the entire bridge overflowing with spectators with a closer look. I've taken photos from the bridge a few times. You get a different perspective when the Durham boats are crossing; they appear so small in scale. You are also in amazement at how George Washington and his men managed this crossing in an icy, dark river with horses and cannons in a blizzard without being spotted by the Hessian troops. It was a miracle! 

The Washington Crossing Bridge with many spectators observing the crossing. Chief Artillery Officer Henry Knox met George Washington when he became Commander of the American Army in 1775 at Cambridge, MA, and a close confidant of Washington throughout the war. He was involved in many significant battles, including Trenton. This photo shows him walking behind Washington while addressing his troops before the crossing. Even though Washington is out of focus in this photo, you know it's him!

The 13 six-pointed Star Commander In Chief blue flag designates Washington in the boat. He followed typical European tradition by having a flag designed for himself as an army leader. Where the general was at any time, so was the flag. If you look closely here, you can spot Washington at the bow. 

When reviewing this image, I immediately considered emphasizing the flag's water reflection in my post-production process. I cropped the photo to show this and used the canvas filter in On1 software for the painting effect. I like the results!
Thank you for reading! Blog # 69 will be posted in March 2024.  Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer


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