Hundreds gather for Washington's NJ river trek

John Godzieba, center, portraying Gen. George Washington, walks with his troops toward the boat dock during a re-enactment of Washington's historic crossing of the Delaware River, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010, in Washington Crossing, Pa. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

December 25, 2010 5:21:12 PM PST
Overcast skies and cold temperatures did not stop George Washington from making his Christmas Day ride across the Delaware River.

The 58th annual re-enactment of Washington's daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the river - the trek that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War - was staged Saturday on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border.

Hundreds gathered to hear Washington's stand-in deliver stirring words to the troops and watch three boats make the crossing from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

During the crossing 233 years ago, boats ferried some 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river, and the troops marched 8 miles downriver and fell on Hessian mercenaries in the streets of Trenton. Thirty Hessians were killed, and two Continental soldiers froze to death on the march, but none died in the battle.

The victory electrified the struggling nation and led to further military successes in Trenton and Princeton.