American Military History Through Stamps (1775-1913)

Washington Crossing The Delaware

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This souvenir sheet composed of five stamps and based on an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by Emanuel Leutz was issued May 29, 1976.

A majority of the militia enlistments under Washington’s command were due to expire at the end of the month, and the troops would likely return to their homes. Washington wanted a victory that would inspire support for the war. In preparation for such a victory, on December 25, 1776, Washington led his troops across the icy Delaware River. A significant number of Washington’s soldiers had to march through the snow without shoes, but the next morning they attacked Trenton, New Jersey, from the south, took the Hessian garrison, and over-ran the town. After fierce fighting, the Hessians surrendered. The victory reinvigorated the American cause and became a turning point in the war.