Poison or Panacea?

How well do you know your horticultural history? These plants were known to the colonists back in George Washington’s day – but not all of them could be used to heal. Washington Crossing Historic Park’s historical horticulturalist Anna Davis-Agostini shares four plants that were known to the colonists.   White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) Anna has grown this plant at the Thompson-Neely Farmstead. Used for centuries and spoken of by both Dioscorides and Pliny, Horehound is renowned for treating asthma, coughs, pulmonary consumptions, some liver and spleen disorders, and “filthy ulcers.” “It was used as a dry or fresh herb in Read More

Native Americans’ Involvement in the Revolutionary War

Native Americans’ participation in the Revolutionary War – and particularly George Washington’s Delaware River crossing – is a sometimes overlooked topic. And it has a complex answer. “It’s convenient to think of everyone from that time falling into two basic camps, the Americans and the British (Loyalists), but there were lots of different groups caught in the middle, with Native Americans being one of them,” says Katherine Becnel, Washington Crossing Historic Park’s volunteer coordinator and a former gallery educator at the Museum of the American Revolution. Native Involvement in the Conflict Initially, Native Americans were discouraged from getting involved in Read More

What Did Washington and His Army Eat Before and After the Crossing?

The challenges that George Washington and his 2,400 soldiers faced ahead of the crossing are too many to list here. In short, they’d experienced only defeat, and many were showing signs of the toll that had taken. They were exhausted, starving, and ill-equipped for the winter. According to the book, Supplying Washington’s Army (a study, in part, of the Continental Army’s Commissariat which supplied food and equipment) every soldier was to be provided with the following daily ration: One pound of beef Three-quarters of a pound of chicken or pork One pound of bread or flour Three pints peas or Read More

Which Founding Fathers Participated in the Crossing?

The crossing was a critical turning point for the beleaguered Continental Army. While General George Washington is credited with conceiving the strategy, pulling it off required contributions from many people, some of whom would rise to become America’s Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers, a select group of elite colonists and several other key figures, united the 13 colonies and structured the government of the United States. But there’s some debate as to who exactly should be counted as a Founding Father. “In my mind, anyone who signed the Declaration of Independence should be counted as a Founding Father,” says Kimberly Read More

Remembering a Happy Childhood at Washington Crossing Historic Park

For most people, Washington Crossing Historic Park is a place to visit and learn about history. For Barbara Felver (pictured above), the park was her childhood home. “I grew up just below Bowman’s Hill Tower,” says Barbara, who now lives in South Carolina. “My parents rented one of the houses from the state. The park was my playground. I can probably still tell you where to find lady slippers and all kinds of cool plants.” Barbara was recently back in Bucks County and shared with park staff a scrapbook filled with memories, photos and newspaper clippings about her father, Bill Read More

Nathanael Greene Challenge Coin Now Available

Washington Crossing Historic Park’s 2020 Challenge Coin is now available. Cost is $17.76, including tax. Shipping is an additional fee. The Major General Nathanael Greene Challenge Coin can be purchased in the Visitor Center gift shop or on our website. Every year between now and 2026—the 250th anniversary of the crossing of the Delaware River—Washington Crossing Historic Park will release a new challenge coin. The back of each year’s coin will feature a different officer in the Continental army, while the front features the crossing as depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting. About Major Nathanael Greene Major Read More

How Did the Continental Army Get Artillery and Horses Across the Delaware?

Getting 2,400 soldiers across an ice-choked river under the cover of darkness and in the middle of a blinding Nor’easter was certainly a feat. But it’s only part of the story: Washington’s covert plan hinged on being able to get artillery and horses across the river, too. In early December, Washington’s soldiers gathered boats from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River and brought them across to Pennsylvania. Along with large Durham boats, they slowly but surely transported the men across the river. But these boats would have been an impractical choice for anxious horses and cumbersome cannons. How, Read More

What Role Did the Marbleheaders Play in the Crossing?

By June 1775, the Intolerable Acts, also known as the Coercive Acts, had pushed a port town a little more than 300 miles north of Washington Crossing to the brink. Rendered unemployed and angry by the strict trade measures imposed by British Parliament, virtually every able-bodied man in Marblehead, Massachusetts, rallied to fight against their common enemy. (Accounts vary significantly as to exactly how many men the group included at its inception.) The Origins of the Marbleheaders By the next year, the modest militia had become the 14th Continental Regiment of George Washington’s army—and one of the few integrated regiments Read More

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