Washington Crossing to be Reenacted

Museums and Historic Sites presents news and information about the historic sites and museums of PHMC.

This year, tor the first time, the Annual Reenactment of Washington’s Crossing the Delaware will be a joint state venture with Pennsylvania and New Jersey involved. After the reenactment of the crossing, events will include a march to Trenton and a reenactment of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. Colonial military organizations from ‘all over the country have been invited by the New Jersey Bicentennial Commission.

This is the 200th anniversary of Washington’s Crossing. The event will be held at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day, Decem­ber 25, at Washington Crossing State Park. The ceremony is sponsored by the Washington Crossing Park Commission in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Washington Crossing Foundation and the Bucks County Historical-Tourist Commission.

The reenactment is a highlight of activities held at the Park and attracts thousands of viewers. This year’s event is even more important because of the Bicentennial celebra­tion.

The ceremony will begin at Old Ferry Inn and proceed to the nearby flagpole where a bugler, played by David Rinker, Eagle Scout of Warminister, will sound the call to the colors and retreat. St. John Terrell, who originated the reenactment, will again portray General Washington. The thirteen-star flag will be lowered and presented to “Lt. James Monroe,” portrayed by Assemblyman John S. Renninger of Newtown. Dr. Paul Phillips, superintendent of Morrisville Schools, will again portray General Lord Stirling, and Richard Landis, television newscaster, will be Alexander Hamilton. Delaware Valley residents, along with members of the cast of the film, Washington Crossing the Delaware will also participate.

Washington will lead his staff and men to the Memorial Building where a brief memorial service for the men who died before the crossing will be observed. After addressing the staff, Washington and his men will proceed to the river for the crossing.

At the sixteen-foot oars of the boats will be, among others, Jack Kelly, Olympic champion oarsman. Charles Gardner of Hartsville and Al Wagner of Warminster will each man a stern sweep with Scout leaders at the oars. Row pole positions will be manned by James Morrow, Hartsville, and Lon Rinker, Warrington. Also joining in the crossing will be Dr. Edgar H. Schuster, Park Commission chairman; Commissioner Daniel D. Ellis and Thomas B. Corrigan, former Commission chairman.

Park Superintendent E. Wilmer Fisher will direct the ceremony. Mrs. Ann Hawkes Hutton, chairman of the Board of Washington Crossing Foundation, noted that this year four authentic Durham Boat replicas will be used.

Patriotic organizations expected to be present include the Second and Fifth Pennsylvania Regiments, Brigade of the American Revolution, First Continental Regiment of Foot (Colonel Hand’s Riflemen). the Fourth Pennsylvania Artillery and the Bridgewater Color Guard Association.

Special film showings on Christmas Day will feature Washington Crossing the Delaware, a twenty-eight minute color film narrated by Chet Huntley, in the Memorial Building. The exact copy of the famous Leutze painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” executed by Robert B. Williams, is on display in the Memorial Building. Other historical paintings on display are “Washington at Trenton” by Leutze and the exact copy, also by Williams, of Willard’s “Spirit of ’76” from the original in Marblehead, Massachu­setts.

Washington Crossing State Park is administered by the PHMC in cooperation with the Park Commission.