Across the Wide Delaware

by Ava G

Copyright© 2018 by Ava G

Historical Story: It is December 25. A bunch of Germans are stuck in Trenton, New Jersey. For some reason, a bunch of people in Pennsylvania also want to go to Trenton that day.

Tags: Historical   Humor  

Note: I have merely recorded what Uncle Dave said. Any blame should be sent to him. He says he can be reached at GetALobotomyPlease DOT com.

Hello, boys and girls. This is your Uncle Dave here, presenting today’s history talk. There’s a lot of things that happened on this day in history. For example, on December 25, 820, Byzantine emperor Leo V went to a Christmas service at the Hagia Sofia. Right there, in the middle of the church, a group of soldiers dressed as monks gave him a big surprise by chopping his head off.

Let’s see what else happened. Back in 1261, Byzantine emperor John IV, who also turned eleven that day, received a big Christmas surprise of his own. The soldiers who got him didn’t kill him. They only made him blind Since the Byzantine Empire’s laws said that blind people couldn’t be emperor, John got sent off to a monastery.

So let that be a lesson to you. If any of you ever grow up and become the Emperor of Byzantium, be careful around Christmas, and watch out for soldiers. Be sure to get them before they get you.

Speaking of soldiers, today’s tale sends us back to 1776. A lot of things happened that year, such as the establishment of San Francisco by a collection of Martians, and the founding of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, whose opening performance of War and Peace, the Condensed Version is expected to end sometime in 2063. Also, on December 25 of that year, a group of German soldiers found themselves in Trenton, New Jersey, and other soldiers attempted to cross the Delaware River, some of them successfully.

You see, Great Britain had a bunch of North American colonies in 1775. Since the costs of maintaining an army all the way across the Atlantic was high, lawmakers in London decided that the colonists, who benefitted most from the army’s protecting them against the French, the Spanish, the Russians, the Swiss, and the Martians, should pay for that army. This was highly reasonable to the lawmakers, as none of them lived in North America, and were thus exempt from the tax. This is why Britain established so many colonies. Someone had to pay the taxes, and members of Parliament felt safer if they were paid by people who couldn’t vote them out of office.

One of these was a tax on tea. This idea should have led to many questions, such as “Who the heck in North America drinks tea?” Back then, tea was fairly popular in what would become the thirteen original states. I’m not saying the thirteen original colonies, because there were more than thirteen colonies.

Two of them were Quebec and New Brunswick, both conquered by the English during the French and Indian War. France had sent their armies over to Bollywood to fight the Indians, leaving the colonies defenseless, so the English just moved in. Since the locals were French – in Quebec, not Bollywood, that is – they were extremely stubborn. As a result, Britain never got them to speak English. Since those idiot English-speakers drank tea, they would show their superiority by drinking coffee.

The colonists in the future United States were not so practical, so they didn’t change to coffee until after the Revolution. Instead, they decided to protest the taxes by throwing boxes of tea into the ocean. The English responded by sending soldiers across the ocean to fight, and even torture, the rebels. The soldiers did the latter by reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which had been first published earlier in 1776, to the colonists. It is even longer and more boring than War and Peace. Trust me. According to their strategy, these readings would put protesters to sleep. Once that happened, the soldiers could go through the colonists’ wallets and take out the taxes they owed, plus 500% extra as a late fee.

Needless to say, the colonists, or at least the ones who managed to stay awake through the first page of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, wanted revenge. They did this by sneaking up on the soldiers and preemptively reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to them, putting them to sleep first.

You might think that this plan would make the Americans give up tea for coffee. The average extra-strength extra-caffeinated super-size quintuple expresso would do a better job keeping them awake to read you-know-what than tea would, so you would think only boneheads would stick with tea. Nope. They wouldn’t act like the French-speakers in Quebec.

You in the back. Why is Uncle Dave calling the Founding Fathers boneheads? I didn’t say that. I said that “you” think they’re boneheads. And even if I did, they hadn’t figured out indoor plumbing, even though the ancient Romans got it to work thousands of years earlier. If you give up on indoor plumbing and run to an outhouse in the middle of January instead, you’re boneheaded. Which means the English were boneheads, too.

Well, why wouldn’t the Americans act like the people in Quebec? Religion. I told you the French-speakers in Quebec were stubborn. They were Catholics, while the English were Protestants. Back around 1520, the two groups decided each other was evil, because they couldn’t agree on whether or not bingo schedules should be prominently posted on church doors. Also, the English said that the Catholics were taking orders from the Pope, and they couldn’t obey both the Pope and King George III, who was suffering from mental illness and thought he was God, or perhaps Napoleon Bonaparte. If you asked Napoleon, he couldn’t tell a difference, either. I mean between Napoleon and God. Napoleon didn’t think George III was God. Since Napoleon was just seven years old at the time, and living in Corsica, he probably didn’t think about George III at all.

King George III had wanted the French-Canadians to join, of all things, the Church of England. Well, I said he was suffering from mental illness. The lawmakers in London gave up on trying to turn them Protestant, so they passed the Quebec Act, which said that the people in Quebec could legally remain French-speaking Catholics. So all the Protestants in America thought that the Francophones in Quebec would listen to the pope and slaughter them. This worry increased after May 1776, which was when Adam Weishaupt established the Illuminati, whose first act was to announce that they didn’t exist. If the Americans had thought about it for a minute, they would have realized that the Quebecois, being French-speakers, wouldn’t listen to anybody, even the pope. As the traitor in the audience said, they could act like boneheads sometimes.

“What does all this have to do with Germans?” Good question.

As I said, the colonists and the British soldiers were reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to each other. In July, the American colonists declared independence from Britain, mostly because they didn’t want to pay anyone, let alone British soldiers, to read that book to them anymore.

Second row, to the right, asks,”Which book?” Haven’t you been paying attention? It’s Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie. No, that would be an improvement over what they actually suffered from. It’s – all together now – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

So King George decided to adapt by sending soldiers who couldn’t speak English, and thus would stay awake because they couldn’t understand what the colonists were reading. At that time, Germany was divided into about 67,924 different city-states, all of which could easily defeat England on penalty kicks. One of them was Hessia, which had been the latest one to knock England out of the World Cup, so King George hired Hessians to serve as his soldiers, in order to weaken the side. Understand that German soccer didn’t turn professional until the 1960s, so military wages were an improvement.

Somehow – and this was probably because the Hessian soldiers couldn’t understand the King’s instructions because they were in English – they ended up in Trenton, New Jersey.

For those of you who don’t know, New Jersey is called “The Garden State” because focus group testing rejected more accurate nicknames such as “The Industrial Wasteland State” and “The Toxic Chemical State.” The ad agency which produced the “Garden State” name for New Jersey also produced the “Land of Excitement” name for North Dakota, which never caught on. Back when the nation was young and immature, all the states were also young and immature, so you can just picture Virginia, Georgia, and Florida going behind the garden shed and laughing at New Jersey’s nickname while smoking what Florida thought was tobacco, but was actually poison ivy. By the time North Dakota became a state, the nation was more mature, and Virginia and Georgia just shook their heads “no” in disapproval.

You on the left. You’re saying Uncle Dave has the skull of a pachycephalosaurus and Florida wasn’t one of the original thirteen states. Well, same to you. Uncle Dave knows Florida wasn’t one of the original states. After the French and Indian War, Spain handed Florida to England, and it became one of Britain’s North American colonies. However, Florida never made it to the Continental Congress, because its representatives got caught in a traffic jam on I-95, tried to go around it, and drove their coaches right into a swamp filled with crocodiles. The crocs ate their horses, but the politicians made it out of the swamp because there are some things that even crocodiles will gag at. After the Revolution was over, the new nation thought about taking Florida from England, but rejected the offer, showing that the Founding Fathers weren’t complete boneheads. Instead, they gave Spain money to take it away from them.

I-95 takes us north to New Jersey, which we were discussing. New Jersey has a good way of making money. It lets people in for free. Then, after a few minutes, they see the industrial wasteland, smell the toxic chemicals, and desperately want to get out by the nearest bridge or tunnel. The tollbooths are always set up so you have to pay on the way out of the state. They charge 15 dollars per car, and people don’t complain about it because they really, really want to get out of New Jersey. That’s how bad the state is.

Trenton is the state capital, which means it’s full of the worst people New Jersey has to offer. We aren’t talking about mobsters like on The Sopranos or mindless beach bums like on Jersey Shore. We’re talking much worse. We’re talking about lawyers and politicians. This means Trenton is the worst city in the worst state in the country. It’s even worse than Cleveland, which historians know as the place where the river kept catching on fire, just like in Hell, and music lovers know as the home of the Polka Hall of Fame, which just sounds like Hell. That’s right. Trenton is even worse than Hell.

So these German soldiers found themselves in the worst city in America on December 25, 1776. They did just what you would expect any human being stuck in Trenton on Christmas Day to do. They got sloshed out of their minds.

George Washington, upon learning that the soldiers were in Trenton, realized that this was the perfect time to attack them, because the Hessians would be far too drunk to do anything about it. However, Washington and the American army were in Pennsylvania at the time. To get to Trenton, they would have to get across the Delaware River.

Doing so is theoretically easy, since there are plenty of bridges across the Delaware. However, Pennsylvania also has a way of keeping people from leaving the state. The major roads are so bad that they are all “under construction,” which means you have to take detours. They are always that way, since construction workers for PennDOT, which maintains the roads, never get around to doing any work. The workers take so long to fix the roads that, when they’re done, the repairs need their own repairs. So they have to stay under construction, and you never get to where you want to go.

Washington realized that, if he wants to get to Trenton before the end of the war, he can’t try going over any of the bridges. So he has to either take boats across the river, or wait for it to freeze and skate over it. Since ice skates can be used for fun, the army had already prohibited them. So he decided to row across the Delaware, and he knew the perfect place to do it. He would leave Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and row over to Washington Crossing, New Jersey. The British should have expected Washington to cross there. But, military intelligence being what it is, they figured that Washington’s crossing could never take place at Washington Crossing, so they left the place undefended.

Actually, Washington divided his forces into three portions, just like Gaul. Colonel John Cadwalader would cross at Dunk’s Ferry, south of Trenton, and create a diversion to lure the Hessians out. This would feature a regiment of bagpipe players. On the morning of December 26, they would start playing, at which point the hungover Hessians would go out, yell at them to stop, and fall over, drunk, into the snowdrifts. General James Ewing would make the middle crossing, at Trenton Ferry, and lead his soldiers directly into the city. Washington’s main force would use McKonkey’s Ferry north of Trenton for the main crossing. That was his plan for the night of December 25.

The Hessian plan for the night of December 25 was to keep drinking booze. Remember, they’re stuck in Trenton.

There’s a reason you’ve never heard of Ewing crossing the Delaware. Even though he would start crossing by sunset, all of his troops would be in Trenton by midnight. They would be in Trenton at Christmas, and they would get blotto, too. In fact, some of the soldiers had smuggled their own alcohol, and started drinking it once they saw Trenton, even before the crossing. Since the majority of the soldiers were unable to walk in a straight line, much less row in one, Ewing cancelled his crossing.

Washington was more successful. He had a simple way of organizing the crossing. He ordered his subordinate, General Henry Knox, to create the plans. If you’ve heard of Knox, it’s because Fort Knox in Kentucky is named for him. That’s where the army hides all the technology it stole from the Illuminati in order to fight the Martians. The government’s gold is actually stored out in Area 51.

So Knox knocked on the door of “Honest Sid” McKonkey’s ferry office. He kept knocking until Sid responded. Knock, knock, Knox went.

Sid asked, “Who’s there?”

Knox said, “Knox.”

Sid said, “I know, knocks are why I answered the door.”

Knox said, “I’m Knox.”

Sid said, “Knocks is a noun. You’re not knocks. You are knocking.”

Knox said, “It’s Knox.”

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