Television has seen its share of Revolutionary War programs during the last couple of years. Most of these programs and short series are depicted as dramatizations, leading to significant swings from facts to Hollywood theatrics. While attention for the nation’s founding is appreciated by historians and fans of history, these programs often frustrate viewers who believe that the actual stories from the times, with its military tactics, politics, intrigue and sex, is more appealing than the fictional work created by screenwriters.
For those who prefer historical accuracy, George Washington’s Mount Vernon has introduced captivating short history films about the the general and president. These fast-paced films are found online and provide easy-to-understand history, actual footage of actors and reenactors, and 3-D military animation.
The Winter Patriots is Mount Vernon’s second animated feature presentation. The Winter Patriots focuses on the winter campaign of 1776-1777 and the attacks on Trenton and Princeton. The first feature was Now or Never: The Yorktown Campaign.
Crossing The Delaware River
The story for The Winter Patriots begins during the summer of 1776 as the Continental Army repeatedly is defeated and driven from New York and south across New Jersey. The Winter Patriots examines Washington’s decision to cross the Delaware River on Christmas Day night 1776, a pivotal moment of the American Revolution that led to a successful attack at Trenton. Many Americans don’t realize that Washington and his troops, after this assault, crossed the river again to return to Valley Forge and then, a few days later during the new year, crossed the river one more time to fight in Princeton.
Washington faced a superior enemy on his front and many issues within his own ranks. The patriot soldiers tried to survive during deplorable winter conditions with scarce food and the lack of housing, blankets and clothing. Washington knew that the enlistments of many soldiers would expire at the end of the year. After consulting with his officers, he determined that it was necessary to lead the bold and dangerous strike on Trenton. Following the success at Trenton, Washington returned to the New Jersey side of the river to take Princeton.
“If we want the next generation to truly understand the role that George Washington played in America’s founding—and to grasp why he was crossing the Delaware—we need to tell the story using the kinds of rich media and digital channels that a modern audience now expects,” said Rob Shenk, senior vice president for visitor engagement.
Created by Wide Awake Films, The Winter Patriots includes considerable live action footage filmed with Hessian, British and American reenactors in the deep snow of New Paltz, New York. The multiple-part film of 27 minutes can be viewed on the Mount Vernon website. The presentation also is available to download for a $4.99 fee. It also can be viewed on YouTube.