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Steeped in NJ history is the story of George Washington's loss at Fort Lee and his retreat of 75 miles from Fort Lee to McConkey's Ferry to regroup. Originally named for General Charles Lee, Fort Lee was rendered defenseless after Continental Army troops holding Fort Washington (the sister fort across the Hudson) were defeated and captured on November 16, 1776. The soldiers then began a hasty retreat through NJ, crossing the Hackensack River at New Bridge Landing and the Passaic River at Acquackanonk Bridge. It was during Washington's retreat (beginning along a road which is now Main Street) that Thomas Paine wrote the recognized phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls".
In the ultimate comeback, Washington and his troops then went on to cross the Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776 and defeated the Hessian forces in Trenton and Princeton. The trip was dark, cold, icy, logistically challenging and fraught with danger - sounds like the past year and a half in a nutshell! In fact, Washington crossed the Delaware 3 times before going to the Princeton Battlefield and then finally reaching the Morristown Winter Encampment site on January 8, 1777. Throughout the journey, Washington's' Password for his troops was #VictoryOrDeath. To celebrate the NJ history, we have designed several courses thought to loosely mimic the troops foot steps. You can run along the map along side George Washington! Choose your distance, create your own comeback and help recreate history! What a great way to teach your kids history - the whole family can join!
This challenge starts on Nov 16 - Jan 8 for the 75 Miles and the 165 Miles to mark the day the troops retreated from Fort Lee. The Crossing 90 Miles will start on Dec 1 - Jan 8 to mark the time the troops arrived in McConkey's Ferry. Don't miss out - Send 2021 out strong!
Distances to choose from:
You will have 54 days or 39 days from to complete the total miles by Jan 8. You can run or walk anywhere you want, inside or outside as long as you log the miles. You do not have to run or walk each day, you just have to finish the total distance before or by Jan 8. You will be sent a reminder each day to log your distances as well as daily updates with your location and cumulative distance logged. You will also see how you place among the other participants daily.
All Participants will receive a long sleeve hooded shirt and a medal around the 2nd week in Jan. All mileage must be submitted into the website to record each day or each time you complete a daily mileage. All Relay participants must register individually and will receive 1 shirt and medal each.
**Disclaimer: Please do not run on unsafe roads, or areas that have been closed off to the public. Practice social distancing and any other requirements set forth by local, state and federal guidelines. This is a virtual run only, please do not gather as a crowd in any 1 location at the same time. Shirts and medals will be mailed starting around Jan 8 2022. You will only be able to log the total miles for each event. You will not be able to log additional miles beyond the event distance.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a member of Feeding America®, has been delivering food, help and hope across the state for 45 years. Last year, CFBNJ provided nutritious food for over 50 million meals through its network of more than 1,000 community partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and senior feeding programs. For our hungry neighbors, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is the powerful agent of change that fills the emptiness caused by hunger and provides resources that are essential to earning a sustainable living.
The FoodBank is a primary disaster relief responder in the state, and we are in the midst of a major relief effort to address the COVID-19 crisis. We are working to ensure access to nutritious food for vulnerable individuals and families and to meet the growing need. We are also working to create emergency meal kits with nonperishable foods, which can sustain a family for several days. For more info: cfbnj.org
We can't wait to take this journey with you. Don't forget to tag and follow us in your posts!
CompuScore Virtual Challenges: https://www.facebook.com/compuscorevirtualchallenges
CompuScore Virtual Challenges https://www.strava.com/clubs/643058/
Follow your progress along the map in the same footsteps as George Washington and his troops! You will get daily emails with updates and each time you log miles, you can track your progress on the map. You can also see how you are doing along with your friends!!
As Told by the Fort Lee Historic Park
Fort Lee found its place in American history during the 1776 British campaign to control New York City and the Hudson River. After the siege of Boston, Washington turned his attention to the defense of New York and the Hudson Valley. The British plan was to control the length of the Hudson with the overwhelming dominance of its Royal Navy. The plan, if successful, would split the colonies in half and hopefully bring an early end to the Revolution.
Washington felt it imperative, along with the construction of fortifications at New York City and Long Island, to build new fortifications along the Hudson River. In July of 1776, work was begun on the site which was originally named Fort Constitution and was eventually named for General Charles Lee, who aided in the defense of New York City. On the opposite New York shore, work had already begun on Fort Washington.
On July 12, Admiral Richard Howe sent two British naval vessels up the Hudson River. Cannon fire from Fort Washington had little effect on their passage. Washington then ordered that work on Fort Lee continue as quickly as possible. Using Major General Israel Putnam’s suggestion, sunken ships were placed in the river channel. With these obstructions and artillery fire from the sister forts, it was felt that no British shipping could sail up the Hudson without sustaining severe losses.
King George III, wanting to end the Revolution as quickly as possible, sent the largest armada of British ships and troops that had ever left England’s shores. By mid-August, Sir William Howe, British Commander-in-Chief, had assembled an army of over 31,000 British, Hessian, and loyalist troops on Staten Island. On August 22, the British landed on Long Island and five days later forced the Americans to retreat to New York City. Through September and October, the British and American forces were involved in battles at New York City, Harlem Heights, and White Plains. The British then turned their forces against Fort Washington. On November 16, Fort Washington fell to an overwhelming assault by the British forces who captured over 2,000 American troops. Following the fall of New York to British occupation, the Continental Army crossed the Hudson River and scaled the Palisades to man the fortifications on the bluffs of Fort Lee. Washington designated the area of what is now Monument Park and the Fort Lee Museum as an encampment for his troops. Huts were constructed around Parker’s Pond and ovens carved of stone.
General Washington, realizing that with the loss of Fort Washington, Fort Lee was of little military value, made preparations to evacuate his remaining army through New Jersey. An orderly retreat, however, was not in store for the Americans. On November 20, General Cornwallis ferried between 6,000 and 8,000 men across the Hudson River north of Fort Lee. When word of the crossing reached Washington, he ordered the abandonment of Fort Lee and an immediate retreat before his army was cut off and captured by the British. Most of the American supplies and artillery had to be left behind. During these darkest days for the Revolution when it seemed as though the Continental Army could not survive, Thomas Paine, who was in Fort Lee with Washington’s army, wrote the famous words, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
As told by the Washington Crossing Historic Park
Photo by Drifting Focus Photography
In the winter of 1776, General George Washington and his ragged army had experienced only defeat and despair. The War for Independence was going badly, with failure following failure.
In the preceding months, Washington’s campaign in New York had not gone well; the Battle of Long Island ended in a loss when the British troops managed to out-maneuver the Continental Army. A series of defeats settled around Washington as he was forced to retreat across New Jersey to Pennsylvania on December 7 and 8.
As the harsh Pennsylvania winter set in, the morale of the American troops was at an all-time low. The soldiers were forced to deal with a lack of both food and warm clothing, while Washington watched his army shrink due to desertions and expiring enlistments. Now, more than ever, a victory was desperately needed.
General Washington hatched a daring plan to cross the Delaware River under the cover of darkness, march to Trenton and attack the Hessian outposts in and around Trenton. The boats to be used for the crossing were gathered earlier in the month in compliance with Washington’s orders, primarily as a defensive measure. Various types of boats were collected; most notable were the large, heavy Durham boats used to carry pig iron down the Delaware.
Fully expecting to be supported by two divisions south of Trenton, Washington assembled his own troops near McConkey’s Ferry in preparation for the crossing. By about 6 PM, 2,400 troops had begun crossing the ice-choked river. The operation was slow and difficult due to the condition of the river. There was an abrupt change in the weather forcing the men to fight their way through sleet and a blinding snowstorm. These obstacles proved to be too much for the supporting divisions led by Generals Cadwalader and Ewing, ultimately preventing their crossing at southern points along the Delaware.
Against all odds, Washington and his men successfully completed the crossing and marched into Trenton on the morning of December 26, achieving a resounding victory over the Hessians. By moving ahead with his bold and daring plan, Washington re-ignited the cause of freedom and gave new life to the American Revolution.
The period surrounding the crossing that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War is often called The Ten Crucial Days.
From the crossing on December 25, 1776, through the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777, Washington and the Continental Army achieved three vital victories, ensuring the continuation of the Revolutionary War.
The Prelude: December 14-25, 1776
Following a series of military defeats in New York and New Jersey, General Washington leads the Continental Army in a retreat across New Jersey. They arrive in Pennsylvania in December 1776. Washington knows he must plan the army’s next move before many of his soldiers’ enlistments expire at the end of the month.
Day One: December 25, 1776
A Continental Army force of more than 2,000 soldiers crosses the Delaware River into New Jersey at McConkey’s Ferry. Once on the other side, they march ten miles to Trenton in a blizzard to assault the 1,500 Hessian troops occupying the town.
Photo by Jimmy Kastner
Day Two: December 26, 1776
In the First Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army defeats the Hessians at Trenton, winning its first significant victory of the Revolutionary War to date. The army then crosses the Delaware River a 2nd time and returns to Pennsylvania with prisoners and captured goods.
Day Three: December 27, 1776
Washington and his generals cross the Delaware River a 3rd time into New Jersey and discover the enemy has withdrawn from the Trenton area.
Day Four: December 28, 1776
After convening a council of war, Washington and his generals plan to defend Trenton from Cornwallis.
Day Five: December 29, 1776
The Continental Army crosses the Delaware River at several ferry crossings and returns to Trenton.
Day Six: December 30, 1776
Washington persuades a slim majority of his soldiers to remain with the Continental Army for another six weeks by promising to pay each soldier $10 in hard coin. Washington’s force of 6,000 men prepares a defense on high ground south of Assunpink Creek in Trenton.
Day Seven: December 31, 1776
The Continental Army advances from Trenton toward Princeton, which is occupied by enemy forces.
Day Eight: January 1, 1777
The Continental Army skirmishes with British and Hessian troops in Princeton on New Year’s Day.
Day Nine: January 2, 1777
In the Second Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army fights 8,000 British and Hessian troops under General Cornwallis. The army repelled Cornwallis’s attacks along Assunpink Creek until dusk. Cornwallis noted that he planned to “bag the fox in the morning.”
Day Ten: January 3, 1777
Overnight, Washington and his troops withdraw from Trenton and begin to march to Princeton, where they defeat the British and Hessian forces. This victory in the Battle of Princeton is their third and final triumph, thus ending the military campaign associated with the Ten Crucial Days.
Epilogue: January 3-8, 1777
The Continental Army makes its way from Princeton to Morristown, New Jersey, where it establishes its winter quarters.
When you register for an individual event, you will get a link to distribute and gain referrals. If you get 5 people to register using your link, you will get a $10 discount. They must use your link to register or the referral will not count. Spread the word!!
*Referrals can not be combined with other discounts.
Registering 4 or more at once? A $5 discount per person will automatically be applied! Not Eligible during the first week registration is open at $40 each. Valid after 11/15/2021
5 Registrants per team get a $5 discount per person, 10 Registrants per team get a $10 discount per person. Once the 5th and 10th person registers, the previous registrants will get a $5 refund.
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