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  1. #1
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    Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    http://home.mchsi.com/~brian.chapman/March_to_Valley_Forge-NO_ID.jpg

    ----------

    It's just days before Christmas 1777. Bedraggled, fatigued, ill-clothed (many without shoes, hence the bloody footprints), hungry beyond reason, the rag-tag Continental Army slowly marches toward Valley Forge, where it will establish winter quarters.

    For me, this scene reminds one of faith, loyalty, sacrifice beyond the abiities of we 21st Century citizens to measure, and, thus, fully understand.

    I'm a Revolutionary War addict, and I hope a few friends here might not mind my offering this painting as a reminder of the season, a reminder of what we hold dear.

    In this painting, our 6-foot-4 General, age 45, vigilantly bears witness to a revolutionary, almost inhuman, drive to establish a nation based on the rule of law rather than monarchical prerogative.

    Few Americans understand, I think, that this man is one of the great figures of humankind. Persistent - he maintained disciplined self-control with an eye on the final prize through every challenge; Sacrificing - during 8-1/2 years in the field, one can count on both hands the number of days he spent at his beloved Mt. Vernon; Loyal - Always he deferred to Congress, and on three occasions he refused movements to make him an American king (Napoleon said that the French people wanted him to be Washington but that he could not do it).

    In my readings, I have been most startled by Washington's absolute fearlessness in battle. During his life, time and again he exposed himself to battlefield dangers without a care to his own safety. Horses were killed out from under him, his clothing pierced with musket balls the size of bumblebees. No fear on a level I cannot comprehend.

    Our Continentals went to hell and back. Every Christmas-time, a vision of this painting springs to mind. I cannot escape it, likely because it has such profound meaning for our people, and Christmas, for me, is a somber reminder of past gifts for which we are forever grateful.

    Thank you for letting me share.


    Last edited by CyValley; 12-22-2008 at 02:53 PM.
    Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
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    We, the People, are the problem. I knew it!

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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    He was 6-4? Man I would have never guessed he was that tall.



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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    GW rocks. Read your history and learn it and teach it.


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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Quote Originally Posted by bostinelosd View Post
    He was 6-4? Man I would have never guessed he was that tall.
    Most places, I think, he's list at 6-3, but I read recently that when he died (antibiotics would have saved him) and was laid out on a table, someone measured him at 6-4.

    Also, biographers report that even at 225 pounds, there was no finer athlete in the colonies. A great horseman. And a terrific dancer (the ladies couldn't get enough of him!)

    I'd rather hoist a beer with John Adams (an outgoing guy) rather than with the General, but Washington was something else . . . something special.

    Happy Holidays!


    Last edited by CyValley; 12-23-2008 at 01:27 PM.
    Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
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    We, the People, are the problem. I knew it!

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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Quote Originally Posted by CyValley View Post
    http://home.mchsi.com/~brian.chapman/March_to_Valley_Forge-NO_ID.jpg

    ----------

    It's just days before Christmas 1777. Bedraggled, fatigued, ill-clothed (many without shoes, hence the bloody footprints), hungry beyond reason, the rag-tag Continental Army slowly marches toward Valley Forge, where it will establish winter quarters.
    I've also been very intrigued by this war anecdote and Washington's character.

    Can you provide any more detail / info regarding the surprise attack on the Hessians Christmas Eve? From what little I've read, I think I remember most Military historians saying this was a very risky maneuver. Had the Hessians not be taken off guard, Washington would have had him entire army pined against the banks of the frozen river with a well equipped / well rested enemy in front. Yikes.


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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Interesting. Speaking of GW, I just recently became aware that there were 8 "presidents" before GW starting with John Hanson. I seriously had no idea.


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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Quote Originally Posted by Go2Guy View Post
    I've also been very intrigued by this war anecdote and Washington's character.

    Can you provide any more detail / info regarding the surprise attack on the Hessians Christmas Eve? From what little I've read, I think I remember most Military historians saying this was a very risky maneuver. Had the Hessians not be taken off guard, Washington would have had him entire army pined against the banks of the frozen river with a well equipped / well rested enemy in front. Yikes.
    Hi, Go2Guy, I've got to rush off to work, but I love the question.

    From what I recall, Washington fervently wanted to pursue an aggressive campaign against the British but came to realize that the inherent American weaknesses in financially supporting and training an Army would not allow this. Consequently, reluctantly, Washington adopted a defensive strike and retreat strategy. He understood he had to outlast them to defeat them. In the end, seven British commanders came and went, and Washington stood alone. Victorious. The guy was a rock. A big rock.

    IIRC, Washington understood the movement was falling apart in the winter of 1777 (despite Saratoga), and that he had to make a bold strike to renew American morale.

    I don't recall many of the details of Princeton and Trenton. I've got some good Web sources, if you don't mind tomorrow I'll post a link. I'd like to review the details myself.


    Last edited by CyValley; 12-23-2008 at 02:14 PM.
    Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
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    We, the People, are the problem. I knew it!

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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
    Interesting. Speaking of GW, I just recently became aware that there were 8 "presidents" before GW starting with John Hanson. I seriously had no idea.
    Presidents of Congress during the Articles of Confederation era, I think?


    Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
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    We, the People, are the problem. I knew it!

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    Re: Favorite Christmas-time painting - Bloody Footprints

    Quote Originally Posted by Go2Guy View Post
    I've also been very intrigued by this war anecdote and Washington's character.

    Can you provide any more detail / info regarding the surprise attack on the Hessians Christmas Eve? . . .
    Go2Guy, just a minute ago I read this newspaper article about the Battle of Princeton and the pending loss of the battlefield. The article describes both the importance and Trenton and Princeton as the bookends to a critical 10 days.

    I enjoyed the read, hope you might find it useful, too. (Gad, I hope housing isn't built on the battlefield!)

    Re-enactors mark Battle of Princeton as turning point in history - Breaking News From New Jersey - NJ.com


    Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
    -George Washington

    We, the People, are the problem. I knew it!

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