Against the Ice: The story of December 1776

Against the Ice: The story of December 1776
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  • Item #: 9781620062760

Revolutionary Pennsylvania Series

A wintry December 1776 forced General Washington’s army to struggle against the ice, snow, sleet, and wind as well as against Hessian and British soldiers.

John L. Moore’s nonfiction book draws on first-person accounts to chronicle these struggles. In the weeks prior to Washington’s victory over the Hessians at Trenton:

  • Continental regiments coming south from Albany, New York, to join Washington in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County ran into a severe snowstorm as they marched across northern New Jersey.
  • Militia troops from Dover, Delaware, marched through snow to join Washington in eastern Pennsylvania. En route, they met a congressman fleeing Philadelphia who predicts that Washington may soon need “to obtain the best terms (of surrender) that could be had from the enemy.”
  • A Philadelphia militia company, ordered to make a night march, “hadn’t marched far before it began to rain and snow,” the sergeant said. When the men reached their objective, they were “as wet as rain could make us and cold to numbness.”

Washington’s offensive against Trenton began on a “fearfully cold and raw” Christmas night on the Delaware River’s Pennsylvania side with “a snow storm setting in,” an officer said.

“The wind is northeast and beats in the faces of the men,” the officer said. “It will be a terrible night for the soldiers who have no shoes.” Even so, the soldiers crossed into New Jersey, then marched nine miles to Trenton.

Downriver, hundreds of General John Cadwalader’s militiamen also managed to reach New Jersey even though, as Colonel Joseph Reed reported, “the ice began to drive with such force and in such quantities as threatened many boats with absolute destruction.” Cadwalader called off the offensive when his men couldn’t get the cannons ashore.


John L. Moore of Northumberland is a writer and storyteller whose subjects deal with real people and actual events in Pennsylvania history.

Against the Ice: The story of December 1776 is the fourth book in his Revolutionary Pennsylvania Series, which details the stories of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians caught up in the American Revolution.

The volume is the author’s 12th non-fiction book. It is a companion to Tories, Terror, and Tea (2017), Scorched Earth: General Sullivan and the Senecas (2018) and 1780: Year of Revenge (2019).

Sunbury Press published the eight non-fiction books in Moore’s Frontier Pennsylvania Series in 2014.

Mr. Moore has participated in several archaeological excavations of Native American sites. These include the Village of Nain in Bethlehem, Pa.; the City Island project in Harrisburg, Pa., conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; a Bloomsburg University dig in 1999 at a Native American site near Nescopeck, Pa.; and a 1963 excavation of the New Jersey State Museum along the Delaware River north of Worthington State Forest.

Mr. Moore’s 46-year newspaper career (1966-2012) included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown, Pa.; editorial page editor, city editor and managing editor of The Daily Item in Sunbury, and editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem, Pa. He was also a Harrisburg correspondent for Ottaway Newspapers in the early 1970s.

A professional storyteller, Moore specializes in historically accurate stories about Pennsylvanians. Wearing 18th century-style clothing, he often appears in the persona of Susquehanna Jack.

For information about Mr. Moore’s storytelling programs and books, please contact:

John L. Moore 552 Queen Street Northumberland, Pa. 17857

Telephone (570) 473-9803 Email:

by John L. Moore
Trade paperback - 5 x 8 x .3
126 Pages w/illustrations and maps
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic
HISTORY / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
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Price $9.99
Availability In-Stock

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