tv Legends Lies The Patriots FOX News December 24, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
news is the first draft of history. it is immediate and takes place in real time. legends take longer to develop and are sometimes based on myth. this fox news series looks at the truth behind the legend. previously on legends and lies: the patriots. >> my god. this is my army? >> you asked what i need dr.
franklin. i need everything and i need it now or this war will be over before it even begins. >> let us declare our independence. >> all men are created equal. >> general howe's army is here. >> you are outmanned, and outgunned. >> hundreds of men died. i cannot lose anymore. we must evacuate across the river.
keep your eyes open elijah. >> haven't much time. you will have your boat within the hour. thank you for your service to our country. >> how do i get paid? >> that is a matter for congress to decide. good luck. what are you doing here? down! >> you boys all right? >> yeah. >> are you general washington? >> i am.
their quest for freedom will unify a people, ignite a revolution and forge a new system of government. in time, these brave men and women will come to be known as the american patriots. george washington, the nation's foremost founding father and its first president, a battle-weary and debt-ridden general ready americans are losing faith in the revolution and its commander. washington's last hope is a christmas victory. but behind every victory stands a man.
and behind every edge lies the truth. >> the british seize new york and new jersey and hold thousands prisoner. the continental army is battle worn and weary. morale is so low that some actually switch sides. washington needs a win like never before. not just to reinvigorate his troops but to preserve a chance for victory and the future of the country. >> hold him back, whatever you do. everything depends on the defense at the water's edge. don't let anyone cross this river. unless they have a pass signed by me. >> consider them held your excellence. >> after forcing washington to retreat from brooklyn the
british run the continental army out of manhattan. washington's meager force is now all that stands between the british and american's capital, philadelphia. >> it became clear after the battle in new york that washington could never square off with the british again. they were too formidable. they were two well-trained. they were two well-schooled. yet they needed to prove they could stay on the same battle field with the britts. for washington he needed to prove to congress who put him in charge and neede his men that he was the right man, with the right mission, and he had the right plan. >> washington is feeling the pressure, not only from the british but from congress, and even his own men. general horatio gates, is after washington's job. >> why in god's name have you
come here your excellency. we must continue to retreat. >> we'll run no farther, general. >> horatio gates is perpetually butting heads with george washington. he actually approaches congress to seek washington's removal from command. >> this army economisxists to p the american people. not to run away from them. ♪ >> despite washington's resolve the end seems near. enlistments expire in days and many soldiers are already desserted. many and hellish conditions on british prison ships, where the usual conventions of war are ignored for americans.
washington's army has dwindled to just a few thousand. while the british are bolstered by battalions of mercenaries. >> the mercenaries are so feared that they get their own mention in the declaration of independence. they had a reputation of being cold-blooded killers. >> german troops commit atrocities everywhere. there are murders. there are farms being burned.
there are rapes. and when the american people see their farms ruined. their families and their wives and their children suffering. they begin to decide that it is not worth it. the cause has begun to reach a moment that it's on the verge of failure. washington is devastated by witnessing what's happening. >> that the enemy will leave nothing untried in the course of these campaign to reduce these stakes to the rule of a most law less and unsufferable tyranny must be obvious to everyone. >> it is only a matter of time before they and their british masters invade pennsylvania. >> at this stage washington's top priority is preventing the british from crossing the delaware river and marching on philadelphia. this is class european welfare.
defeat the battle and take the capital. >> to win this unwinnable war, washington needs intelligence on his counterpart. british commander general william howe. inside enemy head quarters disguised as a loyalist is a john mercero, a trusted spy who works for washington throughout the war. >> washington is beaten. wint ler fini-- winter will fin him off. i've had quite enough of this blasted frozen countryside. i shall wintering in new york. >> general howe, confident
washington is no longer a threat makes a fateful decision. instead of continuing to philadelphia, howe will pause combat operations for the winter, falling back to new york and leaving mostly troops at a string of garrisons throughout new jersey. >> your troop, take the post alongside on the river. right next to the enemy. you shall have commander trenton. >> if i can attack washington over here, then i'll capture
him. >> the british thought they had won. they had conquered off the cities and towns but i they they had wrote you have major washington. but washington is thinking of a comeback. thinking of a way to comeback against the british. >> washington may be able to isolate a small force at the single garrison, scoring a victory and boosting american morale. with christmas approaching, new jersey citizens reach a breaking point and begin fighting back against the foreign mercenaries ransacking their homeland. >> rally the militia. go. >> every day americans are standing up against a larger,
stronger, more ruthless foe. if george washington was going to turn the war around and save the revolution. now is the time. leave complicated behind. what's in your wallet? for over 100 years like kraft has,natural cheese you learn a lot about what people want. honey, do we have like a super creamy cheese
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is facing near certain defeat unless he can find a way to strike back. >> monsters! [ woman screams, musket fires ] [ musket fires, horse neighs ] >> rally the militia. go warn colonel griffin. go! >> when new jersey militiamen rally, under the command of colonel samuel griffin, it gives washington the opportunity he's looking for. >> it's impossible to imagine a more challenging time for george washington. he was being urged by other officers, who perhaps wanted his job, "hunker down and hold off, because a loss could finish us." he says "no, i'm doubling up, picking up the pace, and we're taking the fight to them."
>> general washington, i've come from jersey. have raised 600 men. i ask permission to lead them in action against the enemy. >> permission granted, colonel griffin. >> very good, sir. >> though griffin commands only a small volunteer militia, he's the key to washington's plan to cross the delaware river and attack the hessian garrison at trenton, new jersey. colonel glover, a word. >> washington knows that the capture of that hessian garrison in of itself is not going to turn the tide. but what it will do is have a galvanizing effect on the . >> washington knows the capture of that garrison in and of itself is not going to turn the tide. but what it will do is have a galvanizing effect on the american people to realize that that flame is still burning in the nation's heart because washington and his few thousand men are still willing to give everything they have for cause. >> to take trenton successfully,
washington must separate its occupiers from rivers. >> washington's strategy is divide and conquer the forces. he must lure then south and allowing them to attack in the center of town. if the tactic works, for the first time in the war the americans will have superior numbers. but most importantly they will have the element of the surprise. >> as washington hopes. they take the bait. believing he has the upper hand,
they chase the retreating americans. moving farther from trenton, opening the city to attack as he does. awaiting word from griffin, washington orders his officers, including alexander hamilton and henry knox to prepare for battle. but he keeps the details secret. even from them. >> with your permission sir i'll set the men to altering the carriages for speed and maneuverability. >> see to it. >> for the first time in weeks washington has reason for optimism. if his plan is successful. he may reunite the american spirit of revolution. but unbeknownst to the general, a british spy is recording his every move. >> successful war is presidented first on the basis of really
good really good intelosecuted first on the basis of really good really good intel. this is cat and mouse between the american and british sides. >> but washington has spies of its own. and as the militia lures the troops south, the next phase of the plan is put into motion. . >> can i help you? >> do not fear, i'm only looking
for a bed for the night. >> it is well documented that he stays with a beautiful young widow in mount holly. but her identity is unknown. some authorities suggest he's an agent or even a young widow devoted to the cause. regardless the mysterious woman is a god send for the americans. because she keeps him occupied. >> i like you very much. >> women were crucial to washington's ever-growing spy ring. women like anna strong would hang laundry out in specific patterns and colors, would
indicate that documents were available for secret pick up. other women would hide in closets and take notes about what they were overhearing british generals discuss. >> thanks to the mysterious widow, the outpost at trenton is now open to attack. but to achieve the victory he and the country need, washington must lead the most daring surprise mission of the war, and do it on christmas day.
[ animal hooting ] >> the fate of the american revolution rests on a single operation to capture trenton, new jersey. but before risking everything, the fate of the american revolution rest ossen a sing operation to capture trenton new jersey. but before risking everything. washington needs confirmation from a top spy that the city is truly vulnerable. >> captain, what have you to report? >> i pursued conditional griffin all the way to mount holly. and it seems he's taken up with
a local widow. >> is that so? very good captain. carry on. >> if you are taking on a superior army who's better trained like the hessians, you had to have the element of surprise. and washington was able to do that. he found out that on christmas they were not ready for any attack. >> i trust, under the smiles of providence we may yet effect an important stroke or at least prevent general howe from executing his plans. >> if washington can take trenton, he could give america hope once more and begin to save the revolution.
>> i have asked you here because i see an opportunity an attack. on trenton. >> on christmas? >> precisely, captain hamilton. >> while enlistment in the continental army expires in a week, washington still has several thousand men who are fit to fight. the british outnumber the americans though. but they are spread out along the river. with men out of position they have just 1400 men left inside trenton plus it is christmas day. so if washington has any hope of pulling off a surprise attack, now is the time. >> this operation has no room for doubters. >> there is at least an unspoken tradition you don't go around attacking other armies on christmas day. this is an audacious thing but the hessians were among the most feared mercenaries in europe. and washington realizes that perhaps on christmas night maybe
they wouldn't be so tough. >> i will go with general green's brigades. along pengington road. general sullivan takes the river road. here is the key. we must attack trenton simultaneously, from both ends of town. a double envelopment. we'll trap the enemy between us. >> washington's plan is gold and extremely risky. he will cross the delaware north of trenton and march into the city. while two defensive units cross downstream to cutoff reinforcements and the hessian retreat. >> you intend to cross the half-frozen delaware in the midst of a snow storm? >> i do. do you take issue with that? >> not at all your excellency. >> gather your men and make your
preparations gentlemen. tomorrow, on christmas night, we attack. >> at daybreak, the continental army mobilized for battle. still only a handful of officers are given the details. >> these are christmas presents sir. >> these are for tonight. don't forget them or your weapon. >> on christmas. not a review. a mission. a mission. >> where are we marching off to? >> they haven't told me yet. all i know is keep your cartridges dry. and follow me. and one more thing. the password is victory or death, pass it on.
>> is there going to be a fight tonight. >> washington has narrow window of opportunity. he has a committed fighting force for just a few more days. with it he can turn the fate of the revolution. but only if he plan remains a secret. ♪ while shepherds watch the flocks at night ♪ ♪ seated on the ground ♪ angel of the lord came down ♪ and glory shown around ♪ and glory shown around ♪ enod said he for mighty dead ♪ had seized their troubled
minds ♪ ♪ glad tides and great joy i bring ♪ ♪ to you and all mankind ♪ to you and all mankind. >> these people were fighting for their own country. the people they were going against are just fighting for a check. where washington's continental army. they were fighting for freedom. and one way or another this was going to be a christmas they never forgot. ♪ ♪ all simply wrapped and in the manger lay ♪ ♪ and in the manger lay pretty cool. [laughs] ah... ahem... show me the carfax.
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as george washington prepares to lead his men in a daring attack across the ice-choked delaware river, a snow storm rages, only intensifying the mission. >> the weather is brutal. but george washington has energized his troops. for the first time in the war the continental army is truly on the offensive. the timing is right. washington's men know they have a real chance for a victory. >> gentlemen. synchronize your watches. we must be strict. god speed gentlemen. >> this is the moment where it is truly do or die. it's flows are rushing down. pretty soon it is going to be impossible to cross. they have to take the chance. >> happy christmas. >> and happy christmas to you
too. >> we're talking about transporting artillery, cannon, horses and all of this in a blinding snow. freezing temperature, howling winds with the worst possible --. >> washington is risking everything on this one attack. and as the hours pass, it looks like he may loose his gamble. even if he survives the weather, the element of surprise may be lost. as word of his mission reaches the hessian commander in trenton. ♪ >> excuse me. >> what is it? >> they have come from the
american camp. an attack is imminent. >> washington benefits from the shear indifference of commanders on the other side. the hessian commander in trenton is made aware of the encroaching american army and pockets the message without even reading it. >> colonel rawls indifference is a stroke of luck for washington. but elsewhere his operation's luck is running out. down river massive ice jams force them to abandon their mission. instead of enveloping trenton with a three pronged attack, washington must go it alone. if he's able to make it across the river. >> what that?
>> it is the hessians. they're coming. >> continental army of the united states. >> washington's men finally cross the delaware, four hours behind schedule. as the americans make their way through the new jersey countryside local citizens join their ranks eager to retaliate against their hessian oppressor. >> they were better tacticians than george washington. there were better planners. but almost no one in history has proven to be better in the clutch than georgia washington. washington had something special and whatever he had. people believed him. >> gentlemen. press on. press on. >> the going is slow. washington fears that come suns
they will surely be detected. washington's pl . >> washington's plan hinges on surprise and timing. they still have to march nearly ten miles before they reach trenton. >> what often gets forgotten is that the march to trenton is actually worse than crossing the delaware. the blizzard intensifies. and they have to navigate the obstacles. two soldiers actually died from exposure before they everyone reached the battleground. >> some christmas, eh? >>. [speaking foreign language] the enemy!
>> the message is that the hessians were drunk. they had been partying all night. actually they were just plain warn out because of what washington has bng doing was to send raiding parties to ride around trenton. to break lines of communication. >> alarm! alarm! >> god be praise. may his vengeance be swift and terrible. >> amazingly washington pulls off the crossing, survives the march and even as the cover of darkness ends, still manages to surprise the hessians. now his exhausted troops must defeat the seasoned soldier, the same men who overpowered them back in new york.
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>> with the element of surprise on their side, george washington's army plunges into battle to save the american revolution. >> take your men and occupy the buildings along the street. from the upper windows, you should have clear shots of the enemy. >> y es with the element of surpre on their side, george washington's and his army plunge into battle. >> washington's master stroke is that he broke all kind of conventions of european warfare. fighting in winter. he's fighting on a holiday.
and he also is fighting in a snow storm. >> here succeeds a scene of war of which i had often conceived but never seen before. the hurry, fright and confusion of the enemy was not unlikely that which will be when the last trump tower shall sound. >> fire! >> the hessians begin surrendering. ones, twos, fours. entire regimens.
it is over within an hour. >> get them up! >> the continental100 hessians, and sent the remaining fleeing out into the count countryside. >> this is a glorious day for our country. a christmas blessing indeed, sir. >> he's been shot. they have put him in the english church. >> i hope he's saying his prayers.
>> general washington. take care of my men. >> i give you my word. your men will be treated with all due consideration by the american army. >> this moment washington is extending courtesy to his enemies that his enemies clearly are not extended to americans. washington's promise to treat prisoners humanely shows what kind of man he really is. and the kind of country he wants america to be. the british hold american prisoners in deplorable conditions without heat or sanitation. many american soldiers die in captivity. george washington makes a point to show the american army does things differently.
>> later that day, raul dies from his injuries. but in mt. holly, the colonel and his 200 hessians are still very much alive. >> colonel! >> if they can reach trenton in time, washington's victories could turn to defeat. >> colonel! >> what is it? >> the americans have taken trenton. the colonel is dead. when you've been making delicious natural cheese for over 100 years like kraft has,
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>> the americans have taken trenton. the colonel is dead. >> my god. >> by the time word reaches the colonel -- >> yes! >> -- washington has secured complete victory and christmas is to be celebrated by the americans, not the hessians. >> in the end, the hessian troops were routed to trenton and it became a gigantic propaganda victory for the americans and a huge public relations battle for the british. >> the battle of trenton was quick and decisive and impressive. hessian soldiers were even
quoted as saying man, it sent a message to the troops. to the dutch and the french, these guys are playing for keeps. this isn't an uprising. this is a movement and they aren't going anywhere. >> i thank the soldiers for their spirit and gallantry. >> the following week, washington and his men fend off british counterattacks at trenton and princeton, new jersey. invigorated by the victories, the continental army swells to nearly 12,000 men. under washington's leadership, these patriots will go on to win
america's independence. >> the stunning victory at trenton is the most consequential in american history. washington's leadership and his soldiers' sacrifice give the army the morale boost it needs. to renew its fight and push through to the end of the war. washington's collection of patriotic fighters is symbolic of the country as a whole. still shaky on its feet but beginning to believe in itself and hold its own. the victory at trenton is george washington's christmas gift to america. now let us convict king george himself!
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