tv Legends Lies The Patriots FOX News December 24, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
to see and that's how fox reports. december 24th, christmas eve and i am molliy line. and happy hanukkah. >> previously on "legends and lies: the patriots"... >> my god. this is my army? you ask 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 any more. we must evacuate across the river. [ wind howls ] >> keep your eyes open, elijah. a fat turkey for christmas dinner is the best gift ma could ask for. >> i wish pa would come home. that would be the best gift. [ turkeys gobbling ] [ birds squawking ] >> make all haste, general green. we 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? [ cannon fires in distance ] down! you boys all right? >> yeah. are you general washington? >> i am... unfortunately.
>> ♪ my country, 'tis of thee ♪ sweet land of liberty ♪ land where my fathers died ♪ land of the pilgrims' pride ♪ from every mountainside ♪ let freedom ring >> pushed to their limits by an oppressive empire, a determined group of rebels unites under the cause of liberty. 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. >> make all haste, gentlemen. we are being pursued. >> christmas in the newborn united states of america. what should be a time of celebration is instead a time of brutal war, and for george washington, a time of despair. after suffering crushing defeat in new york, the continental army has done nothing but run from the british. 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 legend lies the truth. >> the second half of 1776 is
disastrous for george washington and the continental army. the british seize new york and new jersey and hold thousands of american soldiers 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 them back, harry, whatever you do. everything depends on the defense of the water's edge. don't let anyone cross this river unless they have a pass signed by me. >> consider them held, your excellency. >> after forcing washington to retreat from brooklyn, the british run the continental army out of manhattan, chasing them through new jersey, all the way to the pennsylvania side of the delaware river. washington's meager force is now all that stands between the
british and america's capital, philadelphia. >> it became clear after the battle of new york that washington could never square off with the british again. they were too formidable, they were too well-trained, they were too well-schooled, but yet they needed to prove that they could stay on the same battlefield with the brits. so, for washington, he needed to prove to the congress that put him in charge, and he needed to prove to his men that he was the right man, he had the right mission, and he had the right plan. >> you're stopping the troops? >> general gates. >> washington is feeling the pressure, not only from the british, but from congress, and even his own men. general horatio gates, a former british officer, now a senior continental general, is after washington's job. >> why in god's name have you encamped here, your excellency? the british will surely follow us! 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 exists to protect the american people, not to run away from them. >> despite washington's resolve, the end seems near for the american revolution. enlistments are set to expire in just days, and many soldiers have already deserted. thousands more suffer torture and brutal abuse as prisoners of war, many in 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 german
mercenaries. the hessians' brutal tactics begin forcing new jersey into submission. >> the hessian mercenaries are so feared that they get their own mention in the declaration of independence. they had a reputation of being cold-blooded killers. >> monsters! [ woman screams ] >> aah! >> german troops commit atrocities everywhere. there are farms being burned. there are rapes. and when the american people see their farms ruined, their families, their wives, and their children suffering, they begin to decide that it's not worth
it. the cause has reached a moment where it's on the verge of failure, because the american people are losing hope. washington is devastated by witnessing what's happening. >> that the enemy will leave nothing untried in the course of this campaign to reduce these states to the rule of a most lawless and insufferable tyranny must be obvious to everyone. >> with the hessians ravaging new jersey, it's 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 classic european warfare -- defeat the opponent in key battles and take the capital city as a trophy. but washington has two things in his favor -- the british grossly underestimate both his intelligence operation and his army's commitment to fight for
its homeland. [ wind howls ] >> to win this unwinnable war, washington needs intelligence on his counterpart, british commander general william howe. inside enemy headquarters disguised as a loyalist is john mersereau, a trusted spy who works for washington throughout the war. >> that old fox washington's beaten. he's camped in the mud with sick men. winter will finish him off. i've had quite enough of this blasted, frozen countryside. i shall be 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 hired hessian troops at a string of garrisons throughout new jersey. >> colonel von donop... your troops will take the post alongside the river, right next to the enemy. colonel rall, you shall have command at trenton. >> yah. if i can tempt washington over here, then i'll capture him! >> the british thought they had won. they had conquered the main american cities, the different towns. and so i think they really wrote off george washington. but washington is thinking
about a comeback, thinking about a way to retaliate against the british. >> thanks to howe's arrogance, washington may be able to isolate a smaller force at a single garrison, scoring a victory and boosting american morale. >> ♪ come, all ye faithful >> with christmas approaching, new jersey's citizens reach a breaking point and begin fighting back against the foreign mercenaries ransacking their homeland. [ horse neighing ] [ muskets fire ] >> rally the militia. go! >> everyday americans are standing up against a larger, stronger, more ruthless foe. if george washington is going to turn the war around and save the revolution, now is the time.
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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 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 the cause. >> to take trenton successfully, washington must separate its hessian occupiers from reinforcements. >> washington's strategy is to
divide and conquer the hessian forces. colonel griffin's militia must lure von donop and his men south of trenton, allowing washington to attack commander rall 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'll have the element of surprise. >> fire! fall back! fall back to mount holly! >> as washington hopes, colonel von donop takes the bait. >> [ yells in german ] >> believing he has the upper hand, von donop chases the retreating americans... >> schnell! schnell! >> ...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 and limbers 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 reignite the american spirit of revolution. but unbeknownst to the general, a british spy is recording his every move. >> successful war is prosecuted, first on the basis of really good intel. this is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game between the british and the american sides.
>> but washington has spies of his own, and as the new jersey militia lures colonel von donop south to mount holly, a prosperous town ripe for looting and pillaging, the next phase of the plan is put into motion. >> [ speaking in german ] [ horse neighs ] >> can i help you? >> do not fear. i'm only looking for a bed for the night.
>> it is well-documented that carl von donop stays with a beautiful young widow in mount holly. but her identity remains unknown. some historians suggest she may be an agent working for washington, or even the famous betsy ross, a young widow devoted to the cause. regardless, the mysterious woman is a godsend for the americans because she keeps von donop 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
[ animal hooting ] >> the fate of the american revolution rests on a single operation to capture trenton, new jersey. but before risking everything, washington needs confirmation from a top spy that the city is truly vulnerable. >> captain mersereau, what have you to report? >> von donop and his hessians have pursued colonel griffin all the way to mount holly, and it seems von donop has taken up with a local widow. >> is that so? very good, captain. carry on.
>> if you're taking on a superior army, who's better trained, like the hessians, you had to have the element of surprise. and through espionage, washington was able to do that. he found out 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 for 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, in total troops. but they're spread out, along the delaware river. with colonel von donop out of position, commander rall is left with just 1,400 men inside trenton. plus, it's 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's at least an unspoken tradition that you don't go around attacking other armies on christmas day. this was an audacious thing. but the hessians were amongst 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 greene's brigades along pennington 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 bold and extremely risky. he will cross the delaware north of trenton and march into the city, while two defensive units cross downstream, to cut off reinforcements and a hessian retreat. >> you intend to cross the half-frozen delaware in the midst of a snowstorm? >> 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.
[ horse neighs ] >> at daybreak, the continental army mobilizes for battle. still, only a handful of officers are given the details. >> these our christmas present, sir? >> these are for tonight. don't forget them or your weapon. >> the old fox wants to hold a review on christmas? >> not a review. a mission. >> a mission? where 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. >> there's gonna be a fight tonight. >> [ coughs ]
>> washington has a narrow window of opportunity. he has a committed fighting force for just a few more days. with it, he could turn the fate of the revolution, but only if his plan remains a secret. >> ♪ while shepherds watched their flocks at night, all seated on the ground, an angel of the lord came down and glory shone around ♪ ♪ and glory shone around ♪ "fear not," said he, for mighty dread had seized their troubled minds ♪ ♪ "let tidings of 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 paycheck. for washington's continental army, they were fighting for freedom. and, one way or another, this was gonna be a christmas they never forgot. >> ♪ the heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed ♪ ♪ simply wrapped in swaddling-clothes and in a manger laid, and in a manger laid ♪ ♪ if you're going to wish, wish big at the lexus december to remember sales event get up to $2500 customer cash on select 2016 and 2017 models for these terms.
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snowstorm 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 reach trenton simultaneously. godspeed, gentlemen. >> this is the moment where it is truly do-or-die. ice floes are rushing down. pretty soon it's going to be impossible to cross, but they have to take the chance. >> safe travels, your excellency! happy christmas! >> and a happy christmas to you, too.
>> we're talking about transporting artillery, cannons, horses, and all of this in a blinding snow, freezing temperatures, howling wind, with the worst possible circumstances. >> press on, boys! >> washington is risking everything on this one attack. and, as the hours pass, it looks like he may lose 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. >> ♪ ...the rarest dish in all the land, which thus bedecked with a gay garland ♪ ♪ let us servire cantico ♪ through the king of bliss -- >> excuse me, mr. barnes. what is it? >> i've come from the american camp. an attack is imminent. >> let the americans come. my men will go at them with the
bayonet! >> washington benefits from the sheer 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 rall's indifference is a stroke of luck for washington. but elsewhere, his operation's luck is running out. downriver, massive ice jams force his two defensive units 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. [ horse neighs ] >> what is that? >> it's the hessians! they're coming!
>> what army is this? >> the 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 oppressors. >> there were better tacticians than george washington, there were better military planners than george washington, but almost no one in american history has proven to be better in the clutch than george washington. washington had something special, and whatever he had, people believed in him. >> general, it's nearly dawn. i doubt we'll manage to surprise them. >> press on! press on, boys! >> the going is slow. washington fears that come sunrise, they will surely be detected. >> washington's plan hinges on
surprise and timing. they've already blown their timetable, and they still have to march nearly 10 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. the troops must navigate steep hills and flooded ravines in the predawn darkness. poorly dressed and drenched from the snow and sleet, two soldiers actually die from exposure before they even reach the battleground. >> some christmas, eh? [ horse neighs ] >> der feind! der feind! the enemy! >> stand! alarm! alarm! stand! alarm! >> the myth is that the hessians
were drunk, that they had been partying all night. what was actually the case was that the hessians were just plain worn out because of what washington had been doing the preceding days, which is to send raiding parties of militia and cavalry to ride around trenton, to break lines of communication. >> alarm! alarm! >> god be praised! may his vengeance be swift and terrible. >> follow me, men! >> 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 soldiers, the same men who overpowered them back in new york. some would say a victory will take nothing less than a christmas miracle.
>> ah! >> the only option now is to declare our independence. >> america is at war, dr. franklin. >> welcome home. >> for more revealing stories on these and other patriots featured in "legends and lies," purchase the companion book, available at billoreilly.com and bookstores nationwide. see me. see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that... ...i won't stop until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. proven to help the majority of people find clear or almost clear skin. 8 out of 10 people saw 75% skin clearance at 3 months. while the majority saw 90% clearance. do not use if you are allergic to cosentyx. before starting, you should be tested for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur... ...tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms...
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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. >> yes, your excellency! >> schnell! what is going on? schnell! schnell! >> washington's master stroke is that he broke all kinds of conventions of european warfare. he's fighting in winter, and he's fighting on a holiday, and he also is fighting in a snowstorm. >> fire!
>> here succeeded a scene of war of which i had often conceived but never seen before. the hurry, fright, and confusion of the enemy was not unlike that which will be when the last trumpet shall sound. >> fire! >> the hessians begin surrendering -- ones, twos, fours, entire regiments. it's over within an hour.
>> the continental forces have killed or wounded over a hundred hessians, captured 900, and sent the remaining fleeing out into the countryside. >> this is a glorious day for our country. >> a christmas blessing, indeed, sir. colonel rall is asking for you. >> is he now? >> he's been shot. they've put him in the english church. >> i hope he's saying his prayers.
>> [ strained ] 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 a courtesy to his enemies that his enemies clearly had 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, but george washington makes a point to show that the american army does things differently. >> later that day, johann rall
dies from his injuries. but in mount holly, colonel von donop and his 2,000 hessians are still very much alive. >> colonel von donop! colonel von donop! >> if they can reach trenton in time, washington's victory could turn to defeat. >> colonel von donop! colonel von donop! >> what is it? >> the americans have taken trenton. colonel rall is dead. >> mein gott.
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colonel rall is dead. >> mein gott. >> by the time word reaches colonel von donop, it's too late. >> [ speaking in german ] washington has secured a complete victory, and christmas is to be celebrated by the americans, not the hessians. >> in the end, those hessian troops were routed to trenton, and it became a gigantic propaganda victory for the american army and a huge public-relations battle for the british. >> the battle of trenton, it was quick, is decisive, and it was impressive. hessian soldiers were even quoted as saying, "man, these guys can fight." it sent a message not only to
the british troops, to the dutch, most of all to the french, that these guys are playing for keeps, that they have a shot. this isn't an uprising. this is a movement, and they're not going anywhere. >> i thank the officers and soldiers for their spirited and gallant behavior at trenton. their behavior upon this occasion reflects the highest honor upon them. >> 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. [ crowd cheers ]
>> this hour, when he talks, washington listens. charles krauthammer -- his >> this hour u when he talks, washington listens. pulitzer prize, how he overcame a devastating accident with the determination to lead a life that matters. hello. i'm bret baier, and i hope you'll enjoy watching this "fox news reporting" special as much as we enjoyed making it. fox viewers know where charles krauthammer sits on the panel, and they probably know his position on most issues. but we bet there's a lot you don't know about the all-star panelist, syndicated columnist, harvard trained psychiatrist, and even occasional baseball analyst. we think you should, even if the