"My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than can be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably can never do under any other circumstances."

Washington, encouraging his men to re-enlist in the army | Tuesday, December 31, 1776


Editorial Notes

Less than a week after his successful surprise attack on the Hessians at Trenton, Washington and the American Army faced another crisis.  On the last day of December, the enlistments of many of his soldiers would be up.  The men were looking forward to going home, but if they left, Washington might not be able to continue the fight for freedom.  Lining up his command, he made a personal appeal for them to re-enlist.  About half the men agreed to stay, making possible another victory just three days later at Princeton.

George Washington, encouraging his men to re-enlist in the army | Tuesday, December 31, 1776


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