J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

“Washington’s Christmas Party” by Ada Simpson Sherwood

Ada Simpson Sherwood (1861-1959) was a teacher, education professor, and prolific author of the sorts of poems that schoolchildren learned to recite or sing around the last turn of the century. She was especially diligent in writing about Revolutionary history.

The 25 Jan 1894 Journal of Education published six poems under the headline “Washington’s Birthday Selections,” for teachers to use in the coming month. Three were by Sherwood. This one is to the turn of “Yankee Doodle.”
Washington’s Christmas Party

Come, all who love a merry tale,
With joke both true and hearty,
We’ll tell you how George Washington
Once made a Christmas party.
Across the Delaware quite plain,
The British flag was vaunted,
His troops ill-clad, the weather bad,
And yet he was undaunted.

“Come, boys,” he said, “we’ll go to-night
Across the raging river;
The troops will be at Christmas sports,
And will suspect it, never.
The Hessians all will keep this night,
With games and feasting hearty,
We’ll spoil their fun with sword and gun,
And take their Christmas party.”

And as they row across the stream,
Tho storms and ice pursue them,
The fishermen from Marblehead
Knew just how to go thru them.
Upon the farther shore they form
And then surround the city,
The Hessians all, after their ball
Were sleeping. What a pity!

And when at last, at call to arms,
They tried to make a stand, sir,
They soon took fright and grounded arms.
To Washington’s small band, sir.
Across the stream they took that day,
One thousand Hessians hearty.
Their fun was spoiled, their tempers roiled,
By this famed Christmas party.
The picture above comes from the same era: “Washington Inspecting the Captured Colors after the Battle of Trenton” by Edward Percy Moran (1862-1935), courtesy of Wikipedia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Diligent." Now there's faint praise.