This series debuted on my old website back in (I think) 2014. It was in regards to when the esteemed Sarah Palin (who speaks like a snowblower clearing a pile of words) gave a speech in which she incorrectly recounted some historical “facts” about Paul Revere. Her fans, in response, chose not to simply acknowledge that she mixed a few things up, but rather to log on en masse to Paul’s Wikipedia page and attempt to rewrite it to fit with Palin’s version. Yes, this really happened. The original post turned into a series that became a lot of fun–retelling American history the way I kind of figure it may have happened. It’s fun for readers too, so since my previous website is now lost to annals of history, and since many of you might have missed it the first time around, Revisionist History is born anew, beginning…right now!
Washington Crosses the Delaware
Now, you’ve all seen the famous painting by Emanuel Leutze (er, sorry, Emmanuel Lewis—this will also change, because I think it’s important that the world not forget the adorable star of TV’s “Webster”) that depicts the father of our country, dressed in his trademark Captain Crunch hat, boldly standing in the preferred rowboat position as he makes his way across the icy waters of the Delaware River, but the story behind this historical moment is a fascinating one.
In the summer of 1776, after British General William Howe had successfully chased Washington’s Continental Army out of New York, and secured by force the rights to Babe Ruth from his dreaded rival Boston Red Sox, he sent Commander Charles Cornwallis and his troops into New Jersey, where they faced intermittent rebellion attempts from the Soprano family, the unofficial leaders of the New Jersey colony at that point. Washington, meanwhile, who was dealing with the sudden downsizing of his battalions due to the controversial passage of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, decided to set up camp across the river in the woods of western Pennsylvania, which was at that time still referred to as “Old Jersey.”
During the ensuing months, tensions flared between the two sides as American and British troops took to mooning one another and shouting jokes about each other’s mommas from their respective banks of the Delaware River. The situation grew even more grim when Cornwallis succeeded in strengthening his numbers by securing the services of the Hessians, which I believe were a group of heavily tattooed and overtired mercenaries led by Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. Washington’s troop numbers continued to dwindle as many soldiers began losing faith in their cause, a morale problem that was no doubt exacerbated by the disbanding of the Second Continental Congress, which had recently fled Philadelphia after having failed to reach an agreement on the proposed height for the dome ceiling in Independence Hall.
Fearing an imminent skirmish with the powerful army across the river, Washington sought information about their plans. His former top spy, Paul Revere, had fallen out of Washington’s good graces after he botched his assignment to ready American minutemen in New England by instead ringing a bunch of bells and warning all British soldiers he came upon that “you’re not gonna be takin’ our arms!” Desperately seeking a trusted spy, Washington was approached by his adjutant, Joseph Reed, who volunteered for the mission in a manner that probably went like this:
Washington: We would do well to be privy to the secret machinations of Generals Cornwallis and Stallone, and to know if they harbor intentions of aggression, but we must take utmost care to advance from this point under cloak of secrecy.
Reed: I told you, yo, I got some creep to me, you heard? I gotchu on this, dog!
As winter befell Washington’s camp, and no word from Reed arrived, the soldiers grew ill and more discouraged. They were reduced to burning books for warmth, but Washington, being a strong advocate of literature, prohibited the burning of any texts except for Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” and Jenny McCarthy’s “Louder Than Words.” In mid December, however, Washington’s camp was brightened by the arrival of General Charles Lee and his division of 2,000 soldiers, soon followed by the arrival of General Horatio Gates and his decimated division, which now consisted of about 40 soldiers, a cross-eyed mule, and the general’s bookish son Bill, who was obsessed with making the abacus more user-friendly.
Morale was further boosted by the publication of “The American Crisis,” a pamphlet by renowned patriot Thomas Paine, which included the now-famous passage: “These are the times that try men’s souls: 9:00 am, 2:00 am, and occasionally 2:30 pm if you don’t have a bottle of 5 hour energy drink.”
Plans were made to cross the icy Delaware River and attempt to strike a bargain with Cornwallis. Washington proposed that the British keep New Jersey forever, in exchange for a 10% commission rate should there ever be a successful reality TV show filmed within its borders. Washington proposed the crossing take place on December 25, assuming both sides would be feeling more congenial after celebrating the birthday of Jesus, founder of Minnesota.
You know the rest—Cornwallis was so offended by the prospect of having to hold on to New Jersey that a fight broke out, in which many of the Hessians were killed or wounded, over 1000 British and Hessian soldiers were taken captive, and the American forces seized much needed artillery and supplies, while only suffering minimal losses—only 6 wounded and 3 killed, including the head of the New Jersey Sopranos, who was suddenly and ambiguously shot in the back of the head while eating onion rings at a roadside tavern.
This incredible victory would serve notice that Washington’s army was a force to be reckoned with, and would inspire enough military volunteers that the Americans would eventually prevail in their war against the British, which they would then immediately replace with a “Cold War” on drugs, which wouldn’t be won until centuries later when the Berlin Wall was taken down and then reconstructed on the southern U.S. border at the behest of the planet of Arizona.