Just one week after his Christmas victory General Washington’s men were ready to leave him and our fledgling country. On December 31st, Washington assembled his men in formation beside the Delaware River.
From atop his horse, Washington told his veteran troops he would give them a $10 bonus if they stay on and fight—a sizable sum given that their typical pay was $6 a month.
Washington waited. But no one stepped forward.
The dejected general then rose away on his horse, pondered his army’s plight, decided not to take no for an answer, and rode back before speaking these historic words:
“My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could 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 can probably never do under any other circumstances.”