The Crossing (2000 film)

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The Crossing is a 2000 historical TV film about George Washington crossing the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton.

Directed by Robert Harmon. Written by Howard Fast, based on his novel of the same name.

Gen. George Washington[edit]

And if I, a bumbling Virginia farmer, should decide to lead them into hell, they will follow me into hell.
The Army will advance!
  • No one hates the British like a Dutch Merchant. (Reflecting on the motives of a Patriot spy in New York)
  • Reserve your opinions, Gentlemen. Hear me out. Across the river, ten miles downstream, is the village of Trenton. It is held by 1,200 Hessians with Raul in command. They have food, warm clothing, blankets, tents, cannons, muskets, ammunition, in short, everything we need. In four days it will be Christmas. There will be a great deal of feasting and a great deal of drinking by the Hessians that day and night. I propose that on the eve of December 25th, we cross the river, march on Trenton, and attack the Hessians before dawn. And if God is with us, we'll take the whole lot of them.
  • You are right, my men are not soldiers, they are lads. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. They run away. They fear the Hessians as they fear death. All this is true. Yet, they have put their trust in me. They could have deserted, thousands have, but these lads have not. They remain with me. And I, not you General Gates, I command this army. And if I, a bumbling Virginia farmer, should decide to lead them into hell, they will follow me into hell.
  • The Army will advance!
  • Now listen to me, we have won our first victory in twelve months. We attacked the enemy for the first time, and out of some miracle, or the graciousness of God, or the idiocy of war, we have survived. What can you be thinking? Have we won the war? Gentlemen, this is only the beginning of the war. We have two thousand men. The enemy has twenty thousand. And I swear, I will not eat, nor will I sleep, until I have put that river between him and us.

Gen. Horatio Gate[edit]

  • Firstly, my dear Sir, in order to attack, one needs an army. You do not have an army. Secondly, in order to attack, one needs Soldiers. Your men are not Soldiers. Thirdly, your troops always go in one direction. To attack, requires the other direction.
  • There is no way to cross the river and keep such a plan from the Hessians. They have spies everywhere. The crossing will take hours. And long before you reach the other shore, the Hessians will have their artillery on your boats. Those big durham boats make damn good targets. Even a Yankee gunner couldn't miss them.
  • Surrender. This revolution is over.


  • Less than a thousand men fit for duty? No food, no clothing? These Hessians are the best Soldiers in the world. The boys we lead are as frightened of them as a Salem pastor at the sight of a witch.
    • Gen. Hugh Mercer
  • My men are riflemen. Sharpshooters. They won't take kindly to muskets and bayonets.
    • Cadman
  • We are going in, all of us. With cold steel at night.
    • Gen. Nathaniel Greene


Gen. George Washington: Gentlemen. I will speak bluntly. Six months ago, when our army held New York City, we had twenty thousand men and over three hundred pieces of artillery. How many men here are fit for duty, any kind of duty?
Gen. Nathanael Greene: Less than two thousand, Sir.
Gen. George Washington: Henry, how many pieces of artillery?
Gen. Henry Knox: Eighteen, Sir.
Gen. George Washington: Less than two thousand men, eighteen guns, and we presume to fight against the most powerful nation on face of the earth. In doing so, we have been smashed, and smashed again. We have been flushed and chased and punished. Now I must write to Congress and tell them of our condition. Well, Gentlemen, what shall I tell them?
Col. John Glover: That we are on the West bank of the river, General. And that the British are on the East. And that their is no boat worth calling a boat on this river that is not in your hands.

Gen. Horatio Gate: You will not defeat Hessians. They are European Soldiers. The most disciplined, the most rigorously trained, the best Soldiers on earth, and you bloody well know that! Why their superiority-
Gen. George Washington: There superiority will be their undoing.
Gen. Horatio Gate: Oh my dear Sir, please...
Gen. George Washington: Their training has not prepared them for an attack of this nature. They will be roused from their beds and we will not give them time to achieve the formations with which they are comfortable.
Gen. Horatio Gate: I fear for your sanity General, I fear that you are no longer fit for command.
It means that the whole thing is a damned lunatic affair. But if you're determined to ride into hell, I'll go along. And my fishermen will go to. When all's said and done, there's no alternative, is there?

Col. John Glover: You want my opinion?
Gen. George Washington: Forthrightly and honestly.
Col. John Glover: I think you've lost your mind.
Gen. George Washington: Well, that's plainly said, Col Glover, but its quite beside the point. The question is, can you do it?
Col. John Glover: No I cannot. But I will.
Gen. George Washington: What the devil does that mean?
Col. John Glover: It means that the whole thing is a damned lunatic affair. But if you're determined to ride into hell, I'll go along. And my fishermen will go to. When all's said and done, there's no alternative, is there?
Gen. George Washington: I think not.

Gen. Nathaniel Greene: Yes, Captain Heineman.
Capt. Heineman: Yah. My boys are Pennsylvania German, and they good boys, and brave boys. But to them the Hessians seem to be the ah... Tuefel… Devil, be the Devil. Und and if I tell them last moment zat we fight the Hessian, they become... too nervous. Umm.. However I tell them now, we can talk about it and it's better this way for us... Istenka… Better, better this way.
Gen. Nathaniel Greene: (To Col. Glover) What do you think?
Col. John Glover: Well he can tell them, it's safe enough. No one can understand a word they say anyway.

Col. John Glover: Would you attack the Hessians in open daylight?
Gen. George Washington: That is a damn fool question. I have no intention of attacking in daylight.
Col. John Glover: But would you?
Gen. George Washington: Glover, speak plainly, if you will!
Col. John Glover: Very well. Let us say we push off the boats at half past five. Full darkness. That will give us six and a half hours for crossing. You plan to march to Trenton at midnight. A night march in this weather, with men who will already be wet, freezing, and exhausted. If you can whip them, and the guns along, at two miles an hour, you can get to Trenton before dawn.
Gen. George Washington: We will do three miles an hour.
Col. John Glover: I'm not saying you will, I'm not saying you won't. But there's ice in the river. And as God is my witness their is no man on earth who can carry that army across in six hours. Or ten hours. So you will be coming into Trenton in daylight. Providing we can cross that damn river at all.
In the end Sir, we all kill for profit. The British and the Hessians. And us.

Gen. Nathaniel Greene: General Washington, Colonel Rall is dying. General Mercer says you cannot let him die without speaking to him. It's a courtesy of war.
Gen. George Washington: Courtesy? There are no courtesies of war, Nathaniel. This is not a parlor game, where I must pay my respects to that stinking mercenary who killed five hundred of my men in Brooklyn. Slaughtered them when they tried to surrender. Skewered them in the back with bayonets. Do you want me to weep for those bastards? Men who kill for profit?
Gen. Nathaniel Greene: Our own cause is at its heart a fight against British taxation, is it not? In the end Sir, we all kill for profit. The British and the Hessians. And us.
Gen. George Washington: Very well, Nathaniel. We must not let them think we are savages.
Why did they do it?
I suppose they trust you.
More the fools.
And love you.

Gen. George Washington: Do you how I have felt these past twenty-four hours?
Gen. Hugh Mercer: I can guess.
Gen. George Washington: Like a madman. Sending these beautiful lads to their deaths. All these boys who would follow me... Why did they do it?
Gen. Hugh Mercer: I suppose they trust you.
Gen. George Washington: More the fools.
Gen. Hugh Mercer: And love you.


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