February 15, 2015
“American Crisis,” in Revolution 4 (A&E Television Networks, 2006), 46 min.
The video “American Crisis” begins in Manhattan, New York, in September of 1776. General Washington and was battling the British army, who was unstoppable in numbers and the fact that they had German soldiers called Hessians. The Hessians were brutally forceful in their fighting techniques, giving the British a great advantage. They led the British to overcome Fort Washington in only hours, causing the Rebels to surrender. During this time the Americans had experienced defeat after defeat and began to question Washington’s ability. Even his generals were losing confidence in him. By November, Washington had lost a great number of his men, most of who had been captured and placed in slave ships. They were forced into deplorable conditions where many died daily. At this time, a general by the name of Charles Lee was among those that had lost confidence in Washington. He hatched a plan to take over charge of the continental army. He was very skilled in a military manner and was very qualified for the position for commander. He began exchanging letters with Joseph Reid in his scheme against Gen. Washington. However, Washington accidentally received and read one of these letters and became aware of the plot. But, in his graceful nature, Washington chose to overlook the incident; although he was now aware that his power was weakening. It was also around this time that a proclamation was issued offering leniency to those who chose to keep allegiance to the king and considering those who remained Patriots to be traitors. This enforced a battle between the Loyalist and the Patriots, with the fate of the Revolution at hand: a tossup between Washington, Lee and the British army. In December of 1776, the British were beginning to take control of New Jersey. They had resorted to desperate measures to gain the supplies they needed. The Hessians joined in the brutal and barbaric attacks as New Jersey was overcome. This gave Americans a glimpse at how horrific conditions could be if the British were able to succeed in a victory. The patriots took advantage of this time to begin to turn the Loyalist against the British. What the British had planned to help them succeed had actually hurt their cause. It was at this time that Washington reached out for Lee, who had taken his army on a different route, to return and join the main army. But, Lee had other plans and chose to ignore the request. He decided to take up residence in a tavern where he was soon surrounded and defeated by the British. The news of his capture was great among England. They celebrated because Lee was considered to be the most dangerous among the American army and with his capture they assumed the war would soon end. But Washington was not so fazed and he began to regain his confidence and sense of mission. During the winter the British occupy New Jersey and expect to catch their breath.in the meantime the American army is losing faith still and just want to return home. At this time, Thomas Payne, who had joined Washington’s army earlier as a war correspondent, realized that it was time or him to warm the hearts of the Patriots. He returns home to Philadelphia, finding residents and congress fleeing, and writes “The American Crisis.” The book reaches some of the army but can only go so far. Washington begins to shift his tactics and decides he must keep the army together. He plans a surprise attack on Hessian army…