Historical Trees of MVHS: Washington Crossing White Ash

Washington Crossing White Ash

    During the cold night of December 25, 1776, when people everywhere were celebrating the holiday of Christmas, General George Washington was elsewhere.  With an army of approximately 5,400 troops, Washington made a monumental move that deeply affected the outcome of the American Revolution.  With hopes of surprising the Hessian force in Trenton, New Jersey, who at the time were celebrating the holiday, an unconventional attack provided a victory to Washington’s army, which had recently lost multiple battles to the same forces.  

    At 11:00pm on Christmas night, 5,400 troops, led by the General, crossed the Delaware River.  The troops crossed in three different places to elevate the intended surprise.  The soldiers led by Washington himself, consisting of 2,400, made it safely to the other side of the river, which was icy and half frozen at the time.  Just before dawn, his troops reached the shore.  However, the other two divisions, consisting of the remaining 3,000 men and its artillery did not reach the designated meeting point at the chosen time.  

    By 8:00 am on December 26th,  Washington’s remaining troops separated into two divisions and reached the outskirts of Trenton.  The 1,400 Hessians were awoken by 2,400 men and were not functioning to their full ability due to the previous nights festivities.  By 9:30 am, the town was completely surrounded, and 1,000 Germans were captured.  Only four American lives were lost.  However, because Washington’s other two divisions had failed to cross the Delaware, Washington was left with a limited amount of artillery and men.  He was forced to withdraw from the town.  The news of Washington’s initiative spread, thus giving the American colonists a new sense of hope and confidence in the Continental Army (Washington).

    The tree Medomak Valley has grown is a descendant from another tree that witnessed first hand the march of  Washington and his troops.  The seed from this tree was taken from the Washington Crossing White Ash at the Delaware River.   

  Medomak Valley Heirloom Seed Project is a dedicated to preserving seeds of all varieties.  As a student enrolled in Horticulture II, I am able to witness the growth and preservation of all our plants, and as a four year student at MVHS, I can see a difference in growth of nearly every tree.  We as a school strive to protect these trees because it strengthens diversity and appreciates the history associated with not only our country, but countries and people across the world.  

By: Sophie Cohen


GET NJ - Historic Roadsides - MERCER COUNTY. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015,

    from http://www.getnj.com/historicroadsides/mercer.shtml

MVHS Home. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015, from http://www.msad40.org/schools/mvhs/

(n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/





Washington crosses the Delaware. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015, from http://www.history.com/