The Revolutionary War wasn't going particularly well for the ragtag American army in the Winter of 1776. Defeated at the Battle of Long Island, the troops made it to Pennsylvania by December. Washington came up with the daring idea of trying to defeat the Hession soldiers in Trenton. To get there he decided to cross the Delaware River on Christmas under cover of darkness. Everything went wrong. The river was icy. The weather was sleeting. There weren't enough boats. Somehow 2400 soldiers were able to get across in about 9 hours, defeat the Hessians, drink up most of their 40 barrels of beer and return the next day. They defeated the British at Princeton a few days later which led to American control of New Jersey. In 1851 Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze decided to commemorate this historical event by creating a 21' long painting which he made in his studio in Dusseldorf to encourage the German liberals to continue the Revolution of 1848. He took considerable artistic license with the work. The finished painting captured the imagination of the Americans who flocked to it when it was arrived in the country. A copy ended up being donated to the Metropolitan Museum where it remains the largest painting in the collection.