Most Americans know George Washington's December 1776 crossing of the Delaware from the famous painting by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze. David Hackett Fischer, Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University and author of Washington's Crossing (2004), looks beyond the famous painting to the events of that tumultuous month. He follows the retreating American army from the Battle of Long Island down through New Jersey, as an American victory seemed more and more unlikely. Fischer emphasizes how Washington's great strengths allowed him to take advantage of conditions in December to win the Battle of Trenton and turn the tide of the war, rekindling the ailing Revolutionary cause.
James I. Robertson, Alumni Distinguished Professor in history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, re-examines, in Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend, the life and the aura of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
James M. McPherson, George Henry Davis ’86 Professor of History at Princeton University and Pulitzer Prize winner, examines the Battle of Antietam and establishes that Antietam was a critical victory that ensured the continuance of Lincoln’s presidency, raised Northern morale, and enabled Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Edward L. Ayers is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia where he is also the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History. Here he looks at the Civil War’s impact on the lives of people in two communities divided by the Mason-Dixon line, based on his book In the Presence of Mine Enemies, which was awarded the 2004 Bancroft Prize.