"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

25 December 2019


Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851

In the early hours of the morning on this date in 1776 ...

Once Washington made his decision to cross the Delaware and attack, he never wavered. As soon as the order was disseminated through the ranks, leaders were hit with a barrage of “but sirs.”
  • “But sir, the river is filled with ice.”
  • “But sir, these boats weren’t designed to transport cannons.”
  • “But sir, my men haven’t eaten in three days, they won’t survive the march.”
  • “But sir, the British are well-rested and well-fed, what chance do we have in battle?”
But sir, but sir, but sir. As a leader, how often do you deal with resistance to a tough decision? Washington responded by increasing the level of communication so that everyone had better understanding of his decisions, as illustrated in this brief aside to his officers:

“If we do not win soon, there will be no army left. When there is no army left, the rebellion will be over. When the rebellion is over, we will all be hung. Therefore we have little to lose.”

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