We like to think that every issue of U.S. 1 offers some insight into the world around us, but this time we were struck more by some insight offered by a historian, speaking this Saturday, December 17, at the Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville. As Michele Alperin’s story explains, Mark Sirak enjoys setting the record straight about this momentous events in the dark days of 1776.

One myth he dispels: The popular belief that Hessian troops in Trenton that fateful Christmas night were drunk. "Actually," says Sirak, "the Hessians were tired and fatigued." Because of their precarious position, at least one of the three Hessian regiments was ordered each night to "sleep upon their arms" — meaning mostly in uniform so that they could respond quickly to an attack.

The Hessians sent out daily patrols that were constantly harassed by small boatloads of Americans who would attack outposts, kill a couple of Hessians, and then cross the Delaware back to Pennsylvania. And militiamen would make hit-and-run attacks on patrols. The Hessians had to be constantly on guard — and there were probably no Thanksgiving Day, morale-boosting fly-ins from King George (the English one).

Hmmmmm. Small deployments of insurgents (would that be the word for those colonists tired of a foreign country running their land?) taking out a few soldiers at a time in hit-and-run attacks. It’s ancient history, of course, but somehow it sounds familiar.

To the Editor

The wonderful article on Camelot Stables auction (U.S. 1, November 23) did it justice for the unique entertainment it offers. As a professional horsewoman I have attended these auctions for many years and was intrigued to hear the story behind young Tom Spain’s participation. He has always impressed me as a fine rider.

Lucky horses get great homes with locals. I have seen these gentle bags of bones go to families who just want them to enjoy their days retired in green acres.

We at Piedmont Riding Stable in Hopewell have had our share of successes from these sales. We have five or six fine animals in our riding program. They came to us kind, sweet, and very willing.

My personal favorite is a big mule named Cinnamon purchased two years ago. She loves to be ridden so much that she comes running up when we go to the field to get her. She has now learned to jump (and does a bit of dressage) because my more advanced students took up a group project to teach her. The kids applaud every time she completes an obstacle. There is no doubt she takes pleasure in this game we play.

I encourage people to get involved, to give one of these great horses or ponies a home, and learn how to ride. We would be happy to lend our advice to novice "wranglers." You are never too old or too young for this wonderful sport.

Ardeth Black

Piedmont Stables, Hopewell

Corrections

In last week’s Preview story, "McCarter’s Tiny Tim Turns 25," Ben Rose’s grade was stated incorrectly; he is a junior at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. Jason Rosenthal attends Village School in Montgomery, not West Windsor. Nykai Rambharan is the correct spelling of Tiny Tim, 1996. And on the cover, the Tiny Tim in the bottom row, far right, Desmond Confoy, was omitted from the caption on page 20.

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