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The Blackest Hour



Christian History PageIf I were to say to you today that war is on the horizon, you’d probably give me a strange look and think, "Well, every one knows that!" 


It was the same in the 1700's, in the days before the Revolutionary War.  But when the words, "Attack! Attack!" rang out through the colonies, when death visited Lexington, and Concord was attacked-and repulsed; that changed everything.  "War!" took on new meaning.  "To arms!" brought reality to the hearts of the colonists. Reality and dread. But did that stop them from forging ahead?   No! their liberties were at stake and they went to war as all valiant men would.


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With Gen. George Washington at their head the ill-prepared thirteen colonies fought-and lost for nearly three years.  Then came that cruel winter at Valley Forge.  The poet and the chronologist write of that time:


Chill the mighty wind doth blow,

Cold the earth lies neath the snow,

Cold, the old earth’s heart beats slow-

Slow, so very slow.

Red with blood the Redcoat’s glow;

Death and defeat are near, we know....


But the darkest hour of night is just before the day.  In the middle of February Washington described the dreadful situation of the army and "the miserable prospects before it" as more alarming" than can possibly be conceived, and as occasioning him more distress "than he had felt" since the commencement of the war.  On the 23rd of February, he whom we call Baron Von Steuben, rode into camp.


Beginning with a picked company of one hundred and twenty men, the Baron drilled them carefully, himself on foot and musket in hand.  These, when they became proficient, he made a model for others, and presently the whole camp had become a military school.


And thus day after day, patient, careful, laborious, and persevering, in a few months he transformed this untrained yeomanry into a disciplined and effective army.  There have been more brilliant services rendered to America than these, but few perhaps more valuable and worthier of remembrance.


The army was rewarded with the news that on the 6th Franklin had signed the Treaty of Alliance at Versailles.  Versailles would be noted for another, and more celebrated event a few years later.  Do you know what that event was?


Washington, Awake!

Kneel you while the war's at stake?

Don't you know we bend, we break?

Up! Awake!

(Still the general bows within the brake-

Knowing well the war’s at stake,

Knowing that defeat will take

Liberty-and hope unmake.

And still he prays-for Jesus’ sake.)

The woods are full of Redcoats

And the town’s full of the same,

And there’s Tories sitting easy

Playing out the waiting game.

They’ve betrayed the name of Freedom

To their everlasting shame.

Wealth and power are with the foe;

With the Yankees, cold and snow-

Cold and hunger, winds that blow-

Icy winds-and Freedom’s glow.

Now the general marches on

For his praying time is done,

And the battle has been won-

Won by praying Washington. ©der’93



ANSWER TO QUESTION:  On February 20, 1783, the Peace Articles ending the Revolutionary War were signed at Versailles and the Independence of the United States of America was recognized by several European nations.

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