In December 1776, Paine joined Washington's army in new Jersey. The had been soundly defeated in New York and had to flee, there had been looting and pillaging on both sides, which angered the people. Conditions were awful, soldiers did not have proper arms, clothes and many had no boots. They were deserting in great numbers. The war was near collaspe. However Washington planned a daring suprise attack on King George III's army at Trenton. This involved the soldiers crossing the freezing Delaware river. Washington asked Paine to write some appropriate words. He immediately started writing the first of a series of essays called The Crisis. On December 23rd, in a bitter snowstorm, as the men clambered into the boats, Washington had Paine's inspiring words read to them.
Extract from The Crisis:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorius the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."