In the movies, we're furious when plots are resolved by some magical episode of divine intervention, because it's a downright cop-out. Wars should be won through strategy and the greater strength of their heroes, not by all the villains suddenly dropping dead of heart attacks.
As always, Cracked is here to show you that reality is often way weirder than fiction, in this case, that the deus ex machina is actually a common plot device in the story of reality.
6The Battle of Long Island Decided by Sudden, Inexplicable Fog
On Aug. 27, 1776, just weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the British forces already had George Washington and his Continental Army on the ropes in New York City. There was no escape across the East River, as the Brooklyn Bridge hadn't been invented yet, and the water was thick with British warships -- the start of a long tradition of the East River being full of debris.
The East River
As the British closed in, it looked very much like the American Revolution was over just a few weeks in.
The Divine Intervention:
The weather took an unseasonable turn for the worse in New York on Aug. 29, and for the Continental Army, this seemed like another element to add to a long list of grievances, being that they were trapped, outnumbered, ill-equipped, poorly trained, freezing and starving, and it was raining. It seemed as if God was punishing the Americans with the same weather that usually makes everyone hate England in the first place.
Redcoats didn't fear bullets. A grave is way warmer than the English winter.
But this rain turned out to be one of the best-disguised blessings in history, as it was so foggy the next morning that one could "scarcely discern a man from six yards' distance," which meant the Brits had to sit on their thumbs until the fog passed. What was more, for some freak reason, the fog "concealed from the British the operations of the Americans, while at New York the atmosphere was perfectly clear." In other words, the only parts of the city that were foggy were the parts the Brits needed to see through to figure out what the hell Washington was up to.
Washington did not need to shoot the British the next morning; he just needed to get the hell out of Brooklyn with enough of his army to continue and win the war with. This fog provided him with precisely the time and the cover he needed to successfully sneak all 9,000 of his men into Manhattan while the British sat back and reminisced about this jolly good London weather. It was like Washington shouted, "Cover me!" at God, and God had complied like world's greatest buddy cop. There was not a single loss of life, and Washington was the last one to leave Long Island ... immediately after he snatched his whole army and the Revolution straight out of the British Empire's back pocket.
"Horses and boats basically work the same way, right?"