top of page

Crossing the Delaware

By Wyatt Miller, Grade 7


In the year 1776, during our war for independence, the Continental Army lost battle after battle with the British. On Christmas Eve of 1776, General George Washington presented his officers a bold plan to strike back.


The plan was to cross the Delaware river and execute a stealth attack against the Hessians—German mercenaries hired to fight for the British.


Three attack groups, the largest of which was commanded by General Washington, would cross the river and converge on Trenton, New Jersey, where the Hessians were quartered. 


There was a snow storm that December night, which was both a blessing and a curse. The storm would help cover the attack force, but the bitter cold and wind also made the crossing very difficult, forcing two of the three groups to turn back. That left just Washington’s troops to carry on the mission.


They eventually did make it across the Delaware, but they were not out of the woods. They had to march nine miles to Trenton. On the way, two men froze to death.


Once Washington’s men made it to Trenton, they overwhelmed the Hessians with cannons and the element of surprise, as the Hessians were not prepared for a conflict.

This was the first victory for the United States in a long while.


This victory showed that the principles stated in the Declaration were not out of reach. Americans just needed to fully secure them.


Here are a few of those principles, found in the Declaration:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (Declaration of Independence, para. 2)


This historical thought was delivered by our upper school students at devotional on 12/14/23. Each week one class leads the student body in prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, scripture recitation, a meditation, and an historical thought. Family and friends are welcome, Thursdays 8:30-9:05 am.

Belmont is an independent K-12 school in the classical, Christian tradition. In partnership with parents, we invest in students — helping them acquire an education of the highest quality, find joy in life, and become influences for good in the world. If you are interested in receiving updates about Belmont, please subscribe to Exulto here by inserting your email.


bottom of page