Hessian Mercenaries

By: Justin Dzoan

Have you ever heard of Hessians? No they aren’t Haitians. Nope they are not birds. They are German soldiers in the 18th century hired by the British to fight in the Revolutionary War.

The British addressed them as Hessians. To the colonists in America, they were known as mercenaries; soldiers for hire. The mercenaries were called Hessians because the soldiers came from the region of Hesse in Germany. The reason why they fought for the British was because Britain would rather borrow the money to hire the Hessians than go out of their way to recruit Britain citizens.

The Hessians mostly fought for the British during the Revolutionary War. Many Hessians also fought for the U.S. because they were offered land and money. Throughout the course of the war, Britain hired nearly 30,000 Hessians to fight for them.

The famous story of George Washington crossing the Delaware involved the Hessians. The morning of December 26, George Washington and his troops planned a surprise attack against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey.

“The haunts” of Hessians were “not confined to the valley” of their own country, but extended to adjacent nations willing to pay for their services.

In Numbers 23, King Balak, the king of Moab, hired the prophet Balaam to curse the country of Israel. Like the Hessians, Balaam did his work for money; to curse the Israelites and speak good of Moab. As Balaam was trying to curse Israel, God spoke for him and blessed Israel instead. This angered Balak, but Balaam wanted God to speak for him. This was God’s calling. Maybe the Hessians fighting for the British was God’s calling as well. Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God used Balaam for His will, and He used the Hessians in the same way.