By Dan Wing, Ileana Diaz

WASHINGTON CROSSING, N.J. (CBS) – It’s one of the boldest moves in American history — General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River to do battle with the Hessian troops stationed in Trenton.

Thousands of people lined the banks of the river Wednesday to watch the 61st reenactment of that historic moment on Christmas Day in 1776.

It was chilly day, but the sun was shining and the river was willing to cooperate, according to John Godzieba, who plays the part of General

”The river height right now is just on the cusp of being too fast, and perfect.”

The troops marched into position, where the General detailed his battle plans

”We’ll be crossing in to the Jersey, across this river. And we are going to attack,” Godzieba explained.

Unfathomable for many, and not an easy task, 30 soldiers squeezed into three different boats and rowed across the river as thousands watched eagerly from all angles.

At they end, they were greeted with a canon blast, symbolizing sound of victory that attracts history buffs — old and young — like Aiden Schneider:

“It feels like I am a Revolutionary War guy,” he says.

For others, it was a unique way to celebrate family time and U.S. history all at once.

“Christmas is a time of reflection,” explains Michael Sullivan, “and really being thoughtful about what you have. It’s the best country in the world.”

It ended up being a very merry Christmas for the people who, for the first time, were able to see George Washington actually cross.