Washington's Stunning String of Victories to be Highlighted at Princeton Battlefield State Park
TRENTON, NJ –The New Jersey State Park Service invites the public this Saturday, Jan. 3, to commemorate the Battle of Princeton, a key struggle in the Revolutionary War that helped establish the Continental Army as a viable fighting force at a time when the nation’s prospects for independence appeared bleak.
The 238th anniversary commemoration features a special two-hour battlefield walking tour in the morning and living history events throughout the day.
“Victories by the Continental Army at Trenton and then Princeton completely changed the trajectory of the war, saving America’s fledgling fight for independence at a time when it neared collapse,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel. “We are honored each year to commemorate these important events through this tour and historical interpretive activities that are supported by the Princeton Battlefield Society.”
The free two-hour tour of Princeton Battlefield State Park begins at 7 a.m. The public is encouraged to arrive 15 minutes earlier. The walk is over open, rolling grass fields and hills. Participants should wear weather-appropriate footwear and clothing.
During the tour, historian William P. Tatum III will take visitors step-by-step through the battle, which took place January 3, 1777, on the fields and in the woods of the William and Thomas Clarke farms. The peaceful terrain became the stage for some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The battle was Washington’s first victory over British Regulars.
“Following George Washington’s successful Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River and his stunning victory over the Hessians at Trenton the next day, the Battle of Princeton marked a watershed moment in the war, testing the Continental Army’s mettle against British Regulars,” Tatum said. “During this special battlefield tour, visitors will learn about this critical battle and the events leading up to it, a period now known as the Ten Crucial Days.”
The Continental Army surprised and defeated a British force, led by Major General Lord Cornwallis, on the farm fields just outside of Princeton. Washington’s troops used stealth to surprise the British by leaving their campfires burning at Trenton and wrapping the wheels of their wagons and artillery in cloth to muffle their noise.
In addition to the tour, which will focus on General John Cadwalader’s Pennsylvania Associators and a special living history presentation, re-enactors will recreate the lives of the soldiers and civilians of the American Revolution era with military drills and musket firing as well as demonstrations of cooking and other camp skills of the period.
The Thomas Clarke House and Revolutionary War exhibits at the battlefield will also be open for free tours. Any event cancellation, due to poor driving conditions and weather, will be posted on the park’s (609) 921-0074 number.
Princeton Battlefield is located at 500 Mercer Road (Princeton Pike) in Princeton Township, 1.5 miles south of Princeton University and 3.8 miles north of Routes 95/295. For more about the park, including GPS coordinates and driving directions, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/princeton.html
For more on the battle and efforts to preserve its history, visit the Princeton Battlefield Society website at: