500 Mercer Road, Princeton, NJ 08540-4810
Hours: Daily, Sunrise to Sunset
On January 3, 1777, the peaceful winter fields and woods of Princeton Battlefield were transformed into the site of what is considered to be the fiercest fight of its size during the American Revolution. During this desperate battle, American troops under General George Washington surprised and defeated a force of British Regulars. Coming at the end of “The Ten Crucial Days” which saw the well-known night crossing of the Delaware River and two battles in Trenton, the Battle of Princeton gave Washington his first victory against the British Regulars on the field. The battle extended over a mile away to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).
The famous Mercer Oak, once stood in the middle of the battlefield, not far from the spot where General Hugh Mercer fell during the Battle of Princeton. The Clarke House, built by Thomas Clarke in 1772, witnessed the fierce fighting and served as sanctuary for General Mercer, who died there nine days later. The house contains period furniture and Revolutionary War exhibits.
The Battle of Princeton was the site where:
- Gen. George Washington had his victory in the field over British regulars.
- Gen. George Washington rallied two routed brigades and brought them into battle and launched a decisive counter attackthat swept the British off field
- Gen. Hugh Mercer was mortally wounded in the first phase of the battle.
- Capt. Alexander Hamilton commanded artillery bombarding Nassau Hall in the final phase of the battle.
- Capt. William Shippen became the first United States Marine killed on a battlefield
- The Clarke House served as a field hospital
- The battle was the culmination of the Ten Crucial Days Campaign,which occurred between December 25, 1776 to January 3, 1777. The Ten Crucial Days was a remarkable series of engagements and maneuvers that turned the tide of the American fortunes of war that eventually resulted in this nation’s independence from English rule
On that blustery, cold morning brave soldiers beat the odds and defeated the world’s only super power. They fought to create a nation based on freedom and democracy, not for themselves, but for future generations.
Adam Perle, Princeton Chamber of Commerce