Ten Crucial Days

“We … entered the town with them pell-mell, and here succeeded a scene of war of which I had often conceived but never saw before. The hurry, fright, and confusion of the enemy was [not] unlike that which will be when the last trump shall sound. They endeavoured to form in the streets, the heads of which we had previously the possession of with cannon and howitzers. These, in the twinkling of an eye, cleared the streets. The backs of the houses were resorted to for shelter. These proved ineffectual: the musketry soon dislodged them.”

-General Henry Knox


Faced with an intense and powerful blizzard on the evening of Christmas Day in 1776, General Washington’s army, strategically guided by members of the Hunterdon Militia, made a bold and risky decision to cross the Delaware River and strike the Hessian garrison in Trenton – an attack that would alter the course of the American Revolution and the fight for freedom.

The first Battle of Trenton was quickly followed by a second battle after which the Continental Army made a stealthy nighttime maneuver and a surprise attack on the British troops in Princeton.

These victories strengthened the morale and the resolve of the Continental Army as they headed for winter quarters in Morristown.

Explore the People and Places Related to the Ten Crucial Days

Ten Crucial Days Photo Gallery

Tours of the Ten Crucial Days

Every Sunday at 2:00 pm – Come learn the fascinating history of Princeton by taking the Historical Society of Princeton’s fabulous guided walking tours – offered every Sunday at 2:00 pm starting at historic Bainbridge House located in the heart of Princeton, 158 Nassau Street (next to PJ’s Pancake House).  The tour is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon whether you’re a visitor, resident, or an out of town guest.

Enjoy a 1.9 mile, two-hour walk around beautiful downtown Princeton and the Princeton University campus.  You will learn about the historical significance of Princeton and Princeton University, the architectural history behind prominent buildings and landmarks, Princeton’s historic role in the American Revolution and the founding of this nation, the coup that brought Einstein to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, and so much more!  Tickets for the walking tour are only $7/adult – $4/children ages 6 – 12, FREE children age 5 and under. Tickets go on sale at Bainbridge House starting at noon on the day of the tour. To learn about additional walking tours, or how to customize a private group tour, please visit www.princetonhistory.org or call 609-921-6748, x102.

First Battle (December 26, 1776)

1. Trenton Battle Monument
2. N. Warren & Bank Sts. (Site of Stacy Potts House)
3. N. Warren & W. State Sts. (Site of Abraham Hunt House)
4. 140 E. State St. (First Presbyterian Church)

Second Battle (January 2, 1777)

1. 140 E. State St. (First Presbyterian Church)
2. S. Broad St. at Assunpink Creek
3. 220 S. Broad St. (Original Site of Douglass House)

Several historic sites throughout the Ten Crucial Days region offer tours. Visit TenCrucialDays.org for more information.

Washington Crossing Historic Park, PA

Washington Crossing State Park, NJ

Old Barracks Museum

Princeton Battlefield Society

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