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Princeton Battlefield State Park
the driveway leading to the Clarke House 5.00 New Jersey ratingStar
Princeton Battlefield State Park guyonthego

Princeton Battlefield State Park is a 100 acre battlefield that was the location of a small but pivotal American victory over British forces in the US Revolutionary War. The park includes a short walking tour with interpretive signs as well as the historic Clarke House, which has period exhibits and displays. Parking is free and there is no entrance fee.

The battle took place on January 3, 1777. It was part of what is called the “Ten Crucial Days” in which US forces under General Washington achieved some critical military victories that helped to reverse US fortunes in the Revolutionary War and caused the British military to withdraw from most of New Jersey. The Battle of Princeton followed The Second Battle of Trenton at which US troops were able to hold off a major British attack. During the night, Washington led his men to Princeton where they successfully attacked and defeated a smaller British garrison. US General Mercer was killed at this battle after refusing to surrender and for many years a large oak tree located near where Mercer was mortally wounded was honored with his name as the Mercer Oak.

From a battlefield perspective, this visit was disappointing. The historic house was closed so only a few rooms were partially viewable through the window panes. The interpretive signs on the battlefield were skimpy and fundamentally inadequate to provide a meaningful sense of the fighting and outcome. Somewhat more interesting were the remains of a 19th century mansion across the street. The columns, which are situated on a small hill, provide a good view of the battlefield as well as a backdrop for a picture. Even for diehard battlefield types, there is little here to merit a visit. It can work as a venue for a short walk in a pleasant setting, but don’t fret if the sun shines more brightly on other attractions.
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July 2015
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