Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Battle of Princeton

Washington at the Battle of Princeton, 1777 by Don Troiani
British General William Howe, deeply concerned by General Washington’s victory at Trenton and Assunpink Creek, dispatched General Charles Cornwallis with 8000 troops to Trenton. Cornwallis arrived with his troops on the evening of January 2 and prepared to overwhelm Washington’s 5,000 exhausted Continentals and militia the following day.

Washington knew better than to engage such a force and Cornwallis knew Washington would try to escape overnight, but he was left to guess at what course Washington would take. Cornwallis sent troops to guard the Delaware River, expecting Washington to reverse the route he took for the midnight crossing on December 25. Instead, Washington left his campfires burning, muffled the wheels of his army’s wagons and skirted the flank of the British camp. At dawn, January 3, as the Continentals were heading north they met the straggling British rear guard just outside of Princeton. A battle ensued and forty Patriots and 275 British soldiers would be killed during Battle of Princeton.

After that additional defeat, General Howe, along with brother Admiral Richard Howe, would chose to leave most of New Jersey to Washington and concentrate all of their forces between New Brunswick and the Atlantic coast.


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