Princeton Battlefield State Park

On this grassy knoll retrace the steps of American and British troops who fought a pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War. 

At Princeton Battlefield State Park, learn about the important battle of January 3, 1777. The sleepy town of Princeton turned into a battlefield when American and British troops converged here. General George Washington led the Americans to a crucial victory in what is now called the Battle of Princeton. Walk in the footsteps of those who fought for America’s freedom.

Check out the stately Mercer Oak. General Hugh Mercer, after whom Mercer County was later named, was the highest-ranking casualty at the Battle of Princeton. Legend says that the mortally wounded Mercer lay under an oak tree and refused to leave the battlefield until the colonists won the battle. For centuries, the Mercer Oak stood as a reminder of this local lore. Although the tree collapsed in 2000, a replacement, which grew from an acorn from the original Mercer Oak, was planted in its place in 2001.

On the west side of Princeton Battlefield State Park, stop by the memorial honoring the 36 unknown soldiers who died at the Battle of Princeton. They include 15 American and 21 British men. Read the marker’s inscription, which includes a few lines from the poem Princeton by Alfred Noyes.

Admire the colonnade located in front of the gravesite and memorial. The Ionic columns were originally the portico of a prominent Philadelphia home. The architect of the home, Thomas Ustick Walter, also designed the dome on the United States Capitol Building.

Stop at the Clarke House, a modest white wooden home built by Thomas Clarke in 1772. After American General Hugh Mercer was mortally stabbed in the Battle of Princeton, he was carried to the Clarke House, where he succumbed to his wounds 9 days later. Explore the museum exhibits inside the house, which feature artifacts from the Revolutionary War.

The Institute Woods is adjacent to Princeton Battlefield State Park. Explore miles of trails winding throughout the forest.

Visit Princeton Battlefield State Park daily between sunrise and sunset. Dress appropriately for the season; the weather can be hot and humid during summer and snowy during winter.