Battle of Princeton reenactment draws spectators near and far


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For spectators of the 246th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Princeton, it wasn’t as cold as it was on Jan. 3, 1777 – that is for sure.

This allowed quite a crowd of over 800 spectators as the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) marked the anniversary on Jan. 8 with its signature educational event, “Experience the Battle of Princeton” at Princeton Battlefield State Park – the same ground as the original battle.

Battle of Princeton reenactment. PHOTO BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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The reenactment involved 300 reenactors – including horses – who represented both the American and British forces involved in the historic clash that marked the capstone of the “Ten Crucial Days” of 1776-77 that began with the crossing of the Delaware by Gen. George Washington’s forces and ended with a complete reversal of the series of defeats that American forces had suffered in New York and New Jersey since July 1776.

Battle of Princeton reenactment. PHOTOS BY AL POCHEK
Battle of Princeton reenactment. PHOTOS BY AL POCHEK

The Battle drew reenactors from states up and down the Eastern Seaboard including Rachael Rickabaugh’s oldest son Christopher. She traveled to the reenactment from Tabernacle with her younger son Matthew and her father.

“This is the first time we were able to see him perform so it was pretty fun,” Rickabaugh said.

And although, she said she rather not publicize what side her son reenacted on, she noted he had a fun job of shooting a cannon.

Following the reenactment, a commemorative wreath laying event was held at the
Colonnade and Memorial Grove on the battlefield, honoring the soldiers who fought and fell during all the battles of Ten Crucial Days, including the American and British dead interred nearby.

Wreath laying after Battle of Princeton reenactment. PHOTOS BY AL POCHEK
Wreath laying after Battle of Princeton reenactment. PHOTOS BY AL POCHEK

Spectators were also able to tour the historic Thomas Clarke House where Gen. Hugh Mercer died of his wounds he suffered during the battle on Jan. 12, 1777.

Joe Mooney, of Robbinsville, said it was his first time experiencing the PBS’ Battle of Princeton reenactment. He said he has been to the Trenton reenactment a number of times.

He said he found the reenactment entertaining, but jokingly quipped there were “not enough people dying.”

“Usually, you have more people falling over,” he said with a laugh.

The commemoration was organized by the New Jersey Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and was conducted in conjunction with other hereditary societies and service organizations as well as representatives of legacy units of the American and British armed forces whose antecedents fought at the battle.

This year’s reenactment is one aspect of PBS’ annual program of events targeted at historical education and is part of our effort to prepare for 250th anniversary commemoration of the American Revolution that will commence in 2026.

“Experience the Battle of Princeton” was sponsored by NJM Insurance Group, The George H. and Estelle M. Sands Foundation, the New Jersey Society – Sons of the American Revolution, the Princeton-Mercer Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, and generous support of donors and partners.

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