George Washington's Arch Triumphal, Historical Marker
At this location on April 21, 1789, General Washington passed through an arch designed by the citizens of Trenton to celebrate his election to the Presidency. At this time, New York City was the capitol and Washington was on his way from Virginia to New York for his inauguration.
Backstory and Context
Shortly after his famous crossing of the Delaware River, a small battle took place just days later along the Assunpink Creek. Washington had abandoned Trenton, taking the fight into Pennsylvania when the British believed he was still in the city. Rather than let the British have Trenton, Washington sent his troops back across the river in order to recapture the city.
Washington made a personal address to his troops to regain Trenton and then stay in the army. Washington implored his troops near this location in the final days of 1776: "You have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses, and all that you hold dear...If you will consent to stay only one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably never can do under any other circumstance."1.
Washington's speech resonated throughout the army and carried the troops into battle once again. Washington planned to defend the area around Assunpink Creek and then move back across the bridge to Princeton. However, his army was pushed back across the bridge where Washington wanted to hold firm. Nearing the end, Washington decided that they were going to abandon Trenton but instead of retreating, he wanted to double back on the British in Princeton. The colonial army slipped back to Princeton in the night as the British kept firing upon a small group of troops that heroically held their ground and allowed the army to escape.
American casualties among these defenders were slight whereas the British lost many men owing to their attempt to surge forward in an attempt to capture the Americans before they could cross the bridge. Although a loss for the Americans, casualties for the British army were five times higher and the battles proved once again that the American army could inflict damage upon the British.