The Battle of Princeton

By: James LaRue, Laura Fylling & Michael Sebbag

Story Truth

In the given art work, The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey, 3 January 1777, there are four main points with emphasis on them, creating a reflection of what the artist him self saw as the most important on influencing the "story" of the painting. One of them is located in the center of the piece, the emphasis is portrayed through the exaggerated brightness in the two main male figures clothing. this is to tell the main point of the story, also found in the title, is the tragic death of General Mercer in battle. There are two main points, alike this one, located on the far left of the painting, between two men, and in the upper center, with what is to be believed as George Washington on a horse. These characteristics make the eye naturally draw to the area and make it seem a more important scene then the background and surrounding area. The next thing that the painter intentionally draws the viewers eyes to is the American flag standing in the perfect sense of American pride and nationalism. This symbol is surrounded by bright smoke and lighting to introduce a greater feeling of America as the prioritized protagonist of the war. Looking towards the darker portions of the painting it is noticed that there is a common emotion shared in the soldiers faces creating a feeling of strength and complete self sacrifice for freedom.

Happening Truth

The Battle of Princeton took place on January 3,1777 just outside of Princeton, New Jersey. Before the Battle of Princeton itself, General Washington and the Continental Army evaded an attack on the city of Trenton the day before. They then moved to attack the British forces at Princeton. During the battle, General Hugh Mercer of the Continental Army fought against two regiments under British Colonel Charles Mawhood. Mercer was overrun and General John Caldawader and more forces were sent to his aid, however in seeing Mercer's fleeing troops, they also began to flee. Caldawader's militia had little battle experience and didn't know even the most basic military maneuvers. Only when Washington himself rode up with reinforcements were Mawhood and his forces defeated. During the battle, Mercer was surrounded, but rather than surrender, he chose to resist and was bayoneted and killed. With Cornwallis approaching, Washingotn was forced to leave Princeton after looting the remaining British supplies. He eventually arrived at Morristown for winter encampment. This battle was the last major event in Washington's winter New Jersey Campaign.
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About John Trumbull

About John Trumbull

John Trumbull was Born in Lebanon Connecticut, in 1756, his parents were early descendants of puritans. John was surrounded by intelligent, politically active people through his childhood and teen life this is due to the fact that his father was the governor of Connecticut from 1769 to 1784. When John turned fifteen he joined Harvard college but graduated three years later because of a loss of use to one of his eyes. However this did not stop John from becoming one of the most famous important American artist. Jon played many important roles during his life time, other than being a phenomenal American artist John served in the military as general George Washington's second personal aid. his primary job was to sketch out British military strategies fro Washington and his army to use. John Trumbull is most famously known for his painting of the meeting of the creation of the Declaration of Independence and The death of General Mercer at the Battle Of Princeton.

War Story

On January 2, 1777 in New Jersey I was fighting in the Battle of Princeton amongst some of my dearest companions, one of which was General Mercer. I will never forget this horrid day, the day that my companions and leaders died right bore my eyes. It all started with a small conflict over land taxes. The problem soon escalated into a division of the people, creating a grand conflict resulting in these deaths. Although our numbers were minimal we some how pulled through, thanks to leadership of Washington, and defeated the British.