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"Washington at the Battle of Princeton"
"Washington at the Battle of Princeton"  by Charles Willson Peale
"Washington at the Battle of Princeton"

"George Washington at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777" was painted by Charles Willson Peale, one of the most famous early American artists, in 1784. This portrait is distinct because it is one of only a few Washington sat for during his lifetime. The College paid Peale's fee with a 50-guinea gift that Washington had presented as a mark of his esteem and to pay for war damages to Nassau Hall.

In the background of the portrait, beneath Washington's upraised sword arm, stands Nassau Hall as it appeared from the south in 1777. The scene suggested is the closing phase of the battle: the British retreat toward the building, following a red flag; the American army advances, led by a blue banner. At Washington's feet lies General Hugh Mercer, the namesake of New Jersey's Mercer County, who was mortally wounded during the fighting. Behind Washington is a surgeon and another officer bearing an American flag.

Portrait information: Charles Willson Peale, American, 1741-1827. Oil on canvas; 237.0 x 144.5 cm. (sight). Princeton University, commissioned by the Trustees. Photograph by Bruce M. White. To be reproduced only with written permission of the Princeton University Art Museum.

(Adapted from A Princeton Companion.)