Dent in the wall of Nassau Hall
left by a cannonball fired
During the Revolutionary War, in early January 1777, about
200 British troops took refuge in Nassau Hall after being
Washington's troops on Princeton Battlefield, three miles
south of campus. Washington's vanguard, commanded by General
Sullivan, set up a single gun on the rise where Blair Arch
currently stands, and fired three or four rounds at Nassau
Hall. One cannonball hit the building, leaving an impression
window in the Faculty Room and decapitated the portrait of
King George II. The British troops may have seen this as
an omen, since they promptly withdrew from the building.
Some 40 Americans were killed or wounded in the battle, while the British suffered
85 killed and wounded, and lost another 200 prisoners.
The Battle of Princeton, along with the Battle of Trenton,
was a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Having suffered
grave defeats in New York in 1776, Washington now proved
that his army could win; in addition, he now held a firm
position in strategic New Jersey, which lay between the two
great colonial cities of New York and Philadelphia.