"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
as a mark of his esteem and to pay for war damages to Nassau
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
(Adapted from A