After the Battle of Assunpink Creek on January 2, 1777, George Washington and his Continental Army departed during the night of January 2nd and marched north towards Princeton, New Jersey. Early on the morning of the 3rd, elements of Washington's army encountered a detachment of British troops marching towards Trenton. The British forces under the command of Lt. Col. Charles Mawhood turned to engage American forces on the Clarke Farm south of town. Hugh Mercer's column broke in the face of the British advance and Mercer was bayoneted. A second American force under the command of John Cadwallader advanced on the British, but it too began to fall back under pressure. Only with the arrival of Gen. Cadwallader and Gen. Washington did the men rally and drive back the British.
Map showing the opening phases of the Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777)