Following the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River and the First Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, George Washington's army re-crossed the river back into Pennsylvania. The British and German troops reacted to their defeat at Trenton by abandoning posts at Mount Holly and Burlington and moving to Princeton. Taking advantage of the British confusion, Washington moved his whole force back to Trenton over the next week, assembling nearly 6,000 soldiers by January 2, 1777.
With British strength at Princeton now at nearly 8,000, Charles Cornwallis moved to attack Trenton on January 2. A strong American force under Colonel Edward Hand in Maidenhead (now Lawrenceville) began a running battle, slowly giving ground back into Trenton. Darkness ended this Second Battle of Trenton and found the town divided between British and American forces. With his back to the Delaware River, Washington used information from the Cadwalader spy map to make a withdrawal east and around the British troops in Trenton and Maidenhead. Under strict silence, tired American soldiers marched through the night, arriving here on the Clarke family farms shortly after dawn on January 3rd.