PRINCETON, NJ – In letters to the Institute for Advanced Study, two respected British military heritage organizations joined the chorus of voices opposing plans by the Institute to build faculty housing on a key part of the Princeton Battlefield known as Maxwell’s Field. The site is where George Washington staged a daring charge against the British Army to win the 1777 Battle of Princeton.
The Battlefields Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity dedicated to the preservation, research and interpretation of battlefields as educational and historical resources. The organization campaigns to defend the battlefields of Great Britain from inappropriate development. These battlefields are the final resting place for thousands of unknown soldiers who forged the British nation.
The Battlefields Trust was joined in its opposition by The Royal Tigers’ Association, the veterans’ organization of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. The association is composed of men of one of the most famous fighting units to ever serve in the British Army. The regiment, then identified as the 17th Regiment of Foot, served throughout the American Revolutionary War. The regiment’s stand during the Battle of Princeton was commemorated with the addition of an unbroken laurel wreath to its unit insignia.
In their letters to the Institute for Advanced Study, the Battlefields Trust and The Royal Tigers’ Association urged the Institute to abandon its plans to build 15 faculty houses on the most historically sensitive part of the 22-acre Maxwell’s Field property. The site, identified as core battlefield land by the US National Park Service, is where the right wing of George Washington’s counterattack against the 17th Regiment of Foot, standing alone, first struck British lines.
In its letter, the Battlefields Trust noted that an institution with its own rich history should be mindful of preserving other historic places. “The Battlefields Trust is therefore disappointed that an organisation which cherishes its own history is acting in a way that seemingly ignores the unique historic value of a battlefield site in which it acts as custodian for the people of the US and UK.”
Both organizations will join the Save Princeton Coalition, an alliance of historic preservation organizations to protect the Princeton Battlefield. The 12 member organizations of the Save Princeton Coalition are: American Association for State and Local History; American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati; Battlefields Trust; Civil War Trust; Cultural Landscape Foundation; National Coalition for History; National Parks Conservation Association; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Preservation Maryland; Princeton Battlefield Society; Royal Leicestershire Regiment Association; and New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club.