Nation’s Oldest Historcal Society and First Veterans Organization Issues Appeal to Save the Princeton Battlefield

Emerging Revolutionary War is honored to share the open letter below from the Society of Cincinnati. This open-letter has not been shared with the public. Thank you to Meg Martin, of Civil War Trust / Campaign 1776 for passing it to ERW. 

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Symbol of the Society of the Cincinnati, est. 10 May 1783, by Continental officers of the American Revolution. (Courtesy of the George Washington Papers).

Members of the Society of the Cincinnati — the nation’s oldest historical society, whose members are descendants of the officers of the American and French forces that won the Revolutionary War — are calling on the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton, New Jersey, to halt the development of a critical part of the Princeton battlefield. They are appealing to the Institute to work with the Society and the Civil War Trust, which are working together to preserve the remaining battlefields of our War for Independence.

Eight hundred and fifty members of the Society have signed an Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study appealing for the Institute to halt construction that will destroy the site of the charge personally led by George Washington that won the battle. The victory was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

The signers of the Open Letter include descendants of George Washington, Nathanael Greene and other generals, colonels and other officers of the Continental Army.The signers include men whose ancestors were killed at the Battle of Princeton and others who were wounded in that turning point of the Revolutionary War.

The Institute for Advanced Study, an independent scholarly organization, owns the land over which George Washington led the charge that won the battle and saved the American cause from imminent defeat. “Defeat at Princeton would probably have spelled the end for Washington’s army and with it, our bid for independence,” says Jonathan Woods, president general of the Society of the Cincinnati. “The Declaration of Independence, which the nation will celebrate in a few weeks, would have become a footnote in the history of the British Empire.”

The Society of the Cincinnati, which has its international headquarters in Washington, DC, has allied itself with the Civil War Trust and other members of the Save Princeton Coalition in an effort to save the Princeton battlefield and the other endangered battlefields of the Revolutionary War. The Civil War Trust has made repeated overtures to the Institute for Advanced Study to discuss the purchase of the land by the Trust for a price well in excess of its appraised value. More than 20,000 concerned citizens have signed petitions and sent letters to Institute officials and Governor Chris Christie, urging that the Institute for Advanced Study find alternatives to destruction of this hallowed battlefield site. A copy of the Open Letter is attached.

 

CONTACT: Jack D. Warren, Jr. Executive Director, The Society of the Cincinnati Office: 202-785-1716 Cell: 202-531-9278 jwarren@societyofthecincinnati.org

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