Trenton Barracks (1758-1782) - A British French & Indian War barracks established in 1758 in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey. Abandoned in 1782.
History of Trenton Barracks
The Trenton Barracks was one of five barracks built around the present day State of New Jersey to quarter British troops during the French & Indian War. These barracks were built by the Colony of New Jersey to end the quartering of soldiers in private homes.
Construction of the barracks began on 31 May 1759 and finished in March of 1759. A substantial addition for officers was added in December 1759. The Highlanders were the first troops quartered there in 1759. The barracks continued in use until the formal end of Pontiac's War in 1766.
During the Revolution American soldiers, English soldiers, Hessian mercenaries, Tory refugees, and prisoners of war were sheltered in the building.
British Light Dragoons and Hessians troops were stationed at the barracks on 26 Dec 1776 when Patriot troops took the barracks by surprise and routed the British. The British commander, Colonel Johann G. Rall, was mortally wounded and about 900 British prisoners were taken to Newton across the Delaware River. The Patriots then withdrew from Trenton Barracks.
In 1781 the barracks was used to housed some 600 wounded Patriots from the battles in the Virginia campaigns.
After the close of the Revolution the building was not used, and was sold in 1787 by the State to William Ogden and William Harrison. Front Street was extended from Willow Street to the State House, and a portion of the structure was demolished during the lengthing of Front Street. This left the north wing standing on one side of the street and the south wing and part of the main structure on the other side. The barracks building became a museum in 1903, was restored in 1916, and restored again in 1998. The restorations removed the front street extension and rebuilt the destroyed sections of the barracks so that the building now replicates the 1759 structure.
Must See! Of the five barracks buildings erected in New Jersey during the French & Indian War, the Trenton Barracks is the only one that has survived. The twice restored former barracks building is adjacent to the New Jersey State House on South Willow Street and is now known as the "Old Barracks." The barracks stands today practically the same as when it was originally built and is furnished in the style of the period. The upper floor of the officer's quarters is devoted to the Old Barracks Museum.
Visited: 9 Jun 2016