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  • In 1758, during the French and Indian War, the Old Barracks was constructed by the colony of New Jersey in Trenton. British soldiers were housed here until 1776. In December, 1776, American forces, retreating from a year-long series of defeats in New Jersey, crossed the Delaware southward into Pennsylvania to escape the British army. Then, on Christmas night, American troops under General Washington re-crossed the river north into New Jersey, winning a stunning victory the next morning over British and Hessian troops housed in the Old Barracks. This success, together with victories at a second Battle of Trenton and at Princeton in the subsequent ten days, marked the turning point of the American Revolution. Independence would be gained in 1783. From March of 1777 until the treaty of Paris in 1783, the Barracks served as a military hospital, primarily engaged in the inoculation of Continental Army soldiers with smallpox during an army-wide effort that was likely the first, successful, mass-inoculation in Western history. The building later fell into disrepair, until in 1902 it was purchased by a small group of local patriotic women who became the Old Barracks Association and opened it as the Old Barracks Museum in October of 1903. They gave it to the State of New Jersey in 1914, with the Old Barracks Association continuing its day to day programming and operation to this very day. It was fully restored in 1915-1916 and again in 1995-1998.