Friday, May 23, 2014

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Last weekend we celebrated Memorial Day early by touring one of the most famous places in Revolutionary War history.  Valley Forge was the site of the 6-month winter/spring encampment by the Continental Army from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778.

The first day we visited it rained all day but the next day was sunny when I took a pic of the visitor's center.

 Inside the center is an excellent museum, a short film about Valley Forge and a great gift shop.  The advantage of a rainy day is that the rangers have time to answer all your questions and, in fact, are eager to talk to you.

The driving tour includes the National Memorial Arch dedicated in 1917 to commemorate the "patience and fidelity" of the soldiers who wintered here.

While experiencing a unusually harsh winter, supply shortages, exposure, and poor sanitation the men were housed, not in tents, but in a city of 2,000 plus huts laid out in parallel lines along planned military avenues.

There were many other winter encampments during the course of the war but Valley Forge remains the most famous due to the nearly 2,000 deaths out of the 12,000 men camped there.  Disease, not cold or starvation, was the true scrouge of the camp with most of the men dying during the warmer months of March, April, and May when supplies were the most abundant.

At that time Valley Forge was, in fact, populated with quite a few homes and farms.

Most of the officers took advantage of the relative comfort of a room or two in someone's home - whether the owner liked it or not.

General James Varnum occupied this early-1700s farmhouse.  It was good to be an officer!

Next time:  General Washington's Headquarters


  1. I have no idea why we have never been there-thanks for the tour:)

  2. I had no idea that the officers were treated so well!
    A treat to see.