Washington chose Valley Forge as the winter encampment for his 11,000 men along with approximately 500 women and children who accompanied them for several reasons. Discover the stories behind some of the famous names who made Montgomery County their home during those six months. Farmers quickly recovered, and within the decade the huts were largely gone, fields replanted, and woodlots re-sprouted. The scale of the Valley Forge encampment was impressive. Europeans began to settle the region in the late 17th century and gradually displaced the natives. Widespread devotion to the cause was an early war phenomenon for the most part. Download PDF Version) Starvation, disease, and exposure killed nearly … To fully appreciate the significance of what occurred at Valley Forge, the event must be placed in the context of the entire American Revolution. While there was never a battle at Valley Forge, disease killed nearly 2,000 people during the encampment. Following the American failures at the nearby battles of Brandywine and Germantown, Washington led 11,000 regulars to take … Many do not realize that the war lasted for eight-and-a-half- years, was international in scale, or that the American army campaigned in areas as far north as Canada, as far south as Georgia, and even west of the Allegheny Mountains. Life was incredibly difficult, if you survived. Valley Forge: Valley Forge, Pennsylvania was where the Continental Army spent the winter of 1777. Originally Valley Forge State Park, it became a national historical park in 1976. The officers formed the men into construction squads and instructed them to build cabins according to a 14-foot by 16-foot model. VAlley Forge had taken place the winter of 1777-1778. — Baron von Steuben to Baron de Gaudy, 1787-88. A Brief Overview of the Encampment The romantic image that depicts the troops at Valley Forge as helpless and famished individuals at the mercy of winter’s fury and clothed in nothing but rags renders them and their commander a disservice. The army hereafter would be more cohesive, healthier, and highly efficient. This article is extremely important in this time period. The encampment experience could be characterized as “suffering as usual,” for privation was the Continental soldier’s constant companion. The significance of the encampment lies both in its fact-based history and also its storied myth. Many regard Valley Forge as the birthplace of the American army. Valley Forge is an extremely important site to the American Revolutionary War. The army's camp sat high on a … The public’s disdain for standing armies limited his ability to raise a sizeable force. Valley Forge was a naturally defensible plateau where they could train and recoup from the year’s battles while winter weather, impassable roads, and scant supplies stopped the fighting. The mythical narrative is important in its own right for it reveals something about our character in the heroic way we wish the Revolution to be remembered. After they abandoned Philadelphia, the British had little to show for all of their past year’s efforts. Washington recognized the strain that this situation placed on his men and rewarded them with two months’ hardship pay. Valley Forge had been the Continental Army Encampment during 1777 until 1778. At Valley Forge in the spring of 1778, the army joyously celebrated the formal French recognition of the United States as a sovereign power and valuable alliance with this leading European nation. On arrival in December 1777, a Continental soldier would have seen an open, rolling landscape divided into many small crop fields and pastures by fences and hedgerows; woodlands and charcoal hearths on the mountains; and the smattering of structures in the Village of Valley Forge, including the ruins of the forges themselves - burned during a raid by the British three months earlier. These scattered Southeastern Pennsylvania gravesites have never been systematically commemorated. Pre-encampment Why did George Washington pick such a cold area for his winter encampment? What is Forge Valley Community School's motto? While Valley Forge was not a site of a great battle during the American Revolutionary War, it was the site of one of its pivotal moments. In the 19th century, iron mills and later a steel mill were operated there, as well as textile factories; saw, paper, and grist mills; wharves and a towpath associated with the Schuylkill Navigation Canal; a rail line with freight and passenger stations; stone and sand quarries; a water bottling plant; and enterprises including a hotel, stores, blacksmiths, and a tannery. While some refused to accept it, the nature of the war changed in July 1776 when a large contingent of English and Hessian troops reached America’s shores and sought to crush the rebellion. The lack of supplies, clothing and food meant the winter here was not a pleasant one. — Captain Alexander Graydon 24 August 1777. In the two key battles of the Philadelphia campaign, Brandywine and Germantown, the Americans fought with skill and courage. Having suffered a string of defeats that fall, including losing the capital of Philadelphia to the British, the Americans made camp for the winter outside of the city. The concepts of basic training, the professionalization of the officer corps, and the rise of the army’s distinctive branches, such as the corps of engineers, all got their start here. The Continental Army’s transformative experiences at Valley Forge reshaped it into a more unified force capable of defeating the British and winning American independence during the remaining five years of the war. These returns reveal that two-thirds of the men who perished died during the warmer months of March, April, and May, when supplies were more abundant. More than 10,000 men (and women) were part of the Continental Army's encampment at Valley Forge. As well, the participants had different values, and especially different ideas about what words such as liberty, equality, slavery, and freedom actually meant in practice. Valley Forge Encampment (1983). The British withdrawal from Pennsylvania protracted the war and played into his plans. 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