Forge National Historical Park
Forge is perhaps the best-known place name associated with the American
Revolution. To truly enjoy the park, it is important that you understand
the significance of the events associated with the winter encampment
of 1777-78. The National Park Service provides various programs,
tours, and other interpretive activities to help you grasp more
fully the dramatic story Valley Forge has to tell. Park Rangers
make every effort to accommodate all visitors in these presentations.
It is the goal of the National Park Service to make the park accessible
to all visitors.
December 19, 1777, when Washington's army marched into camp at Valley
Forge, tired, cold, and ill-equipped, it was lacking in much of
the training essential for consistent success on the battlefield.
On June 19, 1778, after a six-month encampment, this same army emerged
to pursue and successfully engage Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton's British
army at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey. The ordered ranks,
martial appearance, revived spirit, and fighting skill of the American
soldiers spoke of a great transformation having occurred amidst
the cold, sickness, and hardship that was Valley Forge.
man most responsible for this transformation was Friedrich Wilhelm
von Steuben, onetime member of the elite General Staff of Frederick
the Great, king of Prussia. No longer in the Prussian army, indeed
without employment of any kind, von Steuben offered his military
skills to the patriot cause. When he arrived at Valley Forge from
France on February 23, 1778, he was armed with a letter of introduction
from Benjamin Franklin. Washington saw great promise in the Prussian
and almost immediately assigned him the duties of Acting Inspector
General with the task of developing and carrying out an effective