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Military: Revolutionary War

This is an image of Anthony Wayne Statue at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley 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.

On 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.

The 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 training program.

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Last Modified: Tues, May 22 2001 08:47:54 am EDT

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