The Continental Army Arrives at Valley Forge

tired-looking continental army soldiers march through a frozen field
Exhausted from a season of campaigning, soldiers and camp followers slog through the mud as they arrive at Valley Forge on December 19, 1777.

NPS Photo

Marching to Valley Forge for the Winter

By ten OClock we...march to a place Call'd Valley Forge being about five or six miles – and about Eleven oCK we Sit out, but did not arive there 'till after Sun Sit. During this march we had nothing to Eat nor to drink, but when we arrived, our Boy went to work to Bake Bread and of this we Eat like Insatiate Monsters...
~ Diary of Lieutenant Samuel Armstrong of the 8th Massachusetts regiment

On December 19, 1777, the ill-supplied Continental Army led by General George Washington arrived at Valley Forge after a tough season of campaigning against the British. The revolutionary army fought hard at Brandywine, Germantown, and Whitemarsh, but ultimately failed to prevent the British from occupying the capital city of Philadelphia.

More than 12,000 soldiers and hundreds of civilians supporting the army marched into Valley Forge, a location chosen for its strategic position and strong defensive geography. The Continental Army camped at Valley Forge for the next six months.

One of the first orders of business for soldiers upon their arrival at Valley Forge was securing adequate shelter to keep them warm and dry in the face of the oncoming winter weather, and General Washington ordered the troops to build log huts just prior to their arrival. But until those huts were complete, the soldiers had no other option than to sleep in wedge tents or brush huts.

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
2 minutes, 32 seconds

The ill-supplied Continental Army marches into Valley Forge on December 19, 1777. This is an excerpt from Determined to Persevere: The Valley Forge Encampment.

View the full 19-minute orientation film!

Loading results...
    animation, illustration, a flickering lantern, Virtual March-In

    Virtual March-In

    Check out the online programming from the commemoration of March-In in 2020!

    Valley Forge National Historical Park

    Last updated: May 10, 2024