Valley Forge NHP Exhibit header graphic
George Washington
eneral George Washington assumed command of the newly formed Continental Army in July 1775. He was an inspiring and tenacious leader. However, early in the war his outnumbered and untrained men were no match for the British. He succeeded in keeping an army in the field despite more defeats than victories. By early fall 1777, the British captured Philadelphia, the American capital. This loss was reinforced by defeats at Germantown, Pennsylvania; Fort Mercer, New Jersey; and Fort Mifflin, Pensylvania.

Headquarters Winter Soldier George Washington's Letter
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ashington needed to establish a winter quarters that allowed observation of the British army without exposure to surprise attack. Valley Forge provided that location. Washington led 12,000 men into Valley Forge in December 1777. The winter was severe. Housing was overcrowded and food shortages were acute. Dispirited soldiers were poorly clothed and undernourished. Illness kept many from duty. Nearly 2,000 American soldiers died of disease.

n February 1778, von Steuben arrived in camp and introduced a tactical training strategy. He drilled soldiers into an effective fighting force. That June, Washington left Valley Forge to pursue the British as they evacuated Philadelphia. His newly trained and organized army fought the British to a standstill at the Battle of Monmouth.

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'Establishing Camp'
Go to 'Training and Discipline'
alley Forge was a turning point in the American Revolution. The great improvements in army discipline and organization the Continental Army learned here, coupled with French assistance on land and sea, lead to final victory and independence.

his exhibit features Valley Forge National Historical Park museum collections. The objects exhibited are American Revolutionary War period; however, few are known to have been specifically used at Valley Forge.
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Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2002