Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Valley Forge is also the name of a nearby town: Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Valley Forge was the site of the camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War. This was a time of great suffering for George Washington's army—but also a time of retraining and rejuvenation.
The army that entered camp on December 19, 1777 was reeling from defeats at Brandywine and Germantown. The British had occupied the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia, about 20 miles away. The American army was weak, poorly supplied, and ill. An estimated 2,500 men (out of 10,000) would die over the winter.
The Continental Army’s ordeal at Valley Forge—for generations a central national myth in the American historical consciousness—was not due to a harsh winter, but resulted from mismanagement of resources by the Continental Congress and local indifference to the plight of the army. Many local Pennsylvania farmers chose to sell their produce to the British in Philadelphia, who would pay in cash.
The Continental Army also used the time at Valley Forge for reorganization and for much needed training, the latter directed by the Prussian military theorist Baron von Steuben. The army departed Valley Forge on June 19, 1778, in better shape than it had been six months earlier.
The National Park
The modern park features a newly renovated visitor center, which shows and short film and has several exhibits.
Recreational activities in the park include hiking, walking, jogging, running, horseback riding, kite flying, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, and birding.
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