I'm down in the Philadelphia, PA area visiting with my friend Ruth from Illegal Protest and we're plotting out our plans for fighting illegal immigration. I wanted to see some of the historical areas here and Ruth was kind enough to take me to Valley Forge where in the winter of 1777 George Washington, his officers and troops took refuge. Food and good clothing were scarce and many soldiers died.
Cannons surrounded the position as a defense
It was a beautiful day out and the area is surrounded by green trees and running water. The whole area itself is quite large. You really need a car to drive around, but there were many people jogging and riding their bikes on the paths that are there now. From reading my history on the location I always got the impression that it was a bunch of densely packed small log cabins, but in reality Washington's headquarters is quite a distance from the general Continental troop's quarters.
Cannon Overlooking a Bluff
Beds and Fireplace
The area is in the shape of an elongated triangle and on a high position surrounded by steep slopes. Looking out from the cannon in the picture it is wide open. I'd hate to be an enemy soldier attempting to climb the hill. There is almost no cover except for some trees pretty far out. You'd be completely exposed for the duration of your attack and the British would have suffered some serious casualties attempting to assault this location.
The beds in the general troops quarters reminded me of the triple bunks we had on our ship when in the Navy, but they are even more densely packed together with barely room to get into them. Without a fire going these must have felt like ice cold caves, but I can see it being quite cozy in the winter, though cramped.
Ultimately an attack from the British never came, but many of Washington's troops starved to death in the frigid cold.
(More pics below)
Your hosts on this journey, Ruth and Digger
George Washington's Headquarters
By contrast as you see above George Washington had a nice stone building to live in complete with a kitchen and hearth. Unfortunately it wasn't open to go inside and take a look at so I tried to take some pictures through the windows, but they didn't come out too well. So I got nothing for you.
The kitchen is in the small portion on the left of the arch.
I convinced Ruth to "strike a pose". I bet Washington never foresaw that.
A monument to the fallen unknown soldiers from the Daughters of the American Revolution
The monument above was dedicated to all of the unknown soldiers who died at Valley Forge.
One of the most impressive things that I saw while at Valley Forge was a monumental arch dedicated to those who went through the hell that was the winter. The intricate work on it was impressive, but even more so were the quotes placed on it.
Naked and starving as they are we cannot enough admire
the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery - George Washington
|To the officers and private soldiers of the Continental Army - December 19, 1777 June 19, 1778|
For you conspiracy theorists out there, you'll find it interesting to note that the memorial arch was funded by the Freemasons with a $1.5 million donation. In addition, above the quotes on the interior (see below) are both sides of The Great Seal.
A listing of the Continental Army Generals on one inside wall of the arch
Quote of Henry Armitt Brown
A shot looking up at the ceiling of the arch
in this place
in this vale of humiliation
in this valley of the shadow
of that death out of which
the life of America rose
regenerate and free
let us believe
with an abiding faith
that to them
union will seem as dear
and liberty as sweet
and progress as glorious
as they were to our fathers
and are to you and me
and that the institutions
which have made us happy
preserved by the
virtue of our children
the remotest generation
of the time to come
- Henry Armitt Brown
The ceiling was impressive, but I think the quote by Henry Armitt Brown above is something that needs to be read by all of those who now consider themselves Americans.
General Anthony Wayne - Once a Colonel in charge of a company of Minutemen
The impressive statue above is of General Anthony Wayne who at one point was a Colonel leading a company of Minutemen and eventually ended up as a Major General and Commander in Chief of the United States Army.
General Wayne has a very interesting story and was involved in major decisions during the Revolutionary War as an advisor to George Washington. He went on to reorganize the United States Army.
More info on General Anthony Wayne
Ruth has some video of our little adventure to Valley Forge and maybe she'll be putting some of it up later along with some remarks on what she thought about the trip, though she's been there many times in the past having come from this area.
For more info on Valley Forge