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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

George Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge


In December 1777 Gen. George Washington brought his troops to encamp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, about twenty miles outside of British occupied Philadelphia. The large stone mill house beside an iron forge on the homestead of Quaker Isaac Potts became headquarters to the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, the "Pentagon" so to speak, and housing for himself, chief aids, officers, and advisers, etc. for the next six months. The house had an attached kitchen, downstairs parlors, bedchambers upstairs, and servants/additional sleeping quarters in the attic. There may have been a log annex beside the house to help accommodate up to the twenty five individuals who supported the General. 

Washington used this hilly country at Valley Forge to his advantage, building defensive lines on the ridges overlooking Philadelphia to the east and nestling the camp against the Schuylkill River to prevent attack from the north. From here he also could protect the outlying regions, including York, where the Continental Congress had fled. The area had abundant fresh water, trees for shelter and firewood, and food and forage from local farms. The move to Valley Forge prevented the British from making any inroads into Pennsylvania’s interior, still heavy with supplies. Washington and his troops remained at Valley Forge until June of 1778 during which time he trained his troops, boosted morale during the harsh conditions that developed, and maintained his status as head of the Continental Army.



Here I am, humbly smoothing my hand over the same wooden railing that George Washington touched many a time as he climbed the stairs to his bedchamber for rest. Or perhaps he simply leaned upon this post as he pondered the fate of our country.



How often did the great general pace this hallway, I wonder. From the door he could view some of the troops small log huts (see photo below), ever mindful of his soldiers. It is said that Gen. Washington would allow soldiers to come in out of the cold and rest on these very stairs.


 

General Washington's office is set up as it would have been as during his time at Valley Forge.




The photos below show the officer's parlor where they conducted their business.


 

The iron forge beside the mill house certainly was an advantage to have handy for the army.




To get an idea of what the entire encampment looked like click on this map to enlarge. You will see where Washington's headquarter's is located in the top area and area that inhabited the 11,000 plus troops.



If you'd like to see the general's bedchamber, please visit my post George Washington Slept Here.


Have you ever been to Valley Forge? Is there an historical location that you have been that ever left you awe struck? I really think this one was it for me on many levels. 


New Englander CARLA GADE writes from her home amidst the rustic landscapes of Maine. With eleven books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online at carlagade.blogspot.com.

9 comments:

  1. Great post! This is my kind of place! I went Williamsburg when I was grade school but i wasn't old enough to appreciate like I would now. (I'd love to go there.) I've been to Monticello and Mount Vernon many times. ( We lived on the Virginia side from DC. My dad was transferred there.) I love historical places!

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    1. I love Colonial Williamsburg! I had a chance to visit there a few years back and meet CQ's Carrie. How fun it would be to see Monticello and Mount Vernon as you have!

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  2. I have never been to Valley Forge but I am so glad that it and other historical places have been preserved for the generations.

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    1. I agree with you, Andrea! It is a blessing that so many historical places are available as memorials for us to enjoy and visit.

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  3. Wow! Thank you for your post! I would love to have walked where Washington walked and see where he made many important life changing decisions. I have been to the Lincoln Memorial. would love to be able to visit all things historical.

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    1. It was such an honor to be there. The place was huge and there is so much more to share. I loved the presentations they had in some of the buildings to learn about the events and see artifacts.

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  4. Yes, we have been to Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania, and I'll admit I was rather underwhelmed by the park there. Disappointed that there was so little going on and not much there. Glad you got to visit inside the house I think it was closed when we visited. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. We really enjoyed it, beginning with the fascinating exhibits in the train station. The mill house was definitely the highlight though. Further down the road there was much more exploring to do and the visitor's center was very interesting and well done. Did you have the opportunity to go there? If you went off hours, I can see it would be a quiet place. The countryside was beautiful though.

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  5. Great post Carla! I have not been to Valley Forge but would like to one day.
    Russell & I went to Williamsburg, VA years ago on our anniversary. We really enjoyed it & I would like to go back again.
    Blessings, Tina

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