Valley Forge National Historical Park

The Valley Forge National Historical Park is the site of a Revolutionary War encampment, northwest of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania.

National Memorial Arch

The arch is dedicated to the officers and private soldiers of the Continental Army who fought from December 19, 1777-June 19, 1778.

On the front of the memorial is a quote from George Washington’s letter to Governor George Clinton while at Valley Forge:

Naked and starving as they are
We cannot enough admire
The incomparable Patience and Fidelity
of the Soldiery

Located within the arch of the monument is a quote from a speech given by Henry Armitt Brown, an American writer and orator. Brown gave his speech at the 100 year anniversary of Valley Forge:
And here in this place of sacrifice, 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, 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, shall bless, the remotest generation, to the time to come

George Washington Monument: Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and First POTUS

From December 1777 to June 1778, when the Continental Army was encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania between Philadelphia, where the British were stationed, and York, the temporary seat of the Continental Congress. Though the winter took a terrible toll, with an estimated one fourth of the 10,000 soldiers perishing, the army left in the spring intact, largely due to Washington’s capacity as a leader.

Gen. Anthony Wayne: During the encampment, George Washington relied heavily on Wayne’s leadership, saying “In Wayne the spark of daring might flame into rashness, but it was better to have such a leader and occasionally to cool him to caution than forever to be heating the valor of men who feared they would singe their plooms in battle.” Wayne’s duties included recruiting replacement soldiers and providing clothing for the men of the Pennsylvania line.
von Steuben

As an out-of-work military professional from Prussia, Baron von Steuben landed in America on December 1, 1777, seeking work and a commission in the American army. On February 5, 1778, he entered York, Pennsylvania, where the Congress met while Philadelphia was occupied by the British and the American Army encamped at Valley Forge. There, the terms of his employment were negotiated, which included payment of his needed expenses, but no compensation until the United States won their independence from England. Serving as a volunteer, he arrived in Valley Forge on February 23, 1778.

With American leadership wary of foreign officers at the time, Steuben was not initially given a commission but asked to serve as acting Inspector General of the army. In March, he began drilling soldiers that he formed into a model company. Speaking only German and French, he wrote down his drill steps in French, which were then translated into English by aides. During training, he personally demonstrated the steps to the soldiers. Amusing at times because of his lack of English, Steuben’s colorful character quickly won the respect and enjoyment of the soldiers, but not necessarily the officers. Tradition has it that he would attempt to convey his orders with sign language when confusion over his lack of English. When that did not work, he would curse, stomp, and swear, which became a source of amusement for the troops. While at Valley Forge, Steuben initiated progressive training for troops, new and more efficient steps for handling firearms, and improved camp sanitation. He earned General George Washington’s trust and respect.

On May 5, 1778, the day before the celebration of the French Alliance, he was given the commission of Inspector General in the American army. The commands he wrote out day by day for drill were published in 1779 as the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. This manual was the official manual of the army until the War of 1812.

The back of the monument said: “In Honor of the PATRIOTS OF AFRICAN DESCENT who served, suffered, and sacrificed during the Valley Forge Encampment 1777-1778.” The Valley Forge encampment included many African Americans. The First Rhode Island Regiment, in General James Varnum’s Brigade, included many African American and Native American soldiers. Among them were two free black men, Shadrack Battles, a 32-year-old who enlisted in the Tenth Virginia Regiment in December 1779, and Windsor Fry, who served with the First Rhode Island Regiment. Salem Poor of Massachusetts, who purchased his freedom, came to Valley Forge after distinguished service at Bunker Hill and Saratoga.

This monument is erected by a grateful commonwealth in memory of the soldiers of Massachusetts who served at Valley Forge.
Continental Army
Justice Bell

The Justice Bell, known as the women’s Liberty Bell, with the addition of “establish justice” to the inscription, was used between 1915 and 1920 to call attention to and gain support for the campaign for Women’s Suffrage. The Bell’s casting was commissioned by Chester County’s Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger, an active member of the National Women Suffrage Association, which later became the League of Women Voters. The clapper was chained to its side silencing the 2000 pound bell.

On June 15th, 1915, the Justice Bell began a whistle stop tour of Pennsylvania in support of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania state constitution giving women the right to vote. The tour covered more than 5000 miles, crisscrossing every one of the state’s 67 counties in less than 6 months. After state amendment number one failed to pass, attention was turned to the introduction of an amendment to the US constitution, and the bell was used to support the cause of Women’s Suffrage at national political party conventions as far away as Chicago and rallies in Washington DC. 

Grade: A+

REFERENCE: Google Earth

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