Magical History Tour
On the Magical History Tour, one of several Valley Forge Escapes, you can follow in the Continental Army's footsteps to the 1777-78 winter encampment site.
After Congress fled Philadelphia in September 1777, General Washington sought to retake control of the colonial capital. He attacked Germantown, during the night, but at Cliveden house, barricaded British soldiers repelled the furious American assault. Wyck, the home of pacifist Quakers, served as a field hospital for many of the wounded, except for British General Agnew. After being shot, he was dragged to his death at Grumblethorpe, where his blood still stains the floor.
Washington's defeated army then trudged to Whitemarsh and encamped in the fields surrounding Hope Lodge, the headquarters of Surgeon General John Cochran.
Determined to annihilate Washington's rebels before winter, 3,000 British troops pursued the ragtag Pennsylvania Militiamen at Harriton House, in Bryn Mawr. Unfortunately the colonials tossed away their firearms and ammunition in a panicked retreat. Today, the home is restored to the time period (1789-1824) of its best known occupant, Charles Thomson, the secretary to the Continental Congress.
In December 1777, Washington's 12,000 men limped into the quiet village of Valley Forge. But, as spring blossomed, Baron von Steuben rigorously trained the troops, transforming them into an elite and unified fighting force that went on to win America's independence. The lush, 3,500-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park now showcases replica soldiers' huts, Washington's original headquarters and many monuments to the soldiers.
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