Friday, May 13, 2016

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Reconstructed Army Hut
We visited Valley Forge National Historical Park outside of Philadelphia. This is the site of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army. On December 19, 1777, 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children marched into Valley Forge and began to build what would become the fourth largest city in America, with 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications. During the next six months the number of troops would dwindle to 6,000 due to disease and desertion in the winter, and then grow to 20,000 before they marched out June 19, 1778. Disease killed nearly 2,000 people during the encampment.
Inside army hut
The land was ruined when the army left. Soldiers had cleared forests for many miles around to construct huts and build fires for warmth and cooking. Winter's constant rains and activity of thousands of people turned the fields into deep mud. The fields were so spoiled that no crops could be planted that summer. The farmers quickly dismantled the huts and reclaimed the wood. They plowed down the defensive earthworks and by the next summer they were growing crops again.

General Washington's Headquarters. Twenty five
people lived in this house including Martha Washington.
Far left, in the distance, are army huts for soldiers that
guarded the headquarters. 

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