Departure of the Continental Army

Departure of the Continental Army

Saturday nearest June 19
On December 19, 1777, George Washington and between 11,000 and 12,000 of his Continental Army soldiers marched into Valley Forge, about 18 miles north of Philadelphia, to set up camp for the winter. The men were exhausted, hungry, and poorly equipped. Severe winter weather didn't make their stay at Valley Forge any easier, and they received only irregular supplies of meat and bread. Between 2,000 and 3,000 of the men died from typhus, typhoid, dysentery, and pneumonia before the winter was over.
It was largely through Washington's leadership and the efforts of Baron Friedrich Von Steuben that the dispirited army was turned into a well-trained, dependable fighting force by the following summer.
The anniversary of the day the Continental army marched out of Valley Forge in pursuit of the British, who were moving toward New York, is still celebrated with an historic reenactment that takes place on or near June 19 at the Valley Forge National Historical Park each year. In addition, the Army's return to Valley Forge is commemorated on December 19, and there is a muster roll in February.
CONTACTS:
Valley Forge National Historical Park
1400 N. Outer Line Dr.
King of Prussia, PA 19406
610-783-1077; fax: 610-783-1060
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 839