The History of Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania

The History of Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania
Valley Forge National Historical Park, 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia, preserves and interprets the site where Gen. George Washington and his 12,000-man Continental Army encamped for the winter of 1777-1778 during the American Revolution.

Battling the British

Outnumbered by the 17,000 British troops under Sir William Howe, Washington's men fought at the Battle of White Marsh between Dec. 5 and 8, 1777. Following standard military strategy, Washington's men removed to winter quarters in Valley Forge on Dec. 19.


The soldiers built approximately 2,000 wooden huts in which to live during the winter. Disease ran rampant, as was common in such large camps. The army broke camp on June 19, 1778.

State Park

Inspired by the Centennial and Memorial Association of Valley Forge's actions to save Washington's headquarters, Pennsylvania named Valley Forge State Park its first state park in 1893.

National Landmark

The National Park Service designated Valley Forge a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and included it on the first National Register of Historic Places in 1966.


On July 4, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford visited Valley Forge State Park to sign authorization papers for the National Park Service to take control of the park and create Valley Forge National Historical Park, a gift from Pennsylvania to the nation.

Article Written By Johnny Galluzzo

John Galluzzo leads nature tours throughout the northeastern United States and since receiving his bachelor's degree in history from UMASS Amhest in 1993 has written 30 books on the Boston area, New England and the Coast Guard. He regularly contributes to "South Shore Living" and "Ships Monthly" magazines.

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