Friday, June 5, 2020
US flag

Indomitable American spirit was forged here in Pa.

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (Aug. 4) — This wasn’t the site of any great battle of the American Revolution, but it was no doubt the place, just west of Philadelphia, where Americans initially came together to fight for a single common cause: freedom from the British Crown.


Valley Forge National Historic Park (National Park Service/public domain)

“It was a triumph of endurance and dedication over starvation, nakedness, cold, disease, and uncertainty,” writes John BB Trussell Jr for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in his pamphlet entitled Epic on the Schuylkill. “In addition, it marks the transition of a determined but disparate, untrained, and independent-minded band of men into an effective, disciplined fighting force.”

The landmark, where George Washington’s troops arrived on December 19, 1777, was initially preserved by citizens and volunteers in the 1870s, when they built the monuments and vistas you would see today if you visit the national historic park.

“Grateful Americans will come to this shrine of quiet valor, this forge of our Republic’s iron core,” President Gerald R Ford said at Valley Forge on the 200th birthday of the nation.

Still today, thousands of volunteers regularly invest their time to share with others the vision of the national treasure as a place of commemoration and inspiration.


Monument at Valley Forge (Voxitatis)

Most of the tourism is south of the Schuylkill River, but during the encampment of Washington’s troops in the 1770s, the part of the park north of the river was not so quiet.

The army used this area to receive and store supplies, let animals graze, and operate a farmer’s market that supplied soldiers with fresh food. After more than half a year of encampment, the south side started to smell a little rotten, and Washington ordered the army to move across the river to what he called “good air and good water.”

A canal and railroad were added in the 1800s, and farmers returned to the area. Coalmines upstream, however, polluted the river so that it was completely black by the 1940s, and a massive cleanup effort included the building of huge stone embankments to filter the flowing river. You can still see these embankments today, as you rent and ride a bike around more than 18 miles of designated historic trails that take you by:

  • Washington’s headquarters and the Memorial Chapel
  • The Patriots of African Descent Monument
  • The Soldiers of New Jersey Monument
  • Varnum’s picnic area and quarters (open seasonally)
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.