Valley Forge In4
Despite all the winter misery, the Continental Army left Valley Forge in a better condition. Why?
Learn more about how General George Washington led the American army to victory in the Revolutionary War.
In June 1775, Congress ordered General George Washington to take command of the Continental Army besieging the British in Boston. Despite having little practical experience in managing large, conventional armies, Washington proved to be a capable and resilient leader of the American military forces during the war. While he lost more battles than he won, George Washington employed a winning strategy that included signal victories at the Battle of Trenton in 1776 and Yorktown in 1781. Washington’s greatest wartime legacy was his decision to surrender his commission to Congress, affirming the principle of civilian control of the military in the new United States.
A close examination of some of Washington’s writings provides many clues as to why Washington joined the Revolutionary War.
Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775, and John Adams nominated George Washington to serve as the army's Commander-in- Chief. These are the battles that Washington personally secured his legacy as "First in War."
Historians Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin argue that General Washington was indeed the indispensable man of the Revolutionary War.
How did George Washington turn a battlefield draw into a strategic victory? Learn about this and other interesting facts about the battle in this new interview.
Learn more about General George Washington's central role in securing America's independence during the Revolutionary War.
Learn more about George Washington’s bold crossing of the Delaware River as part of his attack on the Hessian forces at Trenton.
Why did Washington cross the Delaware? Learn that and more about the Trenton-Princeton Campaign.
Learn more about spies and spycraft in the American Revolution. George Washington was our nation's first spymaster.
During the Revolution, the army used fifes and drums not only to boast morale, but also for communication and regimentation.
In his hand or at his hip, swords were a constant part of George Washington's life. See Washington's Revolutionary War swords and more.
Watch an animated presentation on General Washington and the Yorktown Campaign of 1781.
Washington victory at the Battle of Princeton helped to save the Patriot cause at one of its darkest hours. Learn more about this remarkable and important battle.
A small selection of the most notable weapons, accoutrements, and gear that Washington used over the course of his long and distinguished career
We spoke to author Michael Harris about the Brandywine Campaign of 1777 and its importance to the American Revolution.
Learn more about how American newspapers covered the Revolutionary War in this interview with Todd Andrlik.
Attending the Second Continental Congress in military uniform, George Washington was appointed as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army by his fellow congressmen.
After his appointment as Commander-in-Chief in Philadelphia, Washington traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to take command of the newly formed Continental Army positioned around Boston.
With the arrival of heavy guns from Fort Ticonderoga, Washington made the bold decision to place these artillery pieces upon Dorchester Heights. From this lofty position Washington could target the British ships in Boston harbor. British attempts to deny the American's this position failed and the British forces departed Boston on March 17, 1776.
A British amphibious assault upon the American positions atop Brooklyn Heights led to a signal British victory. Facing the prospect of a total defeat, Washington was able to save his remaining forces by shuttling them across the East River to Manhattan.
William Howe's regulars attacked and defeated Washington's Continental Army at White Plains as part of the 1776 New York Campaign.
After crossing the icy Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776, Washington led his forces in an attack upon the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington's lightning attack surprised the Hessians and led to the capture of almost two-thirds of the 1,500 man force - at the cost of zero American combat casualties. This victory greatly bolstered the sagging morale of the Continental Army.
George Washington and the Continental Army are defeated by General Howe's force marching north. Howe was able to successfully flank the American forces holding positions across the Brandywine Creek near Chadds Ford.
Despite losing yet another battle to Gen. William Howe, Washington and his French allies were impressed with the vigor and determination shown by the Americans at the Battle of Germantown.
Upon the conclusion of the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign, Washington led his poorly fed and weary army to winter quarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Washington's army was ravaged by disease, cold, and sickness during its time in Valley Forge. Washington repeatedly asked Congress and other local magistrates for support of his wasting army. During the time at Valley Forge, the Continental Army did receive improved field training from Baron Friedrich von Steuben.
Seeking to strike the British army as it made its way north from Philadelphia, Washington's Continental Army attacked the British forces under the command of Sir Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis near Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey.
While Valley Forge is more famous, the winter that Washington's army confronted in its winter quarters at Jockey Hollow, near Morristown, New Jersey, was the coldest in recent memory. It was here at Morristown that the Continental Army was nearly starved out of existence. The constant lack of food and the never-ending hard winter led to the mutiny of several Continental regiments. Washington declared that the army could "perish for want of food."
After deciding to take advantage of the arrival of the French West Indies fleet off the coast of Virginia and the precarious position of Lord Conwallis' army, Washington and Rochambeau agreed to march their armies south in a bold attempt to attack the isolated British garrison.
After almost a month since the start of the American and French siege of Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis agrees to surrender his British and Hessian forces to Gen. Washington. This total victory over the British is the final major military action upon the continent.
Aware of the growing dissatisfaction within his officer corps stationed near Newburgh, New York, Washington deftly confronted a group of officers planning to march on Congress. Asking to speak to the officers during their gathering at the "Temple", Washington's plea for patience and continued loyalty won over the conspirators and defused a potential military coup.
With the war now at an end, General George Washington surrendered his commission to Congress in Annapolis, Maryland. Washington's actions reaffirmed his core belief that the military was subordinate to civilian rule - a central principle of the new United States.
As Commander in Chief, Washington relied on a number of officers to help him win the war.
At the time of the American Revolution, the British government had access to a powerful and diverse fighting force.
Author Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy discusses the many challenges facing Britain and its military during the Revolutionary War.
Mount Vernon had the opportunity to speak with famed historical artist Don Troiani and his ongoing artistic interest in the American Revolution.