Valley Forge Remembers the December Arrival of Gen. Washington and the Continental Army

The Valley Forge encampment; the troops' 1777 arrival is being commemorated on Dec. 17.

The event that cemented Valley Forge’s notoriety in American history, the December 1777 arrival of the Continental Army, is being recalled this weekend.

Valley Forge National Historical Park’s commemoration of the arrival of the colonial troops is commonly known as “march-in.”

The name encompasses the estimated 10,000–12,000 soldiers (and hundreds of camp followers) who spent the winter there.

The site was chosen by Gen. George Washington for the elevated view it provided (the better to see possible British troop movements) and the expanded landscape suited to drilling maneuvers.

A city of log cabin “huts” provided shelter that winter, but conditions were very harsh: Freeze and thaw cycles affected transport and health, provisions of food and warm dry clothing ran short, and diseases like influenza and typhoid ran rampant.

Nonetheless, the army survived, trained, and left the following June.

The 2022 march-in commemoration on Dec. 17 — the 245th — includes both indoor (9 AM to 5 PM) and outdoor (11 AM to 6 PM) activities held in the Visitor Center, the Muhlenberg Brigade, and Washington’s Headquarters.

Full march-in details are online at the National Park Service.


This “Reading through History” video is a short encapsulation of Washington’s time at Valley Forge.

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