Writings from the Valley Forge Encampment of the Continental Army, Volume 1, December 19, 1777-June 19, 1778


Hundreds of letters and documents written at Valley Forge have been published in collections that represent the best remembered men of the Revolution. There are also documents of uncounted numbers by lesser officers and staff functionaries that have never been published, or have been printed long ago and are no longer readily available.

The intent of this effort is to present a selection of these, as the first of several such volumes, to allow greater understanding and appreciation of the Valley Forge Encampment. A brief introduction describes the events that led to General George Washington's decision to encamp at Valley Forge. During the six months spent there, the Continentals suffered for lack of shoes, blankets, clothing and food, and complained loudly of tardy and insufficient pay. The garrison at Valley Forge was at odds with local people who traded with the British forces occupying Philadelphia, while the officers in camp bickered among themselves. The men also celebrated when they heard news of American victories and the signing of the Treaties of Alliance and Commerce with France. Camp rumors occasionally spread, but the arrival of Friedrich von Steuben instilled a new discipline which boosted the general morale and dramatically improved battlefield deployment.

Documents are arranged chronologically, and the original spelling and punctuation has been retained. A descriptive note at the foot of each entry gives the source location of each document, and identifies the writer and recipient the first time each individual appears. The author scoured the National Archives and more than 20 other state archives, university libraries, and historical societies in his search for these rare papers.

An index to full-names, places and subjects adds to the value of this work.

Joseph Lee Boyle

(2000), 2008, 5½x8½, paper, indices, 196 pp.

ISBN: 9780788415296