On this day in 1777, commander of the Continental Army George Washington leads 11,000 soldiers into Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for their winter encampment.
Though named for an iron forge on Valley Creek in Whitemarsh, the name Valley Forge is symbolically significant.
Washington and his army were most certainly at a low point. They had lost the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Philadelphia that year. His army was tired, cold, and they lacked proper equipment, nourishment, and training.
More than 2,500 of those soldiers would be dead before spring.
Washington himself faced criticism ranging from incompetence to dictatorial ambitions from both congress and his subordinate generals.
On June 19, the Continental Army marched out of Valley Forge disciplined, organized, better equipped, and exhibiting esprit de corps. Nine days later they forced a British retreat at the Battle of Monmouth. We know the rest.
Through all this, we have the legend of “The Prayer at Valley Forge,” which is also the name of the famous painting by Arnold Friberg that inspired the silhouette of Our “George Washington… Invisible Hand” t-shirt, HERE in Our shop.
Though impossible to prove or disprove, and although we will not, in our earthly lives, hear the words of Washington’s presumed prayer, we do have other words from Washington that suggest he would “fervently beseech… blessings” of “the great Ruler of nations.”
First, here is just ONE of his Proclamations for “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.”
Next, the quote from his Inaugural Address that inspired Our shirt:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”
Finally, a portion of his Resignation Speech given on December 23, 1783, peaked by “gratitude for the interposition of Providence“:
“I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my Official life, by commending the Interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.”
As we know, that would not be the end of his “Official life.”