Valley Forge, a village in Pennsylvania. It was the camp site of the Continental Army of the United States from December 17, 1777, until June 18, 1778. During these six months this ragged, discouraged army was transformed into a trained, disciplined, confident fighting force, but only after enduring tremendous hardships.
After months of campaigning and defeats, half of the 11,000 men who reached Valley Forge had no shoes, many lacked overcoats and blankets, and all were dressed in rags. The Continentals went without supplies for weeks, and epidemics of smallpox and typhus broke out. Men died by the hundreds. Some deserted; the enlistments of others expired. General Washington feared that the entire army would disband.
In February, Baron von Steuben, a former Prussian soldier, arrived at Valley Forge. Beginning by training squads to train other squads, and then proceeding through larger units up to divisions, he drilled, disciplined, trained, and reorganized the whole army. In March, new chiefs were appointed to the commissary and quartermaster departments, and supplies began to arrive with some regularity. In May the Continentals got the encouraging news that France had become their ally. Although the war was to last four more years, the tide had turned.
Valley Forge is on the Schuylkill River in Chester County, about 24 miles (39 km) north-northwest of Philadelphia. It was made a state park in 1893 and a National Historical Park in 1976. It covers 3,468 acres (1,403 hectares). The stone house that served as Washington's headquarters has been completely restored.