Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

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What happened here:

Place name: Valley Forge Continental Army Winter Encampment

Location: Valley Forge, PA

Event in Hamilton’s life: During the harsh winter of 1777-1778, when the Continental Army set up camp at Valley Forge near Philadelphia, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton provided critical assistance to General George Washington by developing a detailed plan for reorganization of the army, actively supporting the efforts of the German-born Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to train and convert the American Army into an exemplary military force, and representing the American side in direct negotiations with the British for the release and exchange of military prisoners.

Get the Details: 
During the Revolutionary War, Hamilton served for four years as an aide-de-camp to General Washington, who recognized and esteemed his extraordinary depth of knowledge and diverse abilities. Washington regularly solicited Hamilton’s opinion and often entrusted him with missions of particular sensitivity and importance.

When the main Continental Army set up winter camp at Valley Forge in December 1777, Hamilton was still away on a critical mission on Washington's behalf to deliver orders to General Gates in order to arrange for immediate reinforcements to be sent from the northern troops to the main army camp near Philadelphia.

Upon Washington’s request late in 1777 for the general officers’ opinions regarding reorganization of the army, Hamilton submitted a report containing his own acute observations on and criticisms of the widespread deficiencies and abuses in the military, offering clear solutions with the aim of establishing order, discipline, effectiveness, safety, and eliminating waste of supplies and ammunition. When Baron von Steuben appeared at Valley Forge in late February of 1778, Hamilton and General Nathanael Greene assisted him in submitting his proposal for training the army. Once von Steuben was appointed acting inspector general of the main army and launched his efforts to raise its discipline and effectiveness, Hamilton, along with his close friend John Laurens, provided enthusiastic support and helped with interpretation and military language expertise.

In March 1778, Hamilton was entrusted with an official diplomatic mission—he was appointed one of four commissioners for negotiating a treaty and convention for the exchange of prisoners of war.

Sponsored websites: National Park Service - Valley Forge

Links to related websites:
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania


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How to visit:

The Valley Forge National Historic Park is a National Park Service site and entry is free. Included within the park are its grounds (open 365 days a year), a Visitor's Center, Washington's Headquarters, and other attractions. 

Visiting information: Plan your visit

Address: 1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406

Telephone number(s): Visitor Center 610-783-1099 

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