Valley Forge and the Liberty Bell

Today, we headed in the opposite direction to visit Valley Forge and Independence Square in Philadelphia.

The grounds at Valley Forge were truly beautiful and well maintained.  Surprisingly, the multi-use trail through the park is enjoyed by local walkers and runners in addition to those interested in the historic aspect of the location.

The standard story of Valley Forge generally focuses on how General Washington tried to keep the army together under terrible conditions during a harsh winter.  Certainly, all this is true.  However, what a visit to the site reveals is the size of the camp, its tactical defenses and its strategic location in relation to Philadelphia.  The camp is big and in addition to living quarters, the soldiers also built support buildings and earthworks around the perimeter.  The camp is in a strategic location: far enough from Philadelphia to prevent a surprise attack by the British, close enough to Pennsylvania to react to British moves and located to protect the farming country of Pennsylvania.  The main problem was the flow of supplies during winter over poor roads.  After visiting this location and several other associated with the Revolutionary War, I’m surprised at the scope and length of the conflict.

After Valley Forge, we made a quick trip into Philadelphia for Jeanne to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  Being so close to July 4, the area was really crowded and under heavy security.  Eventually, we got through it all before heading back to the coach.  That evening, we sat around a campfire and watched the fire flies dance in the nearby woods.