The Prayer at sink Forge through Arnold Friberg is just one of the best known paints of the American Revolution. The depicts George Washington at valley Forge, Pennsylvania in prayer top top his knees alongside his equine Nelson in ~ the continental Army"s encampment, during the disastrous winter that 1777-1778.

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The legend story was told through a local Quaker Tory called Isaac Potts, who stated he spied George Washington praying fervently in the woods alone during one that the bleakest times of the war for the Americans. You can learn much more about the horrible conditions at valley Forge, the alleged prayer that George Washington, including a personal testimony from someone to who Mr. Potts called the story and also the dramatic turnaround that come in the spring.

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The occasions at valley Forge

The british Army, under the command of Major basic William Howe, had caught Philadelphia in the autumn of 1777. In those days, it to be customary because that fighting militaries to take up winter quarters during the coldest month of the winter. In accordance, General George Washington chose to take up soldier for his undersupplied and underfed army 25 miles northwest the Philadelphia, near the tiny town the Valley Forge. This area to be a naturally defensible plateau, gift bounded top top the east by the Schuylkill River, with tiny creeks that would impede an strike from cavalry or artillery. The British would certainly be required to move uphill if lock made any attack on the Americans.

Valley build Historical Park

The starving troops marched right into Valley Forge top top December 19th where their very first order the duty was to build an ideal housing. General Washington issued orders for the construction of 16x14 huts the would home twelve men apiece. Every hut was built over a pit with a dust floor. Most of them had only a sheet because that a door. The huts to be cold, dark and an illness ridden.

Food particularly was hard to come by. There to be food obtainable in the countryside, but getting it to the troops was a daunting task. There were British troops to avoid. The wintry weather made roads impassable. The Continental currency was practically worthless, making neighborhood farmers reluctant to offer their goods to the famished army.

Poor sanitary conditions and close quarters brought about rampant disease in the Valley Forge encampment. Typhus and also dysentery were rampant. The is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 men passed away from disease during that winter.

The Prayer at valley Forge


George Washington is well known as a Christian believer. He was a continual church attender, holy bible reader and also giver to missionary organizations. He was known to leaving his armed forces camps regularly on Sundays to attend the solutions of any kind of church he might find, no matter which denomination it taken place to be. That was additionally a man of prayer, who would frequently be checked out ridinginto the woods to find a solitary spot to pray, or could be found in his personal quarters ~ above his knees through the bible opened, asking God for aid in his endeavors.

The Prayer at valley Forge is a relenten of one of these moment of intense prayer. It is stated that a local British loyalist called Isaac Potts came throughout Washington praying in the woods one cold, wintry day during that destructive winter that 1777 and also 1778. The Potts household owned a neighborhood iron forge, to which the name Valley forge referred, to identify it from various other forges in the area.

The Pottses were Quakers and also loyalists to the british cause. Isaac self was reportedly not connected with the build at this time, but owned and also operated a regional grist mill. All the grain the was handle at this grist mill was requisitioned through the Continental military during the Valley Forge encampment. In addition, General Washington actually stayed in the very home that Isaac Potts during the Valley Forge encampment, requisitioning it as his an individual headquarters.

There are some conflict accounts and questions around the accuracy of the story of Isaac Potts, George Washington and the prayer at valley Forge. The complying with account is taken native the "Diary and Remembrances" of the Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, one ordained Presbyterian minister and also graduate of Princeton with a level from Dickinson College, who was born in 1770 and also died in 1851. Rev. Snowden stated:

"I knew personal the celebrated Quaker Potts that saw Gen"l Washington alone in the woods in ~ prayer. I acquired it indigenous himself, myself. Weems pointed out it in his history of Washington, yet I obtained it from the man myself, together follows:"I to be riding through him (Mr. Potts) in Montgomery County, Penn"a close to to the sink Forge, where the military lay during the war of ye Revolution. Mr. Potts to be a councilor in our State and a Whig. I told him i was agreeably surprised to discover him a girlfriend to his nation as the Quakers were mostly Tories. He said, "It to be so and also I was a rank Tory once, for ns never believed that America c"d proceed against an excellent Britain whose fleets and also armies spanned the land and ocean, however something an extremely extraordinary convert me to the an excellent Faith!" "What was that," i inquired? "Do you check out that woods, and that plain. The was about a quarter of a mile turn off from the place we were riding, together it happened." "There," claimed he, "laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time the ye war, and also all were for providing up the Ship yet that good and good man. In that woods pointing to a nearby in view, ns heard a plaintive sound as, the a man at prayer. I tied my steed to a sapling and also went quietly into the woods and also to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington ~ above his knee alone, through his knife on one side and also his cocked cap on the other. He to be at Prayer come the God that the Armies, beseeching come interpose with his divine aid, together it was ye Crisis, and the reason of the country, the humanity and also of the world."Such a prayer I never heard native the lips of man. Ns left the alone praying."I went home and told mine wife. I experienced a sight and also heard now what I never ever saw or heard before, and just concerned her what I had actually seen and heard and also observed. We never thought a man c"d it is in a soldierand a Christian, but if over there is one in the world, the is Washington. She also was astonished. We believed it to be the reason of God, and also America can prevail." "He climate to me put out his appropriate handand claimed "I turned right around and became a Whig.""

There room several other accounts of the Prayer at valley Forge, greatly differing in young details, yet remaining substantially the same. One even exists in the creating of Isaac Potts" own daughter Ruth-Anna, who died in 1811. She relates the story even down come the information of Potts converting to the American reason after seeing General Washington in prayer.

Things change with the spring at valley Forge

The bright spot that arisen during the continental Army"s sojourn at Valley Forge was the they started a strictly training regimen under the direction the Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Stueben, much better known together Baron von Steuben, a previous Prussian captain that was hired by General Washington to inspect the troops and advise on their fight readiness. Baron von Steuben implemented a continual training schedule that taught the previously untrained troops exactly how to use the bayonet, maneuver on the battlefield and mount guard and also sentry duty. He additionally wrote a manual called "Regulation for the stimulate of discipline of the Troops that the joined States."

Things also adjusted for the Continental army in the spring v the meeting of General Nathanael Greene, to replace Thomas Mifflin, as Quartermaster General. The may be General Greene easily built brand-new roads and bridges and food and also supplies began to circulation into the camp. Another decisive moment arisen during the Valley Forge encampment through the official entry of the French right into the battle on the side of the americans in April. French supplies and uniforms soon began getting here in the encampment.

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The entrance of France ~ above the side of the Americans compelled the British come reassess your strategy of occupying Philadelphia. The French fleet could easily trap the British military in Philadelphia by cruising up the Delaware River. This brought about General Howe to decision to abandon Philadelphia in June 1778 and also return his army to brand-new York. General Washington and his winter hardened army soon marched ago into the city and chased the British together they retreated toward brand-new York through brand-new Jersey. This culminated in the Battle the Monmouth Courthouse in Monmouth, brand-new Jersey. A decisive victor was not really clear, however it to be the british who finished up fleeing native General George Washington and his freshly trained and also professional Continental Army. That is this same army that wound up fighting Lord Cornwallis at York, Virginia just a few years later, resulting in the defeat of the entire British army.

Even though the encampment at Valley Forge was a trying time for the brave American patriots, with lot suffering and loss of life. It was also a valuable time the training and also enduring the taught this when underprepared repertoire of farmers and also merchants just how to fight and win ~ above the battlefield. Apparently, Isaac Potts" premonition the a victorious George Washington and his American army came to pass and General Washington"s prayer at Valley build that job in the woods was answered!