Sunday, October 20, 2013

Valley Forge
Aunt Chris is in New Jersey again (this time it is for the last time) and after our shift of collecting food at the local Trader Joes for the local shelters we headed for Valley Forge.  I did not realize that Valley Forge was so very close to us.  I should have, because we are in the Valley Forge Stake and the Valley Forge Mission Zone.  It was only about 13 miles from here.  We first went to the Visitor's Center and Chris insisted we pose for you.
Valley Forge is named so because it is on the Valley Creek and the forge af the Schuylkill River.  Washington chose this location because of its proximity to Philadelphia, the river, the many hills which would allow him to fend off any attempted attacks and the fertile farmland which he hoped would yield food for his soldiers.  That turned out to be a problem.  After much hunger a man named Greene was named quartermaster and he finally was able to procure the necessary food for the starving men.  Washington planned to winter his troops there and prepare for the coming spring and the battles that would ensue.
When the men arrived they constructed log cabins for their housing.  The officers had 2 men to a cabin and the enlisted men had 12.  The bunks looked to me like you would have to find your position and not roll at all because there just was no room.  The men revered Washington.  He was a very good general--concerned about his troops, tactical, kind.  Even though the circumstances were difficult the men were happy.
This arch was erected to honor all those encamped at Valley Forge and their sacrifice for freedom.  It reminds me of the Arch de Triumph in Paris.  I really liked it.  You will notice that there is a hint of the fall folage in the background.
When the camp originated there were 2000 of these little cabins built.  Another reason Washington chose this site was the abundance of timber for cabins.  At one time there were over 12,000 troops located at Valley Forge.  They did ok through December and January, but the next two months were harsh.
Yes!  We found another Covered bridge.  This one is quite unusual as it has open sides, is white and actually has been restored recently.
This was Washington's headquarters.  It was the home of the original owner of the land.  He was wealthy and actually lived elsewhere but used this home for the overseer of his large farm.  George Washington rented this place and Martha even came up from Mt. Vernon to spend time with him.  It was interesting to see the rooms inside and to think that the strategy of the war was formed there.
Volunteers reenact various parts of the story of Valley Forge.  This man told us all about the guard cabins.  Only 2 guards to a cabin.  Washington had 49 guards originally and when General Von Stueben, A Prussian who came to Washington's aid asked for another 100 guards Washington had very strict requirements for those guards.  He wanted clean handsome young men and nobody foreign born.  General Von Steuben worked these guards vigorously to form them into an actual fighting regimen and the rest of Washington's army was modeled after these guards.  The army spent 6 months total at Valley Forge.  The war itself lasted 8 years.  How thankful we are for these committed patriots.
This is a stained glass window in the George Washington Chapel.  It is an actual church, having services each Sunday.  Valley Forge is a National Park that extends about 2000 acres.  It is covered with walking trails and pets are welcome.  We saw lots of dogs.  Also, there were many bicycle riders enjoying the trails.  It is a beautiful park.

About our week:  We got a bit more missionary work.  We are picking up an investigator this morning for church.  I picked her up this week after she had been involved in a car accident.  Also, we went to visit a less active member.  We are going to be visiting him each week with the Sister missionaries.  So we are getting to do some REAL missionary work.  This week we will be having a planning meeting to prepare for the missionaries leaving and arriving next week.  We will also be getting some visa waiters headed to Brazil.

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