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Picture Scramble # 15 1 July 2000


Prayer at Valley Forge

George Washington in prayer for the welfare of his troops and the nation during the severe winter of 1777 and 1778. (12 pieces)

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In the history of America the story of Valley Forge is one of the most heroic. George Washington was encamped with his soldiers at Valley Forge. Their greatest enemy was that of the cold and of starvation. The British on the other hand enjoyed the comfortable luxury of staying in Philadelphia for the winter. Speaker of the House, Champ Clark, paid tribute to Washington and his soldiers when he said,

"We stand today on ground hallowed by the unspeakable suffering of as true a band of patriots as ever lived. We are assembled here to pay tardy tribute to the deeds of the portion of the brave men who made us free. The story of Valley Forge is one of the most heroic and beyond all question the most pathetic chapter in the history of the American army. It required more courage and fortitude to freeze and starve in the [encampments here] during the awful winter of 1777 and 1778, than it did to charge the British regulars in the open field, or to assault them in the redoubts of Yorktown. Here in the winter of discontent, our fortunes sank to the lowest point. But from this place, Washington went forth conquering, and to conquer, and to become the foremost man of all the world."

The Prayer at Valley Forge, painted by H. Brueckner, refers to the story as related by Mr. Potts who said,

"Do you see that woods, & that plain. It was about a quarter of a mile off from the place we were riding, as it happened. There laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods I heard a plaintive sound as, of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods & to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world."



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