Washington Creates, Trains, and Fights an Elite Army

December 1777 to June 1778

September 4-8, 2019

A BGES Revolutionary War Field University Program

Winter scene at Continental Army encampment at Valley Forge, Pa.
Harpers Weekly. Jan 27, 1877.

By the end of 1777, George Washington had lost Philadelphia and he found himself discredited and under pressure to restore American fortunes. We will examine the transformation of his defeated army at Valley Forge into a solid and well-trained fighting force. We then will examine how the young Marquis de Lafayette handled his 2,200-man force in the midst of a British effort to entrap him. After examining the British occupation of Philadelphia, we will study the ramifications and management of the British evacuation of Philadelphia and Washington’s intercept and battle at Monmouth Court House. The aftermath of the fight displays Washington’s maturation and leadership and sets the stage for a stalemate in the Eastern Theater. The war will be decided in the south and with the maturing relationship with the new French allies. This program teams well with our May Battling in the Backcountry tour.



One of the country’s foremost authorities of the 1862 Valley Campaign, as well as the most prolific scholar of modern campaign literature, Gary Ecelbarger has written four books about the campaign, two additional monographs, as well as at least a dozen articles and feature-length contributions in the nation’s top Civil War magazines. His most acclaimed works are We Are In For It!: The First Battle of Kernstown and Three Days in the Shenandoah: Stonewall Jackson at Front Royal and Winchester. He also possesses deep knowledge in the Revolutionary War and the Atlanta Campaign.

A leading scholar and battlefield guide on the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War, Scott Patchan has written four books on the region and dozens of articles in publications such as Blue and Gray, North and South, and Civil War Times. He also serves as a member of the Kernstown Battlefield Board of Directors and on the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation’s Resource Protection committee. His most recent publications include The Last Battle of Winchester: Sheridan, Early, and The Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 to September 19, 1864; Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and The Struggle for Chinn Ridge; and The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton and Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign. His blog is Shenandoah 1864.