On December 19, 1777, George Washington led a weary Continental Army into Valley Forge, 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. This was the beginning of a six-month encampment and major turning point in the American Revolutionary War.
Within days of arriving at Valley Forge, troops began constructing approximately 2,000 log huts in parallel lines that would house 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children throughout the winter. Washington directed that each hut measure 14 feet by 16 feet, 6½ feet high, a door next to the street and a fireplace in the rear. Soldiers cleared all the trees from the countryside for miles around, dragging back the lumber to build log walls, shingle roofs, and rough bunks and stools. Most of this mighty task was finished within a month, despite shortages of tools. For six months the log city’s population rivaled Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.
Today, the reconstructed huts are on the site of General Peter Muhlenberg’s encampment. The huts are the center for historical interpretation at the park, staffed with interpreters through the summer months, and help show what daily life was like in the Valley Forge camp.