1977 13¢ Washington at Valley Forge
Issue Date: October 21, 1977
City: Valley Forge, PA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
The Bicentennial theme was repeated on the 1977 Traditional Christmas stamp, which pictures General George Washington at prayer in Valley Forge.
The Continental Army Endures the Winter at Valley Forge
From December 19, 1777, to June 19, 1778, the Continental Army, under the command of General George Washington, camped at Valley Forge. Valley Forge is located about 25 miles west of Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River. Washington took his army there after losing the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Washington chose to camp at Valley Forge due to its defendable location and proximity to farm supplies and trade routes.
That winter proved to be unusually harsh. The troops were poorly clothed and supplied, and had only the rough log shelters they had built themselves. To make matters worse, there was a smallpox epidemic. Of the approximately 10,000 troops camped at Valley Forge, about 2,500 died.
However, General Washington’s determined leadership, as well as that of the officers under his command, such as the Marquis de Lafayette and Baron Frederick von Steuben, held the troops together. In fact, when a small group of officers attempted to stir sentiment against Washington, Lafayette was one of the general’s staunchest supporters. The shared hardships toughened the American army and solidified its determination. The recently defeated, undisciplined troops that entered Valley Forge in December emerged a highly skilled fighting force in June.
The Bicentennial Series
The U.S. Bicentennial was a series of celebrations during the mid-1970s that commemorated the historic events leading to America’s independence from Great Britain. The official events began on April 1, 1975, when the American Freedom Train departed Delaware to begin a 21-month, 25,338-mile tour of the 48 contiguous states. For more than a year, a wave of patriotism swept the nation as elaborate firework displays lit up skies across the U.S., an international fleet of tall-mast sailing ships gathered in New York City and Boston, and Queen Elizabeth made a state visit. The celebration culminated on July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The U.S.P.S. issued 113 commemorative stamps over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial, beginning with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Emblem stamp (U.S. #1432). As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model for liberty.