Alongside Gen. George Washington’s brave fighting men at Valley Forge, at least 400 women, 700 Blacks and many Indigenous Peoples served. Women’s History Month is a time to reflect briefly on a few of women’s contributions to the American Revolution.
Women in the trenches
“During the American Revolution, many women took to the road and followed their enlisted loved ones in the Continental Army.” The National Parks Service writes that: “They walked with their possessions, and often their children.” Washington grew to appreciate the roles they filled to the survival of the army. Some women earned rations as nurses. Others laundered, cooked and mended clothes.
Mary Ludwig Hayes, “Molly Pitcher”
(October 13, 1744 – January 22, 1832) – The daughter of a New Jersey dairyman, Mary Ludwig married a barber named William Hayes. “During the American Revolution, her husband enlisted in the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment. Mary joined him for the Philadelphia Campaign and the Valley Forge winter encampment. During the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, she famously assisted an artillery crew load a cannon in place of her injured husband,” records history.
Read more about “The Women Present at Valley Forge.” Over the remaining years of the American Revolution, thousands of women and children traveled with the army and suffered the same hardships as the men, says the NPS. Read more here.
Valley Forge Sites
Moving through the newly renovated Valley Forge museum, visitors learn “how men, women, and children from many different walks of life all struggled together during the winter of 1777-78.”
Around the grounds there is a 10-mile loop with many scenic views of the park and numerous historic sites and monuments. A fact-filled 60-minute Audio Tour is available for purchase to help visitors envision the arduous winter.
Or, you can jump on one of the 90-minute guided Trolley tours. Between March 26-May 29, they run on weekends only, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. From June 4-Sept. 5, the tours go daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Check with the Visitor Center for costs and special tours.
If you go
Valley Forge National Historical Park
1400 North Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA
The Visitor Center, including museum, is open daily