Today in History: A Prayer at Valley Forge
During the long winter of 1777–78, when the Patriot army camped at Valley Forge, George Washington shared the hardships suffered by his men. He spent much of his time rounding up food, begging the Continental Congress for suppliers, and bolstering the troops’ spirits. His presence kept the army from disintegrating.
Tradition holds that one cold day, Isaac Potts, a Quaker farmer who lived near Valley Forge, was walking through the woods when he heard a low, solemn voice. Stealing quietly in its direction, he found a riderless horse tied to a sapling. The farmer crept nearer and through the trees saw a lone man on his knees in the snow.
It was General Washington. Tears marked his face as he bowed his head and asked God to look after his men.
At home that evening the farmer told his wife of the encounter, “All will be well, Martha,” he said. “If there is anyone the Lord will listen to, it is this brave man. I have seen General Washington on his knees. Our independence is certain.”
American History Parade
1639 - Three Connecticut towns adopt the Fundamental Orders, one of the earliest constitutions in the colonies.
1784 - The Continental Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the Revolutionary War.
1914 - Henry Ford introduces a moving assembly line for cars, reducing production time from more than 12 hours to about 90 minutes.
1943 - Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to travel by airplane while in office, when he flies to a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.