Thursday, 5 November 2009

Visiting Valley Forge, Part 2

1. 2.


4. 5.

1. The entrance to the visitors centre.
2. Weapons of the period.
3. Camp cookware.
4. Valley Creek, between Mount Joy and Mount Misery
5. The Potts House.

Visiting Valley Forge, Part 1

On a recent business trip to Pennsylvania I headed toward Valley Forge NHP, seeing as I had a spare day I decided to allow the main part of the day walking and driving around the park.
Having seen photo’s of the “Valley Forge Huts” and having recently purchased two of the Grand Manner version of the huts (40mm models AMC40-04) I wanted to see them in the flesh for some painting inspiration.

The park is quite large probably on a scale of Saratoga which I visited some years ago, my first stop was the visitor centre (Stop 1) so I could get orientated and pick up a park guide, the visitor centre located near the park entrance has items on display, to be honest I felt a little disappointed as I thought we may a have seen a model of how Washington’s Valley Forge encampment may have been and what it looked like. After spending some time here and watching the film I set off to follow the road round the park stopping off at the various points identified on the tour map.

You never get to feel the lye of the land until you visit these places, to be honest I was surprised on how hilly and undulating the ground is, obviously the scene from “Revolution” although cinematic did not reflect the actual ground, in defence of this it did suggest how bare the land was and how it would have been when Washington’s Army marched into the area and stripped the land of materials to build the earth works and huts for the winter.

This caption was on one of the information panels which are dotted around Valley Forge.

Just 20 miles outside Philidelphia, Valley Forge was close enough to monitor the British Army activities but far enough away to prevent a surprise attack. Washingtom used this hilly country to his advantage, building defensive lines on ridges over looking Philidelphia to the east and nestling the camp against the Schuylkill River to prevent an attack from the north. From here he could protect the outlying regions, including York where the Continental Congress had fled. The area had abundant fresh water, trees for shelter and firewood, food and forage from local farms.

Stop 2, was the first set of huts located at where Mulhenberg's continental brigade of Virginia regiments formed part of the outer defenses and anchored the army. Here are the first of some of the recreated Valley Forge huts, on the day I visited there were some historical interpreters on hand to chat and answer questions, to the right of the position is redoubt no2, but on the old handout it is identified as “Ft Greene”. To the front of here are the reconstructed mounds with a field gun facing out towards the SE and Philadelphia.

I followed the road along to Stop 3, taking in the various markers of what and which brigade fell in along this outer line, behind the crest of the hill is what was the grand parade, the area is quite wooded and the ground commands the area towards where the British Army would have been, visiting in the fall made for a more pleasurable visit what with the varying tree colours.

Stop 3, this is the National Memorial Arch commemorating the American Soldier of the time, leaving here you head down hill to follow the road which rises up towards the position where the Pennsylvanian Regiments camped under the command of Anthony Wayne, stop 4 is the Wayne statue. This is the Southern outer defensive Line; again the hill falls away with the ground commanding what would have been a good view.

Leaving Stop 4 the roadway drops away towards Valley Creek and where General Knox commandeered quarters, Valley Creek runs between Mount Misery and Mount Joy, this deep ravine is a natural defensive feature, the roadway brings you out to where Washington had his headquarters at the “Isaac Potts House” Stop 5, this is right next to the Schuylkill River which was in the armies rear, the Schuylkill was crossed with a bridge constructed by General Sullivan as an escape route should the British attack, there was no way a surprise attack of any size would be reported on and seen.

The Isaac Potts house is a pleasant looking stone house, I have a fondness for historical buildings and this one is now one of my favorites, there was a park ranger here who conducted a tour and answered questions, the old Valley Forge rail station is where you should start off with first.

There is an information panel here that details the raid conducted by British Forces on September 18th 1777 when they swept through and raised the Forge, Saw Mill and Grist Mill to the ground; this was the only time there was any conflict in the area.

You leave the car park and head indirectly across the road following the winding road up Mount Joy and what was the inner defensive line, this natural feature when clear would command the area, heading down halfway you find the where redoubt No3 would have been and the remains of this and some of the inner line, there is an information panel here and another field gun marking this point.

The base of the hill opens up into the “Grand Parade” and the “Artillery Park” (Stop 8) where there are yellow barreled field guns! These look good from a distance but are very messy when viewed close up. Stop 9 is Varnums Quarter’s another old stone building, close by is a statue of Von Stueban who over look the Grand Parade, it was here in the June of 1778 that there was a grand review of Washington’s Army after it had had Stuebans simplified training in a new form of fighting in line.

Across the road from Stop 9 is redoubt No1, this was manned by Rhode Islanders, it was a star redoubt and I would expect it was quite a heavy fieldworks as it was there to guard the “Sullivan Bridge” spanning the Schuylkill River, all in all a pleasant time spent in a nice piece of countryside considering the urbanization of the area around Valley Forge NHP.


Monday, 14 September 2009

These two images show some of the new 40mm AWI buildings from Grand Manner, it was good catching up with Dave, these new buildings are actually designed by "Tony" who is Dave's oppo in this venture, Grand Manner do the casting.

I spoke with both Dave and Tony about what is planned for the range, it seems that there will be around 25 models altogether, sometime ago I gave them a disc with many images I had taken to help with the design of buildings for the AWI, the ones I had taken of the re-created "Hobkirk Farm" at the Tannenbaum Historical Park NC, assisted in its design.

There are now around 16 items currently in the range, as with all Grand Manner models well worth the investment.

Visit Grand Manner at


Sunday, 13 September 2009

Front Ranks painted 40's

These two images were taken during our recent visit to the Colours Wargames Show in Newbury, Berkshire, England. These figures are from the collection of Alec Browne proprieter of Front Rank Figurines.

The range is slowly growing, for the British we have early war Centre, Light and Grenadier figures, the dress is bassed on the 1768 clothing warrant, the Light Infantry come with serperate heads with variation of different Light Infantry caps.

As for the price! Well they are more affordable than when first released, I have always collected Front Rank, my main collection is from their 25mm AWI range, I have now jumped ship to the 40mm figures, this is now the way forward for me.


Monday, 7 September 2009


1) 2)
3) 4)
6) 7)

This is a start of our attempt to wargame the war using Front Rank 40mm figures, the images are some of those taken by various Redcoat members over the last 18 months, they detail some of the places visited.

1) Guilford Courthouse, the second line.
2) Fusiliers Redoubt, Yorktown.
3) At Kings Mountain.
4) Road marker Camden, SC.
5) Redoubt 10, Fort Benning Ga.
6) Front Rank Officer, Nco's and Drummer.
7) Front Rank firing line British.
The images of the 40mm Front Rank Figures show the figures near to completion, one thing we are seeing in converting from 25mm to 40mm is the time taken to paint them, these are going to be part of a yellow faced generic battalion for the Boston Garrison of 1775.
posted by Redcoat37th