1977 Christmas issue featuring General George Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. This stamp was issued on October 21, 1977.
With winter almost completely setting in, and the prospects for campaigning greatly diminishing, General George Washington sought quarters for his men. Washington and his troops had just fought what was to be the last major engagement of 1777 at the Battle of White Marsh (or Edge Hill). He devised to pull his troops from their present encampment in the White Marsh area (now Fort Washington State Park) and move to a more secure location for the coming winter. Though several locations were proposed, he selected Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Philadelphia. It proved to be an excellent choice. Named for an iron forge on Valley Creek, the area was close enough to the British to keep their raiding and foraging parties out of the interior of Pennsylvania, yet far enough away to halt the threat of British surprise attacks. The high ground of Mount Joy and the adjoining elevated ground of Mount Misery combined with the Schuylkill River to the north, made the area easily defensible.
On December 19, 1777, when Washington's poorly fed, ill-equipped army, weary from long marches, struggled into Valley Forge, winds blew as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter's fury. Grounds for brigade encampments were selected, and defence lines were planned and begun. Though construction of more than a thousand huts provided shelter, it did little to offset the critical shortages that continually plagued the army. This nice cover was given to me by my good friend Hemant.