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Washington At Valley Forge

December 2023
1min read

On page 101 of the Oct. ’63 issue of A MERICAN H ERITAGE you characterize as apocryphal the story of Washington praying in the woods at Valley Forge. Please inform me of reading matter that supports the view you present. I am inclined to agree with you, but I’d like to have some basis for asserting it to pupils.

The best summation of the evidence is in George Washington and Religion, by Paul F. Boiler, Jr., (Southern Methodist University Press, 1963) pp. 8–11. Boiler says that the Valley Forge story is “without foundation in fact,” despite its being the favorite, perhaps, of all those who wish to make Washington a pious figure. Its inventor was the same Parson Weems who invented the story of Washington and the cherry tree.

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