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Washington Crossing Historic Park slates two upcoming lectures


Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA) will hold two free lectures in early June.

The first is “Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 1. The second is “Founding Friendship: George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic,” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4.

The lectures will be held in person at the park’s visitor center, 1112 River Road in Washington Crossing, and live streamed on Zoom. Registration is required for each event at Those watching on Zoom will receive login information when they register. If you do not receive an email confirmation after you register, call 215-493-4076.

The June 1 lecture will feature military historian and author Ricardo A. Herrera discussing his book with the same name as the lecture. In this major new history of the Continental Army’s Grand Forage of 1778, Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution: the Valley Forge winter.

At Valley Forge, the army launched its largest and riskiest operation—not a bloody battle against British forces but a campaign to feed itself and prevent starvation or dispersal during the long encampment. Herrera brings to light the army’s herculean efforts to feed itself, support local and Continental governments, and challenge the British Army.

Highlighting the missteps and triumphs of both George Washington and his officers as well as ordinary soldiers, sailors, and militiamen,” Feeding Washington’s Army” moves far beyond oft-told, heroic, and mythical tales of Valley Forge and digs deeply into its daily reality, revealing how close the Continental Army came to succumbing to starvation and how strong and resourceful its soldiers and leaders actually were.

Books will be available for purchase and a book signing with the author will be held after the talk. This event is hosted by the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society.

The June 4 lecture will feature author Stuart Leibiger discussing his book with the same name as the lecture. In the book, Leibiger analyzes the rise and fall of the friendship and political collaboration between these two Revolutionary statesmen.

After teaming up to help win American Independence, Washington and Madison cooperated on the framing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. When Washington took office as first president, Madison was his right-hand man and confidant, providing advice on policy and precedents.

With the rise of the Federalist and Republican parties, however, Washington and Madison gradually drifted apart personally and ideologically, and eventually ended up as political enemies.