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Valley Forge National Historical Park

Commander in chief's guard huts

Picture 19 of 25

Washington's guards occupied the huts near Headquarters. At the beginning of the encampment, fifty guards protected General Washington, his baggage and valuable papers. To be in the life guard, as the troops called it, one originally had to be a property-owning, native-born Virginian. It was assumed such men would be loyal to Washington.

After Baron Friedrich von Steuben arrived in February 1778, one hundred additional men from various state regiments were detailed to the guard. Steuben personally trained them at marching, musket loading, and charging with the bayonet. Under his skilled instruction the life guard became a model company for drilling the entire army.

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