A Momentous Event at Valley Forge
One of the most telling events in the life of this Man of Destiny will not be found in any of our high school or college history texts. But it certainly should be!
It is said to have taken place during the dread winter of 1777. This was a time when the Revolutionary War wasnt going well for the vastly outnumbered and ill-equipped Colonial forces.
The Continental Army had been defeated in two major battles and British invaders occupied Philadelphia!
Washington had retreated to the Pennsylvania plains.
The situation was desperate!
There was near famine!
Temperatures fell far below zero!
Winds blew with gale force.
Soldiers with no shoes struggled barefoot in the snow and ice.
Bloody foot prints could be seen in the snow on the ground.
Feet and legs froze until the turned black and were amputated.
Morale was at an all time low.
More than 3,000 patriots died that winter.
Men had no blankets to wrap around their bodies while trying to sleep.
Nor did many have clothing to cover their bare bodies.
Defeat and surrender were staring Washington in the face.
Nevertheless, a great number of people believe that God chose this time of misery to give a prophetic vision to George Washington. The story of this remarkable event is fully covered below.
Setting the Scene
There was little hope for victory that day during the winter of 1777. American forces were desperately fighting against the British, at the time the most powerful nation in the world. Did it happen that the great General momentarily dozed and dreamed while sitting in his headquarters at Valley Forge? Or did he have an angelic visit through a daydream? This is the time when George Washington is purported to have had a vision that described the future of the Republic -- included were victory in the Revolutionary War; the fighting between Americans in a Civil War; and a third World War yet to come.
Yet, great caution must be taken in the acceptance of the validity of any visions or dreams of men. Washingtons purported vision, does however, have some quite remarkable factors which seem to be fully factual with regards to U.S. history.
The Origination of the Story
The story of Washingtons purported vision was in the beginning published in the NATIONAL TRIBUNE in 1859 and subsequently reprinted in other publications including THE STARS AND STRIPES. The vision was initially described to a reporter named Wesley Bradshaw by an officer (Anthony Sherman) who claims to have served under General Washington at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777.
How it All Began
Mr. Bradshaw begins: "The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the Fourth of July, 1859, in Independence Square. He was then 99 years old, and becoming very feeble. But though so old, his dimming eyes rekindled as he gazed upon Independence Hall, which he had come to visit once more."
"Lets go into the hall," said Mr. Sherman. "I want to tell you of an incident of Washington's life, one which no one alive knows of except myself; and if you live, you will before long see it verified. Mark the prediction, you will see it verified."
Washingtons Vision as Described by Anthony Sherman
"From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, reveals Mr. Sherman, now good and now ill, one time victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of 1777.
Ah! I have often seen the tears coursing down our dear commander's care-worn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington's going to the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort. And God brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.
"One day, I remember it well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly. He remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon, alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dark, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of an office, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:
Washington Describes His Guests
"I do not know whether it is going to the anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful being. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of the visit. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat the question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of the eyes.
"By this time I felt strange sensations spreading over me. I would have risen but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to speak, but my tongue had become useless, as if paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitor.
"Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed to fill with sensation, and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor also becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my eyes than before. I began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompanied death. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move. All were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly, vacantly, at my companion.