The Pursuit of History: Forging the Continental Army
Sessions, Speakers, and Schedule

The Winter that Won the War

Phillip S. Greenwalt, MA, is a 15-year veteran of the National Park Service and is currently the Chief of Interpretation and Education at Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. He is the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and a full-time historian with Emerging Civil War. He is the author or co-author of five books on the American Revolution and American Civil Wars, including The Winter that Won the War: The Winter Encampment at Valley Forge, 1777–1778. He currently resides in Frederick, Maryland.

→ His book, The Winter that Won the War: The Winter Encampment at Valley Forge, 1777–1778, is included in the optional book package available when you register. If you bring your book with you, he will sign it Friday.

The Leadership of General Washington

Mark Edward Lender, PhD, earned his doctorate in American History from Rutgers University. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Kean University, from which he retired as Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2011. He is the author or co-author of eleven books and many articles and reviews in early American social, military, and institutional history. His latest books are Cabal! The Plot against General Washington (2019), and Fort Ticonderoga, the Last Campaigns: The War in the North (2022). His scholarship has won awards for writing and research, among them the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book of the Year Award (2017) and a Distinguished Writing Award from the U.S. Army Historical Foundation, both for Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle. He was also a finalist for the 2017 George Washington Literary Prize. In 2018 he held a Research Fellowship at the Smith National Library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Dr. Lender helped establish the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area as their First Vice President, and he wrote the teacher training materials adopted by Morristown National Historical Park. He is a recipient of the Richard J. Hughes Award, the highest honor bestowed by the New Jersey Historical Commission for contributions to New Hersey history. Lender lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife, Rutgers University librarian emerita and author Penny Booth Page.

→ His book, Cabal! The Plot against General Washington, is included in the optional book package available when you register. If you bring your book with you, he will sign it Friday.

The Military Discipline instilled by Baron von Steuben

Richard Bell, PhD, is Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was a finalist for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award and the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Center for History and Culture and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Bell is the author of a forthcoming book on Baron von Steuben.

Twitter: @R_J_Bell

Women at the Valley Forge Encampment

Nancy K. Loane, EdD, the author of Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment, has also published several articles about Valley Forge and written for the Journal of the American Revolution. Following the Drum received the Book of the Year Award from the Revolutionary War Round Table of Philadelphia.

Dr. Loane has spoken at the Library of Congress, Colonial Williamsburg, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge as well as given about 250 other presentations throughout the country. Her talks, all based on primary research, focus on the Valley Forge encampment itself as well as the women at camp, Martha Washington, the soldiers’ letters from Valley Forge, Baron de Steuben, and several of her favorite women of the Revolutionary era. Nancy also served as an advisor on Valley Forge National Historical Park’s orientation film.

Dr. Loane, a former seasonal park ranger at Valley Forge National Historical Park, served many years as a board member of the Valley Forge Park Alliance and currently volunteers at the park. An honorary life-time member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, she has also participated in four archaeological digs at Valley Forge. Nancy, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Speaker, has been interviewed on several radio shows, the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and C-Span. She was also featured in the “Martha Washington” segment of a TV series about our nation’s First Ladies.

→ Her book, Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment, is included in the optional book package available when you register. If you bring your book with you, she will sign it Friday.

On the Ground at Valley Forge

Aboard a coach and on foot, guide Ken Gavin takes us through Valley Forge, placing it in the context of the American Revolution, describing the factors behind the choice to encamp at Valley Forge, and the critical events that transpired that winter.

Why is Valley Forge important? Why is it remembered and revered? Those questions are fundamental for any visitor to the historic grounds encompassing the encampment for the main Continental Army during the winter of 1777–1778. While the queries appear basic, the answers are complex.

You have the opportunity to join the renowned and highly acclaimed Ken Gavin for an in-depth tour of Valley Forge National Historical Park. For the past 15 years thousands of visitors have been captivated by his passionate presentation style and depth of knowledge about not only the encampment, but also the broad scope of the American experience over time.

His program will explore the complex military, political, economic, and social elements of the Valley Forge story. He will place Valley Forge in the broader context of the American Revolution; explain the factors behind the choice to encamp at Valley Forge; explore the many critical events that transpired during that winter; and delve into the historiographical evolution of Valley Forge as well how it developed as an historic site visited by nearly 2 million people each year.

A firm believer that the work of history is borne out on the back of the common people, Mr. Gavin will weave the elements of his program together by keeping human interest stories at the forefront. The quality and depth far surpass the typical historic site tour and has to be experienced in person.

Kenneth A. Gavin is a seasoned professional in the fields of history and communications with over two decades of experience.

He currently serves as Chief Communications Officer for one of the largest non-profit entities in the Philadelphia region. Mr. Gavin is also an independent consultant advising historic sites and other non-profits regarding interpretive programming, site management, communications, and crisis navigation. For the past 15 years, he has worked as an interpretive guide at Valley Forge National Historical Park. There, he has led nearly 200 substantive tours for thousands of visitors in addition to serving as an historical advisor for the park’s official introductory film.

Previously, he worked full time as lead project manager for approximately 60 Teaching American History grant programs across the country. In that role, he developed and delivered content and pedagogy rich presentations on United States Military History for K-12 teachers with a special focus on the American Revolution and American Civil War time periods.

In addition to his background as a speaker, he possesses 20 years of experience in the realm of living history and serves as commander of the recreated Spencer’s Additional Regiment of the Continental Line. A strong believer in historic education and preservation, he has extensive board service background for a variety of museums and historic sites including the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library and the Princeton Battlefield Society.
Mr. Gavin has also been a preferred model for noted artists Don Troiani and Jeff Trexler. Both have utilized him as central figures in their works.