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A zoomed in section of Verplanck's Point featuring General Washington’s tent perched on a hill overlooking the encampment
Museum of the American Revolution, Gift of the Landenberger Family Foundation

The image above is the only wartime image of George Washington’s war tent done by an eyewitness.

It is part of a larger watercolor painted a year after Washington’s victory at Yorktown by a French-born Continental Army engineer named Pierre Charles L’Enfant. A panoramic view of the Continental Army encampment at Verplanck’s Point, New York, in 1782, L’Enfant’s painting depicts Washington’s marquee tent on a hill overlooking the army.

Though a year had passed since Washington’s victory at Yorktown, the Continental Army expected continued fighting. Many soldiers were growing fed up with “endless war” and poor pay.

Washington’s tent stood as a beacon of virtue and republican leadership to his highly professionalized, but weary army. Presented here, the watercolor of the Verplanck's Point encampment allows us to encounter the Continental Army at the height of its professionalism, yet on the verge of crisis.

1.

Continental Army Along the Hudson

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2.

Washington’s Leadership

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3.

Pierre Charles L’Enfant

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4.

Discovery

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A zoomed in section of Verplanck's Point featuring General Washington’s tent perched on a hill overlooking the encampment

Interactive Feature: Picturing Washington’s Army

Explore two rare paintings of the Continental Army at West Point and Verplanck's Point, the latter of which includes the only known wartime image of tent that General George Washington used throughout much of the Revolutionary War. Both watercolors were painted in 1782 by army engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who later created the initial designs for what would become Washington, D.C. 

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Related Resources

Exhibit Catalog

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Acknowledgments

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Further Reading

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In the News

The New York Times

Washington’s Tent: A Detective Story

by Jennifer Schuessler

The story of how the Museum of the American Revolution found the only known depiction of George Washington’s traveling headquarters during the Revolutionary War was featured in The New York Times.

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Smithsonian Magazine

Newly Discovered 235-Year-Old Watercolor Shows Off General Washington’s Wartime Tent

by Julissa Trevino

“My heart leapt into my throat when I realized what this painting was,” Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, now the Museum President & CEO, said of the Verplanck's Point watercolor discovery.

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WHYY

Revolutionary War Army Comes to Life in Newly Discovered Painting

by Peter Crimmins

WHYY details the long, narrow watercolor landscape showing the scope of Washington’s Continental Army painted by army engineer and architect Pierre L’Enfant.

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