On December 19, 1777, twelve thousand members of the American Continental Army staggered into Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, a small encampment twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia. They were poorly fed, ill-equipped, coming off a string of demoralizing defeats at the hands of the British, and faced a harsh winter ahead. Their general, a focused and forceful man named George Washington, was at the lowest point in his career. The Continental Congress was in exile, its treasury depleted. When the rebels arrived at Valley Forge, it looked like they would be on the losing side of history.
As days passed, however, Washington realized that the British would not attack, and he embarked on a mission to reshape his army from the top-down. Aided by his close advisors Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, Henry Knox, and William Howe, his wife Martha, and new friends and allies, Washington transformed the troops from a rag-tag band of volunteers to a fighting force that was ready to take on the British. In six months, he turned the tide of the Revolution and changed the future of the United States forever.