Friday, July 2, 2021

Valley Forge, Metaphorically Speaking

  One of my favorite haunts in the Philadelphia area is Valley Forge. It’s a curious site, as epic Revolutionary War places go, since no battle took place there. George and the boys camped out here. It was real cold too. And while the history-nerd thrill seekers could overlook it as a non-event, the story of what took place not only determined the outcome of the war but serves as a metaphor for a company or an industry going through a long, hard season of isolation, reassessment and regrouping as a body.

The backstory on the place is the British had taken up cozy winter quarters by occupying Philadelphia following a series of battles, mostly unsuccessful for the good guys. Brandywine, Germantown, Fort Mifflin and Paoli, legitimate battle sites all around Philadelphia where the Continental Army was outflanked, over-powered, out-smarted and, in one case, flat-out massacred by an early morning surprise attack bayonet charge. Men trying to surrender were shown “no quarter” by their merciless foe. The option then was to attack the Brits in Philly, risking it all and possibly razing the fledgling capital city to the ground, or retire to an encampment for the winter well outside of town and reassess the whole situation. Some firebrand generals, spoiling for revenge, lobbied for the attack. Washington, who always got the opinions of his top brass before making a decision, opted for the time out. Continue Reading

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