From Home to Headquarters: Washington in Worcester

Photo of a George Washington reenactor at the Peter Wentz Farmstead.

Twice in October of 1777, General George Washington used the Peter Wentz Farmstead as his headquarters.  After the British captured Philadelphia on September 26th, Washington and his troops moved throughout what we now know as Montgomery County while the commander-in-chief planned his next moves.  Washington first came to Wentz on October 2nd and 3rd, spending the night in the upstairs bed chamber.  In the early morning hours of October 3rd, the army left Worcester and began their trek towards the city.  The Battle of Germantown was fought on October 4th.  Although the Continental Army seemed to have an early advantage, a combination of bad weather and miscommunication led to a disappointing defeat.  Washington retreated back to Pennypacker Mills where the army regrouped and tended to their wounded.  

After making their way down Skippack Pike, Washington and his troops returned to Worcester on October 16th.  Once again, Washington stayed at the Wentz house.  Along with Washington, his Life Guard, aides-de-camp, and household staff would all have stayed at the Wentz property.  While staying at the Wentz house, Washington learned of the Continental Army’s important victory at Saratoga and ordered a feu-de-joie—a 13 cannon salute followed by the entire army performing a running musket fire left up and down their lines.

Washington dictated 25 letters and 8 orders while on the Wentz property, some of which mention the Wentz property by name.  Other documentation of Washington’s visit includes an invoice written by Matthias Wentz for the reimbursement of food and drink Washington and his men consumed while at the Farmstead, coming to 7 pounds, 13 shillings, and 5 pence.

Click through to learn more about Washington’s stay at the Wentz household.

Visit us from September 30, 2022 to November 28, 2022 to view our new annual exhibit—From Home to Headquarters: Washington in Worcester, featuring a re-creation of Washington’s traveling office as it might have looked during his visit to the Farmstead!

 

This exhibit was made possible through a generous grant from the Springhouse Questers.

EVENTS


Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
 Exhibit Opening - From Home to Headquarters: Washington in Worcester

We know that Washington slept here, but what else did he do?  Join us for the grand opening of our new exhibit – From Home to Headquarters: Washington in Worcester – to find out!  View the recreation of Washington’s Aide-de-Camp office and learn about the Peter Wentz Farmstead’s connection to the Battle of Germantown.  Hear stories about the other visitors Washington brought with him – from his 50-man Life Guard, to his household staff of both hired and enslaved workers, and his aides-de-camp: including Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, and Tench Tilghman.  

All ages; free.  No registration required.

 Sunday, October 2 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
 Bloodhounds: A Look at the British Light Infantry

George Washington was headquartered at the Peter Wentz house in order to stage an attack on the British at Germantown. Although the Americans initially had the advantage at the Battle of Germantown, the disciplined British troops rallied and put the Continental army into retreat. One of the challenges Washington’s men faced in battle were the British light infantry, who were known as bloodhounds for the way that they relentlessly pursued the patriot forces. Join the recreated His Majesty’s 40th foot, light infantry company as they demonstrate the tactics that these crack troops employed against the Washington’s soldiers.  Demonstrations will take place at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.

All ages, free.  No registration required.

 Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 pm
 They Passed This Way Campfire Program

Did you know that George Washington and the Continental army traveled along the same routes in Montgomery County that we often drive on today? Come to this campfire program to hear about the places that Washington and his men visited including the Peter Wentz house and Methacton Hill.  Join Ranger Marc and gather around the campfire to hear first- person accounts from soldiers and civilians who lived and witnessed this fascinating time in our shared past.

Follow the lanterns from the parking lot to the campfire. In case of bad weather, the program will be cancelled.

All ages; free.

 Saturday, October 15 at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, or 3:00 pm
 For the Trouble of the House

How do we know George Washington stayed at the Peter Wentz house? As it turns out Washington kept a detailed expense account that lists both room and board that he paid to those who provided it for him and his staff. For example, for the dates that Washington stayed with the Wentz’s, there are receipts that that show that the general paid Peter’s son Mathias Wentz for milk, butter, cabbages and other food items. Records also show that the general paid Mathias for rent, in entries recorded as “for the trouble of the house.”  Come and learn about Washington’s stay with the Wentz’s as we delve into these accounts that make history spring to life.

All ages; free. Limited space; registration required.  Meet at the visitor center at the scheduled times.