During the 1777 campaign, Washington tried to protect the young nation's capital of Philadelphia against attack from General Howe, but without success. Usa best places to visit From late 1777 into 1778, the Continental army wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. During that winter, Washington, with the help of Prussian drillmaster Friedrich von Steuben, worked to shape a truly professional army from his rough recruits.
The two men set about training their men in precision drill, which would allow them to perform linear evolutions on the battlefield and stand fast against British regulars, enabling the Continental army to meet the British on the field of battle and beat them on their own terms. On June 28, during the 1778 campaign, Washington's newly trained troops won a minor victory against the British rear guard at Monmouth Court House.
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For the next several years, Washington defended the Hudson Highlands of New York against British attack.
The Hudson served as a bridge between the Middle colonies and New England: if the British captured it, then they could sever the links between the colonies and defeat them one by one. On July 16, Washington ordered a bold night attack at Stony Point, New York, capturing a British garrison that guarded a crossing point on the Hudson River. The following year, Washington narrowly avoided disaster when he inspected the defenses of West Point, New York, and uncovered Benedict Arnold's plot to betray West Point to the British just as it threatened to come to fruition.