"The Prayer at Valley Forge," engraved by John C. McRae, 1866.
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George Washington praying under trees; military camp in background.

Credit: Library of Congress

In the 1790s, Washington biographer Mason Locke Weems made up the story of Quaker farmer Isaac Weems observing Washington praying in an Oak Grove at Valley Forge to demonstrate Divine sanction of the War for Independence. American soldiers courage and endurance during the Valley Forge winter gained renewed meaning during the American Civil War. John McRae based his engraving of Washington's "Prayer at Valley Forge" on an 1866 painting by Henry Brueckner.

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