July 24, 2019

Museum Releases New Book on Discovery of Revolutionary-Era Watercolor Depicting George Washington’s War Tent

Among His Troops Explores the Detective Work Involved in Identifying the 235-Year-Old Watercolor and its Artist

A new book released by the Museum of the American Revolution provides a rare eyewitness view into the Revolutionary War. The 117-page, hardcover publication explores the Museum’s May 2017 discovery of a watercolor painting featuring the only known depiction of General George Washington’s headquarters tent in the field – the very tent that is dramatically presented at the Museum. 

Authored by the Museum’s curatorial team, Among His Troops: Washington's War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor is based on the Museum's first special exhibition of the same name, which was on view from January-February 2018.

It explores the detective work conducted by the Museum’s curators to identify the 235-year-old, seven-foot panoramic painting of the Continental Army’s 1782 encampment at Verplanck’s Point, New York. The previously unidentified painting appeared at auction in May 2017 – without attribution to an artist or precise information about the event it depicts – where it was spotted by curators from the Museum, who then purchased it. 

About the discovery, Dr. Philip Mead, Chief Historian and Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Museum, told the New York Times: “We have no photographs of this army, and suddenly here is the equivalent of Google Street View. Looking at it, you feel like you are walking right into the past.”

Among His Troops is now available for purchase in the Museum Shop onsite and online here for $60 (Museum members receive 10 percent off all Museum Shop purchases). The book is also available for purchase at The New-York Historical Society, where the Verplanck’s Point watercolor painting is currently on display as part of “Revolutionary Summer” through Sept. 15.

The publication includes two full-size pull-out prints, one of the panoramic watercolor of the Verplanck's Point encampment and one of a watercolor painting of the Continental Army at West Point, both painted by French-born military officer Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who is best known as the master planner of Washington, D.C.

Together, these paintings provide a rare glimpse into the relatively unknown period following the 1781 British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, as the Revolutionary War continued to rage. Paired with rich imagery of original objects from the encampments, Among His Troops tells the stories of the officers, female camp followers, and African American soldiers who continued the fight for independence as they encamped in the Hudson Valley in 1782.

About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and digital touchscreens bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.