Piece of Washington's war tent is found

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For nearly a century, a large oval-shape linen tent where George Washington is believed to have slept during the Revolutionary War sat on display in Valley Forge, Pa., with a gaping hole in its roof. But now a combination of luck and forensic detective work has led to the discovery of the missing section of fabric — snipped out, historians believe, by a memorabilia seeker — and to the discovery that the tent was originally striped blue and white.

"It is the missing piece," said Loreen Finkelstein, a textile conservator who made both discoveries while restoring the tent for the American Revolution Center, a nonprofit organization collecting artifacts and raising money for a Revolutionary War museum.

The tent, 25 feet 10 inches long by 17 feet 7 inches wide by 13 1/2-feet high, is a faded beige, but Finkelstein has learned that it was originally striped blue and white and had red wool trim.

Historic documents describe another sleeping tent with red and white stripes that was bought in May 1776 as part of a set of tents for Washington. Finkelstein's discovery appears to confirm for the first time that there was more than one set. Considering the wear and tear of traveling from one encampment to another, it is not surprising that Washington's quartermasters may have had several sets of tents.

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