Muhlenberg Robe

The Case:

George Washington’s cherry tree, Betsy Ross’ flag, Paul Revere’s ride…now Muhlenberg’s Robe may be added to the list of debatable Revolutionary War legends.

The story goes that in January 1776, Lutheran Reverend Peter Muhlenberg turned his pulpit into a recruiting station for revolutionary fighters. During a fiery sermon, he tore his robe from his shoulders to reveal a uniform, and at once rallied 300 able-bodied congregants to the patriotic cause.

Is the robe that’s on display at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia the cloak that bore witness to this event?

History Detectives delves into rare, period accounts from Muhlenberg’s family, friends and contemporaries to find the truth behind the story of the reverend’s famous robe.

Discuss this story

Season 5, Episode 5

Elyse Luray Location:
Philadelphia and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

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