The encampment of the Continental Army at Valley Forge began 245 years ago today. We’re all familiar with the image of George Washington leading his troops across the frigid Delaware River. We know that it was a bitterly cold winter, but there are some interesting facts I hope to surprise you with today.
1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died of disease at the six-month encampment.
Food for the troops was scarce. The Oneida delegation, allies of the Patriots, arrived in May 1778 with white corn. Polly Cooper of the delegation instructed them on how to safely prepare the corn for consumption and stayed after most of her fellow Oneidans had left. She received a shawl from Martha Washington in thanks for her assistance.
In December it went down to 6 degrees F., 12 degrees F. in January, 12 degrees F. in February, and 8 degrees F. in March.
It was the last time United States soldiers served in a racially-integrated army until the Korean War in the 1950s.
The volunteer drill master was Baron von Steubon, a Prussian military commander. The Prussian military drills and tactics he taught the troops were used by the United States military for the next 30 years.
It is thought that 250 to 400 women were in the encampment, serving as cooks, nurses, laundresses, and menders of clothing.
Mary Ludwig Hayes, a.k.a., Molly Pitcher, was at Valley Forge with her husband. She is remembered for jumping into service to help load a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse after her husband was wounded.
Hannah Till was an enslaved cook for George Washington at Valley Forge. She purchased her freedom a few years later and became a salaried cook.
We hear a lot about our “forefathers” but not enough about our “foremothers!”
Since my last blog post
Look who’s reading my book! He must have found it on Amazon or in Harrisburg, NC at Second Look Books or Gift Innovations! It’s in short supply in Harrisburg until I get my next shipment. If you prefer an e-book, remember it’s available for e-book and in paperback from Amazon.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas or whatever holidays you are celebrating.
I hope you enjoy time with family and friends.
Remember the suffering people of Ukraine.
I’ll see you again here at my blog on December 26 – the last Monday in 2022!