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Valley Forge

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Valley Forge
Part of The American Revolution
Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge.jpg

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge
DateDecember 19, 1777 – June 19, 1778
Location40°05′49″N 75°26′21″W / 40.096944°N 75.439167°W / 40.096944; -75.439167Coordinates: 40°05′49″N 75°26′21″W / 40.096944°N 75.439167°W / 40.096944; -75.439167

Valley Forge functioned as the third of eight winter encampments for the Continental Army's main body, commanded by General George Washington, during the American Revolutionary War. In September 1777, Congress fled Philadelphia to escape the British capture of the city. After failing to retake Philadelphia, Washington led his 12,000-man army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, located approximately 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Philadelphia.[1][2] They remained there for six months, from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778.[3] At Valley Forge, the Continentals struggled to manage a disastrous supply crisis while retraining and reorganizing their units. About 1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died from disease, possibly exacerbated by malnutrition.

Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park protects and preserves over 3,500 acres of the original encampment site.[4]

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Continental Army

Continental Army

The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies representing the Thirteen Colonies and later the United States in the American Revolutionary War. It was formed on June 14, 1775 by a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia after the war's outbreak. The Continental Army was created to coordinate military efforts of the colonies in the war against the British, who sought to maintain control over the American colonies. General George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and maintained this position throughout the war.

General officer

General officer

A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, and marines or naval infantry.

George Washington

George Washington

George Washington was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and served as president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which created and ratified the Constitution of the United States and the American federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of his Country" for his manifold leadership in the nation's founding.

American Revolutionary War

American Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War, also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of the United States, fighting began on April 19, 1775, followed by the Lee Resolution on July 2, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The American Patriots were supported by the Kingdom of France and, to a lesser extent, the Kingdom of Spain and the Dutch Republic, in a conflict taking place in North America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the second-largest city in both the Northeast megalopolis and Mid-Atlantic regions after New York City. It is one of the most historical cities in the United States, and once even served as the nation's capitol city until 1800. The city's population at the 2020 census was 1,603,797, and over 56 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of Philadelphia. Since 1854, the city has been coextensive with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the Delaware Valley, the nation's seventh-largest and one of the world's largest metropolitan regions with 6.245 million residents in 2020. Philadelphia is known for both its extensive contributions to American history, as well as its role in art and music.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park is the site of the third winter encampment of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, taking place from December 19, 1777, to June 19, 1778. The National Park Service preserves the site and interprets the history of the Valley Forge encampment. Originally Valley Forge State Park, it became a national historical park in 1976. The park contains historical buildings, recreated encampment structures, memorials, museums, and recreation facilities.

Pre-encampment

In 1777, Valley Forge consisted of a small proto-industrial community located at the juncture of the Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River. In 1742, Quaker industrialists established the Mount Joy Iron Forge. Largely thanks to capital improvements made by John Potts and his family over the following decades, the small community expanded the ironworks, established mills, and constructed new dwellings for residents.[5] Surrounding the valley was a rich farmland, where mainly Welsh-Quaker farmers grew wheat, rye, hay, Indian corn, among other crops, and raised livestock including cattle, sheep, pigs, and barnyard fowl.[6] Settlers of German and Swedish descent also lived nearby.

In the summer of 1777 the Continental Army's quartermaster general, Thomas Mifflin, decided to station a portion of his army's supplies in outbuildings around the forges, because of its variety of structures and secluded location between two prominent hills. Fearing such a concentration of military supplies would undoubtedly become a target for British raids, the forge-ironmaster, William Dewees Jr., expressed concerns about the army's proposal. Mifflin heeded Dewees' concerns but established a magazine at Valley Forge anyway.[7][8]

After the British landing at Head of Elk (present-day Elkton, Maryland), on August 25, 1777, the British Army maneuvered out of the Chesapeake basin and towards Valley Forge. Following the Battle of Brandywine (September 11, 1777) and the abortive Battle of the Clouds (September 16), on September 18 several hundred soldiers under General Wilhelm von Knyphausen raided the supply magazine at Valley Forge. Despite the best efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton and Captain Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, the two Continental army officers selected to evacuate the supplies from Valley Forge, Crown soldiers captured supplies, destroyed others, and burned down the forges and other buildings.[8][9]

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Proto-industrialization

Proto-industrialization

Proto-industrialization is the regional development, alongside commercial agriculture, of rural handicraft production for external markets. The term was introduced in the early 1970s by economic historians who argued that such developments in parts of Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries created the social and economic conditions that led to the Industrial Revolution. Later researchers suggested that similar conditions had arisen in other parts of the world.

John Potts (Pennsylvanian)

John Potts (Pennsylvanian)

John Potts was the founder of the town of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He was also an ironmaster, merchant, and English Quaker.

Ironworks

Ironworks

An ironworks or iron works is an industrial plant where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e. the singular of ironworks is ironworks.

Flint corn

Flint corn

Flint corn is a variant of maize, the same species as common corn. Because each kernel has a hard outer layer to protect the soft endosperm, it is likened to being hard as flint; hence the name. The six major types of corn are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn.

Magazine (artillery)

Magazine (artillery)

Magazine is the name for an item or place within which ammunition or other explosive material is stored. It is taken originally from the Arabic word "makhāzin" (مخازن), meaning 'storehouses', via Italian and Middle French.

Elkton, Maryland

Elkton, Maryland

Elkton is a town in and the county seat of Cecil County, Maryland, United States. The population was 15,443 at the 2010 census. It was formerly called Head of Elk because it sits at the head of navigation on the Elk River, which flows into the nearby Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth of the Bay at the south end located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its northern portion in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others surrounding within its watershed. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers parts of six states and all of District of Columbia.

Battle of Brandywine

Battle of Brandywine

The Battle of Brandywine, also known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American Continental Army of General George Washington and the British Army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777, as part of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). The forces met near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the second longest single-day battle of the war, after the Battle of Monmouth, with continuous fighting for 11 hours.

Battle of the Clouds

Battle of the Clouds

The Battle of the Clouds was an aborted engagement of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War on September 16, 1777, in the area surrounding present day Malvern, Pennsylvania. After the American defeat at the Battle of Brandywine, the British Army remained encamped near Chadds Ford. When British commander William Howe was informed that the weakened American force was less than ten miles (16 km) away, he decided to press for another decisive victory.

Lieutenant colonel

Lieutenant colonel

Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officers in the armies, most marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. Several police forces in the United States use the rank of lieutenant colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence. Sometimes, the term 'half-colonel' is used in casual conversation in the British Army. In the United States Air Force, the term 'light bird' or 'light bird colonel' is an acceptable casual reference to the rank but is never used directly towards the rank holder. A lieutenant colonel is typically in charge of a battalion or regiment in the army.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was a Nevisian-American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first United States secretary of the treasury from 1789 to 1795.

Henry Lee III

Henry Lee III

Henry Lee III was an early American Patriot and U.S. politician who served as the ninth Governor of Virginia and as the Virginia Representative to the United States Congress. Lee's service during the American Revolution as a cavalry officer in the Continental Army earned him the nickname by which he is best known, "Light-Horse Harry". He was the father of Robert E. Lee, who led Confederate armies against the U.S. in the American Civil War.

Winter quarters

Soldier's Quarters at Valley Forge
Soldier's Quarters at Valley Forge

Political, strategic, and environment factors all influenced the Continental Army's decision to establish their encampment near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in the winter of 1777–1778. Washington conferred with his officers to select the site that would be most advantageous to his army.

Site selection

Washington first asked his generals where to quarter the Continental Army in the winter of 1777–1778 on October 29, 1777.[10] In addition to suggestions from his officers, Washington also had to contend with the recommendations of politicians. Pennsylvania state legislators and the Continental Congress expected the Continental Army to select an encampment site that could protect the countryside around Philadelphia. Some members of the Continental Congress also believed that the army might be able to launch a winter campaign.[10] Interested parties suggested other sites for an encampment, including Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware. However, following the inconclusive Battle of Whitemarsh from December 5–8, increasing numbers of officers and politicians began to appreciate the need to defend the greater Philadelphia region from British incursions.

Considering these questions, an encampment at Valley Forge had notable advantages. Valley Forge's high terrain meant that enemy attacks would be difficult.[11] Its location allowed for soldiers to be readily detached to protect the countryside.[12] Proximity to the Schuylkill River could facilitate supply movements down the river. Wide, open areas provided space for drilling and training.[13] On December 19, Washington conducted his 12,000-man army to Valley Forge to establish the encampment.

The encampment was primarily situated along the high, flat ground east of Mount Joy and south of the Schuylkill River.[14] In addition to a concentration of soldiers at Valley Forge, Washington ordered nearly 2,000 soldiers to encamp at Wilmington, Delaware. He posted the army's mounted troops at Trenton, New Jersey, and additional outposts at Downingtown and Radnor, Pennsylvania, among other places.[15] In the two winter encampments prior to Valley Forge, the Continental army had sheltered themselves in a combination of tents, constructed huts, civilian barns and other buildings. Valley Forge marked the first time Washington ordered the army primarily concentrated into a more permanent post where they constructed their own shelters. This strategic shift encouraged a whole new host of problems for the American Patriots.

March and hut construction

A reproduction hut at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The hut stands at the site of a recreated brigade encampment along North Outer Line Drive.
A reproduction hut at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The hut stands at the site of a recreated brigade encampment along North Outer Line Drive.

George Washington later wrote of the march into Valley Forge, "To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lay on, without shoes by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet, and almost as often without provisions as with; marching through frost and snow and at Christmas taking up their winter quarters within a day's march of the enemy, without a house or hut to cover them till they could be built, and submitting to it without a murmur is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled."[16]

The Valley Forge encampment became the Continental Army's first large-scale construction of living quarters. While no accurate account exists for the number of log huts built, experts estimate a range between 1,300 and 1,600 structures. There are no known contemporary images of the Valley Forge cantonment. The correspondence of General Washington and other soldiers’ letters and notebooks are the only accounts of what took place.[17] Brigadier General Louis Lebègue de Presle Duportail selected grounds for the brigade encampments and planned the defenses.[18] Afterwards, brigadier generals appointed officers from each regiment to mark out the precise spot for every officer and all enlisted men's huts.[19] Despite commanders' attempts at standardization, the huts varied in terms of size, materials, and construction techniques. Military historian John B. B. Trussell Jr. writes that many squads "dug their floors almost two feet below ground level," to reduce wind exposure or the number of logs required for construction.[20] In addition, some huts had thatched straw roofs, while others consisted of brush, canvas, or clapboards. In a letter to his wife Adrienne, Lafayette described the huts as "small barracks, which are scarcely more cheerful than dungeons."[21]

Supply challenges

Washington's Quarters at Valley Forge
Washington's Quarters at Valley Forge

The Continental Army that marched into Valley Forge consisted of about 12,000 people—soldiers, artificers, women, and children. Throughout the winter, patriot commanders and legislators faced the challenge of supplying a population the size of a colonial city. In May and June 1777, the Continental Congress had authorized the reorganization of the supply department.[22] Implementation of those changes never fully took effect, because of the fighting surrounding Philadelphia. Consequently, the supply chain had broken down even before the Continental Army arrived at Valley Forge. In large part, supplies dried up through the neglect of Congress so that by the end of December 1777 Washington had no way to feed or to adequately clothe the soldiers.[23] Washington chose the area partly for its strategic benefits, but wintertime road conditions impeded supply wagons on route to the encampment.[24]

That winter, starvation and disease killed more than 1,000 soldiers[25] and perhaps as many as 1,500 horses.[26] The men suffered from continual, gnawing hunger and cold. Washington ordered that soldiers' rations include either one to one and a half pounds of flour or bread, one pound of salted beef or fish, or three-quarters pound of salted pork, or one and a half pounds of flour or bread, a half pound of bacon or salted pork, a half pint of peas or beans, and one gill of whiskey or spirits.[27] In practice, however, the army could not reliably supply the full ration.[28] Perishable foods began to rot before reaching the troops because of poor storage, transportation problems, or confusion regarding the supplies' whereabouts. Other rations became lost or captured by the enemy. Traveling to market proved dangerous for some vendors. When combined with the Continental Army's lack of hard currency, prices for perishable goods inflated. Therefore, during the first few days of constructing their huts, the Continentals primarily ate firecakes, a tasteless mixture of flour and water cooked upon heated rocks. In his memoir, Joseph Plumb Martin wrote that "to go into the wild woods and build us habitations to stay (not to live) in, in such a weak, starved and naked condition, was appalling in the highest degree."[29] Resentment swelled within the ranks towards those deemed responsible for their hardship.

On December 23, Washington wrote Henry Laurens, the President of the Continental Congress. Washington related how his commanders had just exerted themselves with some difficulty to quell a "dangerous mutiny" fomenting, because of the lack of provision. Washington continued with a dire warning to Congress: "unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place in that line, this Army must inevitably be reduced to one or other of these three things, Starve, dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can."[30] While Washington dealt with serious circumstances, he may have exaggerated slightly to obtain a quicker response from the Continental Congress.

That winter was not particularly harsh at Valley Forge, but many soldiers remained unfit for duty, owing to the disease, lack of proper clothing and uniforms ("naked" referred to a ragged or improperly attired individual). Years later, Lafayette recalled that "the unfortunate soldiers were in want of everything; they had neither coats, hats, shirts, nor shoes; their feet and legs froze till they had become almost black, and it was often necessary to amputate them."[31]

On January 7, Christopher Marshall related how "ten teams of oxen, fit for slaughtering, came into camp, driven by loyal Philadelphia women. They also brought 2,000 shirts, smuggled from the city, sewn under the eyes of the enemy."[32] While these women provided crucial assistance, most people remained relatively unaware of the Continental Army's plight—"an unavoidable result of a general policy" to prevent such intelligence from reaching the British.[33]

The outlook for the army's situation improved when a five-man congressional delegation arrived on January 24. The delegates consisted of "Francis Dana of Massachusetts, Nathaniel Folsom of New Hampshire, John Harvie of Virginia, Gouverneur Morris of New York, and Joseph Reed of Pennsylvania."[34] According to historian Wayne Bodle, they came to understand through their visit "how vulnerable the new army could be to logistical disruption, owing to its size, its organizational complexity, and its increasing mobility."[35] Washington and his aides convinced them to implement recommended reforms to the supply department. In March 1778, Congress also appointed Nathanael Greene as Quartermaster General, who reluctantly accepted at Washington's behest. One of the Continental Army's most able generals, Greene did not want an administrative position. Yet he and his staff better supplied the troops at a time when the weather and road conditions began to improve. The Schuylkill River also thawed, allowing the Continental Army to more easily transport convoys from the main supply depot at Reading.[36]

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Continental Congress

Continental Congress

The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the American Revolutionary War. The term "Continental Congress" most specifically refers to the First and Second Congresses of 1774–1781 and, at the time, was also used to refer to the Congress of the Confederation of 1781–1789, which operated as the first national government of the United States until being replaced under the Constitution of the United States. Thus, the term covers the three congressional bodies of the Thirteen Colonies and the new United States that met between 1774 and 1789.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster is a city in and the county seat of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. With a population at the 2020 census of 58,039, it ranks 11th in population among Pennsylvania's municipalities. The Lancaster metropolitan area population is 552,984, making it the 104th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and second-largest in the South Central Pennsylvania area.

Battle of White Marsh

Battle of White Marsh

The Battle of White Marsh or Battle of Edge Hill was a battle of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought December 5–8, 1777, in the area surrounding Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania. The battle, which took the form of a series of skirmish actions, was the last major engagement of 1777 between British and American forces.

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Downingtown is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States, 33 miles (53 km) west of Philadelphia. As of the 2020 census it had a population of 7,898. Downingtown was settled by European colonists in the early 18th century and has a number of historic buildings and structures.

Adrienne de La Fayette

Adrienne de La Fayette

Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette, was a French marchioness. She was the daughter of Jean de Noailles and Henriette Anne Louise d'Aguesseau, and married Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, known in the United States as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat, freemason and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War, commanding American troops in several battles, including the siege of Yorktown. After returning to France, he was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. He has been considered a national hero in both countries.

Firecake

Firecake

Firecake or Fire cake was a type of quick bread eaten by soldiers in the French and Indian and the American Revolutionary Wars. They were made from a mixture of flour, water and salt and baked on a rock in the fire or in the ashes.

Joseph Plumb Martin

Joseph Plumb Martin

Joseph Plumb Martin was a soldier in the Connecticut Militia and Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and was mustered out as a 23-year-old Sergeant in a Sapper company. His published narrative of his experiences, re-discovered in the 1950s, has become a valuable resource for historians in understanding the conditions of a common soldier of that era, as well as the battles in which Martin participated.

Henry Laurens

Henry Laurens

Henry Laurens was an American Founding Father, merchant, slave trader, and rice planter from South Carolina who became a political leader during the Revolutionary War. A delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Laurens succeeded John Hancock as its president. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and, as president, presided over its passage.

Christopher Marshall (revolutionary)

Christopher Marshall (revolutionary)

Christopher Marshall was a leader in the American Revolution. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he went to America in 1727, settled in Philadelphia and worked as a chemist and pharmacist. Marshall is best known for The Remembrancer, a diary he kept during the Revolution, which was not published until 1839 as Extracts from the Diary of Christopher Marshall, 1774-1781.

Francis Dana

Francis Dana

Francis Dana was an American Founding Father, lawyer, jurist, and statesman from Massachusetts. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1777–1778 and 1784. A signer of the Articles of Confederation, he was secretary to the diplomatic mission that negotiated the end of the American Revolution, and was appointed Minister to Russia. He later served as a member of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and served as the chief justice for 15 years.

John Harvie

John Harvie

John Harvie was an American Founding Father, lawyer and builder from Virginia. He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, where he signed the Articles of Confederation, in 1777 and 1778. He was a successful lawyer and landowner, as well as the fourth mayor of Richmond, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson was a friend since his childhood; his father was Jefferson's guardian. He negotiated a peace treaty in 1774 after the Battle of Point Pleasant. During the American Revolutionary War, he was on the Board of War and operated a prison of war camp on his property, The Barracks.

Environmental and disease conditions

Cannons at the Artillery Park
Cannons at the Artillery Park

Maintaining cleanliness was a challenge for the Continental Army. Scabies broke out because of the filthy conditions within the encampment, as did other deadlier ailments. The army had a limited water supply for cooking, washing, and bathing. Dead horse remains often lay unburied, and Washington found the smell of some places intolerable.[37][38] Neither plumbing nor a standardized system of trash collection existed. To combat the spread of contagion, Washington commanded soldiers to burn tar or "the Powder of a Musquet Cartridge" in the huts everyday, to cleanse the air of putrefaction.[39] On May 27, Washington had ordered his soldiers remove the mud-and-straw chinking from huts "to render them as airy as possible."[39]

Outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery spread through contaminated food and water. Soldiers contracted influenza and pneumonia, while still others succumbed to typhus, caused by body lice. Although the inconsistent delivery of food rations did not cause starvation, it probably exacerbated the health of ailing soldiers. Some patients might have suffered from more than one ailment. In total, about 1,700–2,000 troops died during the Valley Forge encampment, mostly at general hospitals located in six different towns. Valley Forge had the highest mortality rate of any Continental Army encampment, and even most military engagements of the war.

Despite the mortality rate, Washington did curb the spread of smallpox, which had plagued the Continental Army since the American Revolution had begun in 1775. In January 1777, Washington had ordered mass inoculation of his troops, but a year later at Valley Forge, smallpox broke out again. An investigation uncovered that 3,000–4,000 troops had not received inoculations, despite having long-term enlistments.[40] So, Washington ordered inoculations for any soldiers vulnerable to the disease.

A precursor to vaccination (introduced by Edward Jenner in 1798), inoculation gave the patient a milder form of smallpox with better recovery rates than if the patient had acquired the disease naturally. The procedure provided lifetime immunity from a disease with a roughly 15–33% mortality rate.[41] In June 1778, when the Continental Army marched out of Valley Forge, they had completed "the first large-scale, state-sponsored immunization campaign in history."[42] By continuing the inoculation program for new recruits, Washington better maintained military strength among the regular, Continental Army troops throughout the remainder of the war.

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Scabies

Scabies

Scabies is a contagious skin infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The most common symptoms are severe itchiness and a pimple-like rash. Occasionally, tiny burrows may appear on the skin. In a first-ever infection, the infected person usually develops symptoms within two to six weeks. During a second infection, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. These symptoms can be present across most of the body or just certain areas such as the wrists, between fingers, or along the waistline. The head may be affected, but this is typically only in young children. The itch is often worse at night. Scratching may cause skin breakdown and an additional bacterial infection in the skin.

Musket

Musket

A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in the early 16th century, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating plate armour. By the mid-16th century, this type of musket gradually disappeared as the use of heavy armour declined, but musket continued as the generic term for smoothbore long guns until the mid-19th century. In turn, this style of musket was retired in the 19th century when rifled muskets using the Minié ball became common. The development of breech-loading firearms using self-contained cartridges and the first reliable repeating rifles produced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1860 also led to their demise. By the time that repeating rifles became common, they were known as simply "rifles", ending the era of the musket.

Cartridge (firearms)

Cartridge (firearms)

A cartridge or a round is a type of pre-assembled firearm ammunition packaging a projectile, a propellant substance and an ignition device (primer) within a metallic, paper, or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading gun, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during shooting. Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often informally used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by Salmonella serotype Typhi bacteria. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and usually begin six to 30 days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days. This is commonly accompanied by weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and mild vomiting. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases, people may experience confusion. Without treatment, symptoms may last weeks or months. Diarrhea may be severe, but is uncommon. Other people may carry the bacterium without being affected, but they are still able to spread the disease. Typhoid fever is a type of enteric fever, along with paratyphoid fever. S. enterica Typhi is believed to infect and replicate only within humans.

Dysentery

Dysentery

Dysentery, historically known as the bloody flux, is a type of gastroenteritis that results in bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. Complications may include dehydration.

Influenza

Influenza

Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms range from mild to severe and often include fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing, and fatigue. These symptoms begin from one to four days after exposure to the virus and last for about 2–8 days. Diarrhea and vomiting can occur, particularly in children. Influenza may progress to pneumonia, which can be caused by the virus or by a subsequent bacterial infection. Other complications of infection include acute respiratory distress syndrome, meningitis, encephalitis, and worsening of pre-existing health problems such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Typhus

Typhus

Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure.

Body louse

Body louse

The body louse is a hematophagic ectoparasite louse that infests humans. It is one of three lice which infest humans, the other two being the head louse, and the crab louse or pubic louse.

Smallpox

Smallpox

Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by variola virus which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980, making it the only human disease to be eradicated.

Inoculation

Inoculation

Inoculation is the act of implanting a pathogen or other microbe or virus into a person or other organism. It is a method of artificially inducing immunity against various infectious diseases. The term "inoculation" is also used more generally to refer to intentionally depositing microbes into any growth medium, as into a Petri dish used to culture the microbe, or into food ingredients for making cultured foods such as yoghurt and fermented beverages such as beer and wine. This article is primarily about the use of inoculation for producing immunity against infection. Inoculation has been used to eradicate smallpox and to markedly reduce other infectious diseases such as polio. Although the terms "inoculation", "vaccination", and "immunization" are often used interchangeably, there are important differences. Inoculation is the act of implanting a pathogen or microbe into a person or other recipient; vaccination is the act of implanting or giving someone a vaccine specifically; and immunization is the development of disease resistance that results from the immune system's response to a vaccine or natural infection.

Vaccination

Vaccination

Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine to help the immune system develop immunity from a disease. Vaccines contain a microorganism or virus in a weakened, live or killed state, or proteins or toxins from the organism. In stimulating the body's adaptive immunity, they help prevent sickness from an infectious disease. When a sufficiently large percentage of a population has been vaccinated, herd immunity results. Herd immunity protects those who may be immunocompromised and cannot get a vaccine because even a weakened version would harm them. The effectiveness of vaccination has been widely studied and verified. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases; widespread immunity due to vaccination is largely responsible for the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the elimination of diseases such as polio and tetanus from much of the world. However, some diseases, such as measles outbreaks in America, have seen rising cases due to relatively low vaccination rates in the 2010s – attributed, in part, to vaccine hesitancy. According to the World Health Organization, vaccination prevents 3.5–5 million deaths per year.

Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner, was a English physician and scientist who pioneered the concept of vaccines, and created the smallpox vaccine, the world's first vaccine. The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from Variolae vaccinae, the term devised by Jenner to denote cowpox. He used it in 1798 in the title of his Inquiry into the Variolae vaccinae known as the Cow Pox, in which he described the protective effect of cowpox against smallpox.

Encampment demographics

While each hut housed a squad of twelve enlisted soldiers, sometimes soldiers' families joined them to share that space as well. Throughout the encampment period, Mary Ludwig Hays and approximately 250–400 other women had followed their soldier husbands or sweethearts to Valley Forge, sometimes with children in tow. Washington once wrote that "the multitude of women in particular, especially those who are pregnant, or have children, are a clog upon every movement."[43] Yet women on the whole proved invaluable, whether on the march or at an encampment like Valley Forge. They often earned income either by laundering clothes or by nursing troops, which kept soldiers cleaner and healthier. In turn, this made the troops appear more professional and disciplined.

Lucy Flucker Knox, Catharine Littlefield "Caty" Greene, and other senior officers' wives journeyed to Valley Forge at the behest of their husbands. On 22 December, Martha Washington predicted that her husband would send for her as soon as his army went into winter quarter, and that "if he does I must go."[44] Indeed, she did, traveling in wartime with a group of slaves over poor roads, reaching her destination in early February. Washington's aide-de-camp Colonel Richard Kidder Meade met her at the Susquehanna ferry dock to escort her into the encampment.[44] Over the next six months, Martha hosted political leaders and military officials, managing domestic staff within the confined space of Washington's Headquarters. Martha was one of many important women at Valley Forge. She also organized meals and kept spirits high during the rough times at the encampment.[45]

From December 1777 to June 1778, Washington made his headquarters in a business residence owned by Isaac Potts
From December 1777 to June 1778, Washington made his headquarters in a business residence owned by Isaac Potts

Valley Forge had a high percentage of racial and ethnic diversity, since Washington's army comprised individuals from all 13 states. About 30% of Continental soldiers at Valley Forge did not speak English as their first language. Many soldiers and commanders hailed from German-speaking communities, as with Pennsylvania-born Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg. Still others spoke Scottish- or Irish-Gaelic, and a few descended from French-speaking Huguenot and Dutch-speaking communities in New York. Local residents sometimes conversed in Welsh. Several senior officers in the Continental Army originally came from France, Prussia, Poland, Ireland, and Hungary.

Although Native and/or African American men served the Continental Army as drovers, waggoners, and laborers, others fought as soldiers, particularly from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[46] The smallest of the states, Rhode Island had difficulty meeting recruitment quotas for white men, spurring Brigadier General James Mitchell Varnum to suggest the enlistment of slaves for his 1st Rhode Island Regiment. Over a four-month period in 1778, the Rhode Island General Assembly allowed for their recruitment. In exchange for enlisting, soldiers of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment gained immediate emancipation, and their former owners received financial compensation equal to the slave's market value. They bought freedom for 117 enslaved recruits before the law allowing them to do so was repealed, but these free African American Soldiers continued to enlist in the military.[47] By January 1778, nearly 10% of Washington's effective force consisted of African-American troops.[48]

Commanders brought servants and enslaved people with them into the encampment, usually black people. Washington's enslaved domestic staff included his manservant William Lee, as well as cooks Hannah Till and her husband Isaac. William Lee had married Margaret Thomas, a free black woman who worked as a laundress at Washington's Headquarters. Hannah Till's legal owner Reverend John Mason lent her out to Washington, but Hannah secured an arrangement whereby she eventually bought her freedom.[49][50]

By Spring of 1778, Wappinger, Oneida and Tuscarora warriors who were on the side of the Patriots, with prominent Oneida leader Joseph Louis Cook of the St. Regis Mohawk among them, had joined the Americans at Valley Forge. Most served as scouts, keeping an eye out for British raiding parties in the area, and in May 1778, they fought under Lafayette at Barren Hill. In the oral history of the Oneida people, a prominent Oneida woman named Polly Cooper brought "hundreds of bushels of white corn" to hungry troops, teaching them how to process it for safe consumption.[51] During the Revolutionary War, most Native American tribes sided with the British in order to protect their traditional homelands from the encroachment of American settlers. However, several tribes, including the Oneida, sided with the Patriots due in part to ties with American settlers, such as Presbyterian minister Samuel Kirkland.[52] The Seven Nations of Canada and the Iroquois at what would be the Six Nations Reserve, who were mostly emigrants from the colony of New York, were brought to the brink of war by the Anglo-American conflict.[53]

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Mary Hays (American Revolutionary War)

Mary Hays (American Revolutionary War)

Mary Ludwig Hays was a woman who fought in the American War of Independence at the Battle of Monmouth. The woman behind the Molly Pitcher story is most often identified as Hays, but it is likely that the legend is an amalgam of more than one woman seen on the battlefield that day.

Lucy Flucker Knox

Lucy Flucker Knox

Lucy Flucker Knox was an American revolutionary. She was the daughter of colonial official Thomas Flucker and Hannah Waldo, daughter of Samuel Waldo. She married Henry Knox, who became a leading officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Lucy accompanied Henry and lived on the military camp during the war. She accompanied Henry Knox until he retired from the army in 1794.

Catharine Littlefield Greene

Catharine Littlefield Greene

Catharine Littlefield "Caty" Greene Miller was the wife of the American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. She was a mother of five, and noted for being a supporter of the inventor Eli Whitney. Her "extraordinary activity of mind, and tact in seizing on points, so as to apprehend almost intuitively, distinguished her through life. It enabled her, without apparent mental effort, to apply the instruction conveyed in the books she read, to the practical affairs of life.. .."

Martha Washington

Martha Washington

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington served as the inaugural first lady of the United States. During her lifetime, she was often referred to as "Lady Washington".

Aide-de-camp

Aide-de-camp

An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state.

Colonel

Colonel

Colonel is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

German language

German language

German is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a recognized national language in Namibia. Outside Germany, it is also spoken by German communities in France (Bas-Rhin), Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary (Sopron).

Brigadier general

Brigadier general

Brigadier general or Brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. The rank is usually above a colonel, and below a major general or divisional general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops.

Irish language

Irish language

Irish, also known as Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Insular Celtic branch of the Celtic language family, which is a part of the Indo-European language family. Irish is indigenous to the island of Ireland and was the population's first language until the 19th century, when English gradually became dominant, particularly in the last decades of the century. Irish is still spoken as a first language in a small number of areas of certain counties such as Cork, Donegal, Galway, and Kerry, as well as smaller areas of counties Mayo, Meath, and Waterford. It is also spoken by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers, mostly in urban areas where the majority are second-language speakers. The total number of persons who claimed they could speak Irish in April 2016 was 1,761,420, representing 39.8% of respondents, but of these, 418,420 said they never spoke it, while a further 558,608 said they only spoke it within the education system. Linguistic analysis of Irish speakers is therefore based primarily on the number of daily users in Ireland outside the education system, which in 2016 was 20,586 in the Gaeltacht and 53,217 outside it, totalling 73,803.

Huguenots

Huguenots

The Huguenots were a religious group of French Protestants who held to the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition of Protestantism. The term, which may be derived from the name of a Swiss political leader, the Genevan burgomaster Bezanson Hugues (1491–1532?), was in common use by the mid-16th century. Huguenot was frequently used in reference to those of the Reformed Church of France from the time of the Protestant Reformation. By contrast, the Protestant populations of eastern France, in Alsace, Moselle, and Montbéliard, were mainly Lutherans.

France

France

France, officially the French Republic, is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also includes overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, giving it one of the largest discontiguous exclusive economic zones in the world. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Its eighteen integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and contain 68 million people.

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest in the world.

Organizational challenges

Among the challenges befalling the Continental Army during the Valley Forge winter included poor organization. Two years of war, shuffling leadership, and uneven recruitment resulted in irregular unit organization and strength. During the Valley Forge encampment, the army was reorganized into five divisions under Major Generals Charles Lee, Marquis de Lafayette, Johan de Kalb, and William Alexander "Lord Stirling," with Brigadier General Anthony Wayne serving in place of Mifflin.[54][55] Thanks to the widespread reorganization, unit strength and the terms of service became more standardized, improving the Continental army's efficiency.[56]

Although Washington enjoyed support among enlisted soldiers, commissioned officers and congressional officials were not as enthusiastic. During the Valley Forge winter, Washington's detractors attacked his leadership ability in both private correspondence and in popular publications. One anonymous letter in January 1778 disparaged Washington. It read, "The proper methods of attacking, beating, and conquering the Enemy has never as yet been adapted by the Commander in [Chief]."[57]

While historians disagree as to the seriousness of the threat to Washington's leadership during the Valley Forge winter, the most organized of these threats (albeit loosely organized) was the so-called Conway Cabal. The cabal consisted of a handful of military officers and American politicians who attempted to replace Washington with Major General Horatio Gates as the head of the Continental army. The movement was nominally led by Thomas Conway, a foreign Continental army general and critic of Washington's leadership. If the cabal ever posed any real threat to Washington's leadership, a series of leaks and embarrassing exposures in the fall and winter of 1777 and 1778 dissolved the threat. Thanks to the demise of the cabal, following the Valley Forge encampment George Washington's reputation in the American war effort improved.[58]

Training

An Edwin Austin Abbey painting of Baron Steuben drilling American troops at Valley Forge in 1778
An Edwin Austin Abbey painting of Baron Steuben drilling American troops at Valley Forge in 1778

Increasing military efficiency, morale, and discipline improved the army's well-being with better supply of food and arms. The Continental Army had been hindered in battle because units administered training from a variety of field manuals, making coordinated battle movements awkward and difficult. They struggled with basic formations and lacked uniformity, thanks to multiple drilling techniques taught in various ways by different officers.[59] The task of developing and carrying out an effective training program fell to Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian drill master who had recently arrived from Europe.

He drilled the soldiers, improving their battle and formation techniques. Under Steuben's leadership, the Continentals practiced volley fire, improved maneuverability, standardized their march paces, exercised skirmishing operations, and drilled bayonet proficiency.[60] These new efforts to train and discipline the army also improved morale among the soldiers more generally.[61]

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Charles Lee (general)

Charles Lee (general)

Charles Lee was an English-born American military officer who served as a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He also served earlier in the British Army during the Seven Years War. He sold his commission after the Seven Years War and served for a time in the Polish army of King Stanislaus II Augustus.

Johann de Kalb

Johann de Kalb

Johann von Robais, Baron de Kalb, born Johann Kalb, was a Franconian-born French military officer who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was mortally wounded while fighting against the British Army during the Battle of Camden.

William Alexander, Lord Stirling

William Alexander, Lord Stirling

William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling, was a Scottish-American major general during the American Revolutionary War. He was considered male heir to the Scottish title of Earl of Stirling through Scottish lineage, and he sought the title sometime after 1756. His claim was initially granted by a Scottish court in 1759; however, the House of Lords ultimately overruled Scottish law and denied the title in 1762. He continued to hold himself out as "Lord Stirling" regardless.

Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne was an American soldier, officer, statesman, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the nickname "Mad Anthony". He later served as the Senior Officer of the Army on the Ohio Country frontier and led the Legion of the United States.

Conway Cabal

Conway Cabal

The Conway Cabal was a group of senior Continental Army officers in late 1777 and early 1778 who aimed to have George Washington replaced as commander-in-chief of the Army during the American Revolutionary War. It was named after Brigadier General Thomas Conway, whose letters criticizing Washington were forwarded to the Second Continental Congress. When these suggestions were made public, supporters of Washington mobilized to assist him politically. Conway ended up resigning from the army, and General Horatio Gates, a leading candidate to replace Washington, issued an apology for his role in events.

Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates

Horatio Lloyd Gates was a British-born American army officer who served as a general in the Continental Army during the early years of the Revolutionary War. He took credit for the American victory in the Battles of Saratoga (1777) – a matter of contemporary and historical controversy – and was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Camden in 1780. Gates has been described as "one of the Revolution's most controversial military figures" because of his role in the Conway Cabal, which attempted to discredit and replace General George Washington; the battle at Saratoga; and his actions during and after his defeat at Camden.

Edwin Austin Abbey

Edwin Austin Abbey

Edwin Austin Abbey was an American muralist, illustrator, and painter. He flourished at the beginning of what is now referred to as the "golden age" of illustration, and is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects, as well as for his painting of Edward VII's coronation. His most famous set of murals, The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail, adorns the Boston Public Library.

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben, also referred to as Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian military officer who played a leading role in the American Revolutionary War by reforming the Continental Army into a disciplined and professional fighting force. His contributions marked a significant improvement in the performance of U.S. troops, and he is subsequently regarded as one of the fathers of the United States Army.

Bayonet

Bayonet

A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit on the end of the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar firearm, allowing it to be used as a spear-like weapon. From the 17th century to World War I, it was a weapon for infantry attacks. Today it is considered an ancillary weapon or a weapon of last resort, although it is still used for ceremonial purposes.

French alliance

Initially, France remained reluctant to directly involve themselves in the war against Great Britain. In part, they worried that revolutionary fervor might spread into their own empire (which it did by 1789), but they also did not think the American colonists could win. However, the October 1777 surrender of British General John Burgoyne's army at Saratoga won for Americans the assistance they needed from other foreign powers.[62] France and the United States subsequently signed a treaty on February 6, 1778, creating a military alliance between the two countries. In response, Great Britain declared war on France five weeks later, on March 17.

On May 6, having already received word of the French alliance, Washington ordered the Continental Army to perform a Grand Feu de Joie, a formal ceremony consisting of a rapid and sequential firing of guns down the ranks. Continental officer George Ewing wrote that "the troops then shouted, three cheers and 'Long live the King of France!' after this…three cheers and shout of 'God Save the friendly Powers of Europe!'…and cheers and a shout of 'God Save the American States!'"[63] Each soldier received an extra gill of rum (about four ounces) to enjoy that day, and after the troops' dismissal, Washington and other officers drank many patriotic toasts and concluded the day "with harmless Mirth and jollity."[63]

They had cause for celebration. As empires, both France and Great Britain had territory around the world that required protection. Sir Henry Clinton replaced General Sir William Howe as British Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces in North America, and had to divert troops from Philadelphia to the Crown's valuable possessions in the West Indies. The British also feared a French naval blockade of Philadelphia, so in June, Clinton abandoned it for New York City—a loyalist stronghold. On June 18, Washington and his troops marched after them, with the remainder vacating Valley Forge one day later—exactly six months after the Continental Army had arrived.

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John Burgoyne

John Burgoyne

General John Burgoyne was a British general, dramatist and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1761 to 1792. He first saw action during the Seven Years' War when he participated in several battles, most notably during the Portugal Campaign of 1762.

Saratoga campaign

Saratoga campaign

The Saratoga campaign in 1777 was an attempt by the British high command for North America to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley during the American Revolutionary War. It ended in the surrender of the British army, which historian Edmund Morgan argues, "was a great turning point of the war, because it won for Americans the foreign assistance which was the last element needed for victory."

Treaty of Alliance (1778)

Treaty of Alliance (1778)

The Treaty of Alliance, also known as the Franco-American Treaty, was a defensive alliance between the Kingdom of France and the United States formed amid the American Revolutionary War with Great Britain. It was signed by delegates of King Louis XVI and the Second Continental Congress in Paris on February 6, 1778, along with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and a secret clause providing for the entry of other European allies; together these instruments are sometimes known as the Franco-American Alliance or the Treaties of Alliance. The agreements marked the official entry of the United States on the world stage, and formalized French recognition and support of U.S. independence that was to be decisive in America's victory.

Feu de joie

Feu de joie

A feu de joie is a form of formal celebratory gunfire consisting of a celebratory rifle salute, described as a "running fire of guns." As soldiers fire into the air sequentially in rapid succession, the cascade of blank rounds produces a characteristic "rat-tat-tat" effect. It is used on rare landmark occasions of national rejoicing. During the 18th and 19th centuries, a feu de joie has celebrated a military victory or birthday. In recent years, it has marked, in Royal presence, the 80th Birthday and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the Death of Queen Elizabeth II. Feux de joie also mark annual national or army days in, e.g., Canada, Malta, Nepal and Singapore.

Henry Clinton (British Army officer, born 1730)

Henry Clinton (British Army officer, born 1730)

General Sir Henry Clinton, KB was a British Army officer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1772 and 1795. He is best known for his service as a general during the American War of Independence. First arriving in Boston in May 1775, from 1778 to 1782 he was the British Commander-in-Chief in North America. In addition to his military service, due to the influence of his cousin Henry Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, he was a Member of Parliament for many years. Late in life he was named Governor of Gibraltar, but died before assuming the post.

William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe

William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe

William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe, KB PC was a British Army officer who rose to become Commander-in-Chief of British land forces in the Colonies during the American War of Independence. Howe was one of three brothers who had distinguished military careers. In historiography of the American war he is usually referred to as Sir William Howe to distinguish him from his brother Richard, who was 4th Viscount Howe at that time.

Commander-in-chief

Commander-in-chief

A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control over an armed force or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership, a head of state, head of government, or other designated government official.

West Indies

West Indies

The West Indies is a subregion of North America, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, which comprises 13 independent island countries and 18 dependencies, and three archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.

New York City

New York City

New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over 300.46 square miles (778.2 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States, and is more than twice as populous as second-place Los Angeles. New York City lies at the southern tip of New York State, and constitutes the geographical and demographic center of both the Northeast megalopolis and the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the United States both by population and by urban landmass. With over 20.1 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and 23.5 million in its combined statistical area as of 2020, New York is one of the world's most populous megacities, and over 58 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of the city. New York City is a global cultural, financial, entertainment, and media center with a significant influence on commerce, health care and life sciences, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy, an established safe haven for global investors, and is sometimes described as the capital of the world.

Battle of Monmouth

As they marched through south and central New Jersey on their way to New York City, the British destroyed property and confiscated supplies and food, inspiring growing enmity among the area's civilians.[64] Meanwhile, small-scale cooperative operations between the Continentals and New Jersey militia harassed and exhausted the British forces.[65]

The armies met on the morning of June 28, beginning the Battle of Monmouth. Continental soldiers under the command of General Charles Lee engaged the British in approximately five hours of continuous fighting in a ferocious heat.[66] That night, British General Sir Henry Clinton moved his army out of Freehold and resumed their march to Manhattan. Both sides claimed elements of victory. The British army completed its march to New York City, while the Continental Army had forced a battle and performed admirably on an open field. The standardized training instilled at Valley Forge had improved their performance on the battlefield.[67]

Myth and memory

World War II propaganda poster
World War II propaganda poster

Valley Forge long occupied a prominent place in U.S. storytelling and memory. The encampment in Pennsylvania later became a historic national park where many efforts were taken to preserve and capture the meaning and feelings many had behind the location’s historic significance and well-known myths; this perceived enduring atmosphere regarding the historical context behind the site, molded history’s patriotic view on Valley Forge. Many historians have supported and conveyed Valley Forge’s relevance in mythological context versus its historic understanding. The image of Valley Forge as a site of terrible suffering and unshakeable perseverance emerged years after the encampment ended.[68][69]

One of the most enduring myths about the Valley Forge encampment concerns the weather. Later depictions of Valley Forge described the encampment as blanketed in snow, with exposure and frostbite supposedly claiming the lives of many soldiers. Amputations occurred, but no corroborating sources state that death occurred from the freezing temperatures alone. Rather, snowfall occurred infrequently, above-freezing temperatures were regular, and ice was uncommon. Stories of harsh weather likely originated from the 1779–1780 winter encampment at Jockey Hollow, near Morristown, New Jersey, which had the coldest winter of the war.[70]

One of the most popular Valley Forge myths involves Washington kneeling in the snow praying for his army's salvation. The image was popularized in paintings and in newspapers, and at one point, President Ronald Reagan even repeated it. However, no contemporary evidence exists suggesting such a prayer occurred. The story first appeared in an 1804 article by Mason Locke Weems, an itinerant minister, popular folklorist, and Washington biographer. In Weems' story, a neutral Quaker named Isaac Potts discovered Washington at prayer, relayed the story to his wife, and then declared his support for the U.S. cause.[71] However, Potts did not live near Valley Forge during the encampment period and did not marry his wife until 1803. Despite the dubious origins, many have repeated the story over the years.[72]

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Jockey Hollow

Jockey Hollow

Jockey Hollow is the name for an area in southern Morris County, New Jersey farmed in the 18th century by the Wick, Guerin and Kemble families. The origin of the name is still uncertain, but was used as such at the time of the American Revolution. For most of the Revolutionary War, it was used by portions of Continental Army as a winter camp site, and it housed the main Continental Army during the "Hard Winter" of 1779-80, believed to be the harshest winter in recorded history.

Morristown, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey

Morristown is a town and the county seat of Morris County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Morristown has been called "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. Today this history is visible in a variety of locations throughout the town that collectively make up Morristown National Historical Park.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician, union leader, and actor who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Before ascending to the presidency, he previously served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975 and was the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947 to 1952 and from 1959 until 1960.

Mason Locke Weems

Mason Locke Weems

Mason Locke Weems, usually referred to as Parson Weems, was an American minister, evangelical bookseller and author who wrote the first biography of George Washington immediately after his death. Some of the popular apocryphal stories about Washington can be traced to Weems, including the cherry tree tale. That bestseller depicted Washington's virtues and was intended to provide a morally instructive tale for the youth of the young nation.

Washington's Headquarters (Valley Forge)

Washington's Headquarters (Valley Forge)

Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge, also known as the Isaac Potts House, is a historic house that served as General George Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge during the American Revolutionary War. The building, which still stands, is one of the centerpieces of Valley Forge National Historical Park in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Historical maps

Map of the Valley Forge winter encampment, 1777, published in John Lossing Benson's 1860 The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution
Map of the Valley Forge winter encampment, 1777, published in John Lossing Benson's 1860 The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution
The encampment at Valley Forge in 1778 (1830 engraving by G. Boynton)
The encampment at Valley Forge in 1778 (1830 engraving by G. Boynton)

Source: "Valley Forge", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 28th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_Forge.

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See also
Bibliography
References
  1. ^ Program, National Park Service Museum Management; Joan, Bacharach; Bassim, Khaled; Joni, Rowe (August 19, 2002). "'American Revolutionary War: Valley Forge National Historical Park Museum Collections". www.nps.gov. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  2. ^ Martin, James Kirby; Lender, Mark Edward (June 2, 2015). A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763–1789. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118923887.
  3. ^ "Timeline of the American Revolution 1763 - 1783" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Valley Forge National Historical Park, General Management Plan: Environmental Impact Statement. 2007.
  5. ^ "Valley Forge Industry," Valley Forge Briefs, no. 21.
  6. ^ Ann F. Rhoads, Douglas Ryan and Ella W. Aderman, Land use Study of Valley Forge National Historical Park (Philadelphia: Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 1989), 63–64.
  7. ^ "Chapter Six: Historical Accuracy vs Good Taste: Valley Forge on the old 1920s and 1930s - Valley Forge National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "The Battle of Valley Forge - Journal of the American Revolution". Journal of the American Revolution. January 22, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
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  10. ^ a b "Washington's Generals and the Decision to Quarter at Valley Forge - The Washington Papers". The Washington Papers. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Valley Forge". George Washington's Mount Vernon. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "Founders Online: General Orders, 20 December 1777". Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Bodle, Wayne; Thibaut, Jacqueline (1980). Valley Force Historical Research Project: Volume III: In the True Rustic Order: Material Aspects of the Valley Forge Encampment, 1777–1778. Clemson University Libraries.
  14. ^ Historical Research Valley Forge State Park (West Chester, PA: National Heritage Corporation, 1974), 7–8.
  15. ^ "Founders Online: From George Washington to Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, 3 …". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
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  17. ^ Sgarlata, Cosimo A.; Orr, David G.; Morrison, Bethany A. (2019). The historical archaeology of revolutionary war encampments of Washington's army. Gainesville. ISBN 9780813056401.
  18. ^ "Founders Online: General Orders, 18 December 1777". Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Founders Online: General Orders, 18 December 1777". Retrieved February 24, 2018.
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  21. ^ Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier marquis de (1837). Memoirs, Correspondence and Manuscripts of General Lafayette. Saunders and Otley. p. 142.
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  23. ^ Nathaniel Philbrick, "Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution," (New York: Penguin Books, 2016), p. 188
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