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American Revolution: Valley Forge (1777/8)

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  • Philip Michael Schwartz (1758 - 1806)
    DAR# A101232 Published in 1911 in Floyd's Genealogical & Biographical Annals of Northumberland County - p.720 this was said of Philip Schwartz(mis-identified as John Schwartz): Native of Saxony, emig...
  • Sgt Reuben Wright, Sr (aft.1748 - 1841)
    WRIGHT, REUBEN Ancestor #: A130960 Service: CONNECTICUT Rank: SERGEANT Birth: 7-9-1749 FARMINGTON HARTFORD CO CONNECTICUT Death: 4-17-1841 WESTFIELD CHAUTAUQUA CO NEW YORK Pension Number: *S172...
  • Rev. Israel Evans (1747 - 1807)
    ~• no children served in NY before coming south to PA in 1777 note: the statement "probably a relative" is not correct. See: Mordecai Evans partial service Rev. Evans was with the Continental Armi...
  • Second Lieutenant Philip Struben (c.1758 - bef.1804)
    ~• changed spelling of his surname after the American Revolution. Struben became Strubing. Many of his descendants honored Philip's father-in-law Dr. James Diemer, Esq.. Parents used the surname in nam...
  • Samuel G. Talbott (1726 - 1777)
    Birth: 1726 Richmond County Virginia, USA Death: Dec. 6, 1777 Fairfax County Virginia, USA Samuel Talbott, the son of Benjamin Talbott and Hannah Elizabeth Neale, was b. 1726 in Richmond, Virginia and ...

Valley Forge in Pennsylvania was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 during the American Revolutionary War.

  • Date: December 19, 1777–June 18, 1778
  • Location: (current time) Valley Forge National Historical Park
  • Result: American Army survived difficult winter

From Wikipedia:

With winter almost setting in, and with the prospects for campaigning greatly diminishing, General George Washington sought quarters for his men. Washington and his troops had fought what was to be the last major engagement of 1777 at the Battle of White Marsh (or Edge Hill) in early December. He devised to pull his troops from their present encampment in the White Marsh area (now Fort Washington State Park) and move to a more secure location for the coming winter.

Though several locations were proposed, Washington selected Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Named for an iron forge on Valley Creek, the area was close enough to the British to keep their raiding and foraging parties out of the interior of Pennsylvania, yet far enough away to halt the threat of British surprise attacks. The densely forested plateau of Mount Joy and the adjoining two-mile long plateau of Mount Misery combined with the Schuylkill River to the north, made the area easily defensible, along with providing abundant forests of timber that would later be used to construct the thousands of log huts. 78 of the huts in the camp would house the soldiers, but over 2,500 of those soldiers died.

Undernourished and poorly clothed, living in crowded, damp quarters, the army was ravaged by sickness and disease. Typhoid, typhus, smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia were among the numerous diseases that thrived in the camp during that winter. These diseases, along with malnutrition and exposure to the freezing temperatures and snow, contributed to the 2,500 soldiers that died by the end of the winter.

Gouverneur Morris of New York later stated that the Continentals were a "skeleton of an a naked, starving condition, out of health, out of spirits."

Soldiers deserted in "astonishing great numbers" as hardships at camp overcame their motivation and dedication to fight for the cause of liberty. General James Mitchell Varnum warned that the desperate lack of supplies would "force the army to mutiny."

Women who were relatives or wives of enlisted men alleviated some of the suffering by providing valuable services such as laundry and nursing that the army desperately needed. A group of people called Regimental Camp Followers also helped increase the morale of the soldiers and provided necessary support to the men again.

After the horrendous winter, the Continental Army found out that France was going to aid their cause by sending military and monetary donations to the army. France had signed an alliance pact, on February 6, 1778 with the 13 colonies, after General Horatio Gates had led his army and won the decisive Battles of Saratoga. A celebration of French alliance was organized on May 6, 1778, at Valley Forge.

The army repeatedly shouted, "Long live France! Long live the friendly powers! Long live the American States!" Thousands of soldiers performed large drill formations and fired salutes from muskets and cannons. The formations were observed by George Washington and other military leaders. At the conclusion of the celebration each soldier was to be rewarded one gill of rum.

notables include

  • George Washington
  • The Marquis de Lafayette