» June 5th, 2012
“The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.” – George Washington
The winter of 1777-1778 was a dark period for the American Revolution. The British army had taken the Nation’s capital, Philadelphia, and they expected the war with the colonials to be a short one. The British had a fine, seasoned army while George Washington’s army was outnumbered, outfought, ill trained, and poorly equipped.
General William Howe’s troops were enjoying the warmth and protection of their billets in Philadelphia. General Washington needed to find a place for his army to winter. He decided on Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, a place where the army could regain strength and prepare for the future battles.
General Washington’s army suffered greatly at Valley Forge. They had to endure a severe winter where
- The shortage of food and supplies were the worst they had been,
- Many of the men were shoeless and dressed in rags,
- Many were forced to use their blankets, not for warmth, but to wrap their bare feet,
- Living quarters were simple log huts that provided little protection from the rain and snow, and
- The crude living conditions and near starvation led to disease in the camp
In spite of so many privations, General Washington’s army possessed patriotism, love for freedom, and dedication to their commander and their cause. They not only survived, but came out of Valley Forge hardened, disciplined, and better prepared to fight.
Much of the credit goes to General Washington for his superior leadership. General Washington shared the suffering of his men, spent much of his time searching for supplies and begging the Continental Congress for the resources to buy them. He worked to uphold the morale of his men.
General Washington possessed an unfaltering faith in God. Tradition says that, during one of the bleakest times at Valley Forge, a Quaker farmer found General Washington in the woods, on his knees in the snow. Head bowed, tears down his face, General Washington asked God to look after his men. This , too, is a perilous year for our Republic. I pray that God will still bless the USA.
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filed in: The Founding Fathers