On this day

19 December 1777

George Washington's poorly fed, ill-equipped army staggered into Valley Forge, weary from long marches. Winds blew as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter's fury. Only about one in three of them had shoes, and many of their feet had left... Read more ...

19 December 1777

Washington's army arrived in Valley Forge
George Washington's poorly fed, ill-equipped army staggered into Valley Forge, weary from long marches. Winds blew as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter's fury. Only about one in three of them had shoes, and many of their feet had left bloody footprints from the marching. Grounds were selected for brigade encampments, and defense lines were planned and begun.

The first properly constructed hut appeared in three days. One other hut required 80 logs, and timber had to be collected from miles away. By the beginning of February, construction was completed on 2,000 huts. They provided shelter, but did little to offset the critical shortages that continually plagued the army.

By the end of February, there were adequate supplies flowing throughout camp after Congress gave full support to monetarily funding the supply lines of the army, along with reorganizing the commissionary department, which controlled the gathering of the supplies for the army.

The soldiers were trained, but not uniformly. The task of developing and carrying out an effective training program fell to Baron Friedrich von Steuben. This skilled Prussian drill master, who had recently arrived from Europe, tirelessly drilled the soldiers, improving their battle and formation techniques greatly.

The army left Valley Forge on 19 June 1778.



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    Jeff Tanner's powder dispenser

    Category: Miscellaneous
    Published: 10 June 2011 by Øyvind Flatnes.
    Views: 12877

    Dispenser med flaske

    Jeff Tanner's powder dispenser.

    From time to time you stumble across things you can't manage without. One of my things is Jeff Tanner's powder dispenser. It's simple, cheap, and best of all: it's incredibly time-saving. I've used mine for a couple of years now, and my old Lyman No. 55 is used less and less.

    You can easily bring the dispenser to the range, or move it around in your house and attach it to, for example, a table. On the range it is handy for filling the phials that MLAIC shooters use (it is not allowed to fill powder directly from a flask or powder horn).

    A simple device

    The dispenser consists of a light plastic moulding with a spring-loaded aluminium cut off. On the back it has a clamp attached to it, thus making it easy to fasten the dispenser on a table, a plank or to the shooting bench. A plastic bottle filled with powder is screwed on top of the moulding. The bottles come in two sizes: small and large. I'd advise you to buy a couple of bottles to make sure you can bring different granulations to the range. I also carry a bottle of semolina for measuring fillers for cap & ball revolvers.

    But how does it work? Tanners powder dispenser is a dispenser – not a measure. It lacks a measuring device, but is meant to be used with the adjustable powder measures most black powder shooters carry. The dispenser makes sure that the correct amount of powder is dispensed into the measure.


    But is it consistent? The answer is yes. And no. It's accurate as long as the powder volume in the bottle is about the same, but when it starts to empty it throws slightly lighter charges. I'm known to be very particular about powder weights though, and you probably won't care about the difference.

    See how the dispenser works in the video below.


    What about disadvantages? There are some. You may experience some powder leakage from the cut off. Because of this, the cut off mechanism chokes from time to time, especially with the larger granulations. However, this is a device I cannot manage without. I still use my Lyman No. 55 for the large jobs – for example when loading large amount of cartridges, but for everyday use I stick to Tanners powder dispenser.


    The dispenser can be ordered from Jeff Tanner and costs 50 USD, 25 GB or 40 Euros. Two bottles are included. He also makes affordable roundball moulds in all diameters, as well as patches and other black powder accessories.

    Find out more!
    You can learn more about black powder shooting in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.