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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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