Winter at Valley Forge - Video

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Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, was the site of the Continental Army camp during the winter of 1777–1778. When the winter of 1777 was setting in, George Washington's army was poorly fed, ill-equipped and weary from battle and long marches. George Washington was looking for a camp close to Philadelphia, yet far enough away from the British encampments. He decided to set up camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. On December 19, 1777, about 12,000 Continental Soldiers marched into Valley Forge. It took about 6 weeks to set up camp. They built simple log structures to provide shelter from the cold, damp, snow and ice. Initially, they had very little meat and bread. George Washington was concerned that unless things changed soon his soldiers would starve and the army would need to disperse in search of food. Also, the soldiers' clothing was tattered and worn from many months of battle and hard marching. Shoes were worn out. Sickness and disease killed almost 2,000 men that winter. It was a very difficult and desparate time.

Despite the hardships, the winter at Valley Forge was also a time of retraining and rejuvenation. George Washington wanted to improve the military efficiency, morale, and discipline. Training was inconsistent, making coordinated battle movements awkward and difficult. Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a skilled Prussian drill master, was assigned responsibility for tirelessly drilling the soldiers. When the troops finally left Valley Forge six months later, they had made significant progress in improving their skills, and creating a fighting force capable of standing up to the British Army. The winter at Valley Forge was a major turning point in the war. Check out these videos to learn more about the winter at Valley Forge.

























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