General George Washington at Valley Forge
Facts About Valley Forge
“To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie upon, without shoes … without a house or hut to cover them until those could be built, and submitting without a murmur, is a proof of patience and obedience which, in my opinion, can scarcely be paralleled.”
-George Washington at Valley Forge,
April 21, 1778
General Washington's headquarters
g the winter of of 1777-1778 the prospect of more fighting during the war for Independence, was not possible because of the weather, and the poor condition of Washington’s troops. They had fought their last battle of 1777 at White Marsh, and he had decided to rest his troops at a relatively safe and secure position at Valley Forge.
- 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 poorly fed, ill-equipped army, weary from long marches, struggled into Valley Forge, and the winds blew cold, as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter’s fury.
- The first properly constructed hut appeared in three days. Within six weeks, more than a thousand huts were finished to provide shelter for the rag-tag army. But everything thing else, food, clothing, shoes, and medicines were left wanting.
- Because of the harsh conditions, and lack of supplies, it is hardly remembered that over 2000 men died, without a shot being fired.
- Disease at Valley Forge was rampant. Sanitary conditions in the 18th Century were very poor. Small pox, typhoid or typhus (known as putrid fever), pneumonia, and dysentery were some.
Valley Forge Arrival
Most of the troops were inoculated for small pox at Valley Forge, but these men were usually on an inactive status because they were quarantined.
- It is a little known fact, that more Americans died during this winter, than at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown combined.
- It is also a little known fact, that over 5000 Americans of African descent served in Washington’s army. African American men were active members on the battlefield, a mixture of freed and enslaved men who took up arms.
- After the war had ended, a resolution passed by Congress in 1779 decreed that any enslaved man serving with the Continental Army, upon the termination of their service, would be a freed man. And while a majority of men of African descent were freed, a large portion of them were not.
- Also not widely known is the fact that a great number of Native Americans from the Oneida Indian Nation in particular had a crucial impact during the Valley Forge encampment.
- Washington’s troops were the most racially integrated of any American army fielded, up until Vietnam.
- So severe were conditions at times that Washington despaired that the army might have to be disbanded, and every man let go to forage for himself. But with the help of men like General Christopher Ludwig, Friedich Von Steuben, Henry Knox, and a host of Camp followers that consisted of the families, wives, children, mothers, and sisters of the soldiers, who were continually trying to help and raise the morale of Washington’s men, the army survived.
Huts for the soldiers
On June 19 1778, after training all winter and their ordeal finally over, they left Valley Forge to pursue the British, and continue the war for Independence.
- One of Valley Forge’s first tourist attractions was the historic house now called Washington’s Headquarters, dedicated in 1879 by the Centennial and Memorial Association of Valley Forge.
- One of the earliest people to come as a tourist (and write about the experience) was John Fanning Watson who visited in 1828.
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania established its first state park at Valley Forge in 1893.
- Valley Forge became a National Park in 1976, for the Bicentennial.
Special thanks to authorsden.com and ushistory.org
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 - 1849
Fun Facts About Edgar Allan Poe
- Poe was born in Boston, MA
- His father David Poe was bred as a lawyer, but deeply offended his family by marrying an actress of English birth, Mrs. Elizabeth Hopkins, neé Arnold, and by himself going on the stage. In 1811 he and his wife died, leaving three children — William, Edgar, and a daughter Rosalie — wholly destitute.
- Edgar was adopted by John Allan, a tobacco merchant of Scottish extraction, seemingly at the request of his wife, who was childless.
- Poe attended the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1826…until he had to drop out due to lack of money. It seems that Poe had a gambling problem, and his foster father got tired of bailing him out.
- Broke, Poe lied about his age and joined the army. He served two years…and then got himself dismissed by court martial.
- His life immediately after he left West Point is very obscure, but in 1833 he was living at Baltimore with his paternal aunt, Mrs. Clemm, who was throughout life his protector, and, in so far as extreme poverty permitted, his support.
- In 1827 Poe had published his first volume of poetry, Tamerlane and other Poems, at Boston. He did not publish under his name, but as “A Bostonian.” In 1831 he published a volume of Poems under his name at New York.
- In 1833 he won a prize of $100 offered for the best story by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. He would have won the prize for the best poem if the judges had not thought it wrong to give both rewards to one competitor.
- The story, MS. found in a Bottle, is one of the most mediocre of his tales, but his success gave him an introduction to editors and publishers, who were attracted by his striking personal appearance and his fine manners, and were also touched by his manifest poverty.
- His famous poem “The Raven” was published first in 1845, and soon became extraordinarily popular; but Poe only got $10 or $15 for it (the exact amount is often debated.)
- Poe’s short stories featuring C. Auguste Dupin shaped the modern mystery story so much that Arthur Conan Doyle compared Sherlock Holmes to Dupin, and the Mystery Writers of America give an award named the Edgar—after Poe, of course.
- Among his masterpieces are the short stories The Pit and the Pendulum, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Gold Bug.
- In 1835 he married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, a beautiful girl of fourteen years of age. A false statement as to her age was made at the time of the marriage. She died after a long decline in 1847.
- Poe made two attempts to marry women of fortune — Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Shelton. The first of these engagements was broken off. The second was terminated by his death.
- Poe died of tuberculosis on October 7th, 1849 in Baltimore, MD
- Poe’s bizarre life didn’t stop just because he died in 1849. He was buried in an unmarked grave, and when gossip finally led to a stone being ordered, it was destroyed in a train accident.
- Ever since 1949, someone has left a bottle of cognac and some roses on Poe’s grave. Who is leaving these things? And why?
- Edgar Allen Poe is one of the featured images on the cover of the 1967 Beatles’ album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Special thanks to enotes.com and nndb.com
Attila the Hun, ?-453 AD
Fun Facts About Attila the Hun
Attila’s Rise to Power
Called the Scourge of God by the Romans, Attila the Hun was king and general of the Hun empire from A.D. 433 to 453. Succeeding his uncle, King Roas, in 433, Attila shared his throne with his brother Bleda. He inherited the Scythian hordes who were disorganized and weakened by internal strife. Attila’s first order of affairs was to unite his subjects for the purpose of creating one of the most formidable and feared armies Asia had ever seen.
Peace Treaty Between Rome and Attila the Hun
In 434 East Roman Emperor Theodosius II offered Attila and Bleda 660 pounds of gold annually with hopes of securing an everlasting peace with the Huns. This peace, however, was not long lived. In 441 Attila’s Huns attacked the Eastern Roman Empire. The success of this invasion emboldened Attila to continue his westward expansion. Passing unhindered through Austria and Germany, Attila plundered and devastated all in his path.
Attila Attacks Italy
In 451, having suffered a setback on the Plains of Chalons, by the allied Romans and Visigoths, Attila turned his attention to Italy. After having laid waste to Aquileia and many Lombard cities in 452, the Scourge of God met Pope Leo I who dissuaded him from sacking Rome.
Attila’s Ignominious Death
Attila’s death in 453 wasn’t quite what one would have expected from such a fierce barbarian warrior. He died not on the battlefield, but on the night of his marriage. On that night Attila, who, despite common misconceptions, was not a heavy drinker, drank heavily in celebration of his new bride. In his wedding chambers at the end of the event, Attila passed out flat on his back. It was then and there that Attila had a massive nosebleed which caused him to choke on his own blood.
Special thanks to www.about.com