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
Fun Facts About St. Lucia
- St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward Islands located in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
- On February 22, 1979, St Lucia gained independence from Great Britain
- The island was created because of volcanic activity and is 43 km (27 miles) long and 23 km (14 miles) wide.
- In recent years, St. Lucia has mainly been engaged in the export of bananas, clothing, vegetables, cacao and coconuts. In the past, St. Lucia’s biggest cultivation was of sugarcane, which was replaced by the cultivation of banana during the mid 1960s.
- St. Lucia is situated in the Caribbean Sea, as part of the Lesser Antilles, with its total area covering 616sq km.
- The closest islands neighboring St Lucia are St Vincent to the south, and Martinique, to the north.
- The year-round temperature in St Lucia remains in the average range of about 27ºC (80ºF).
- Castries, the capital city of St Lucia, is actually located in a flood gut region. Interestingly, Castries has been built on a reclaimed land mass.
- St. Lucia, divided into 11 quarters, is estimated to have a population of almost 170,000.
- The East Caribbean dollar (EC$) is the national currency of St. Lucia.
- The recorded literacy rate of St Lucia shows about 67 percent of the population to be literate.
- The average life expectancy of the people of St. Lucia is around 72 years.
- Jacquot, or the St. Lucia Parrot, is a bird native only to these islands. It is the national bird of St. Lucia, and its scientific name is Amazona Versicolor.
- St. Lucia was known as the Island of the Iguanas by the Amerindian Arawak and Carib people who are known to have been among the earliest settlers here.
- At 950 m (3,117ft), Mount Gimie is the highest point on this island nation of St. Lucia.
- Both France and England continuously struggled to establish sole control over St Lucia throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. In the bargain, this island nation changed hands nearly 14 times.
- Around the year 1600, the Dutch were the first to built Vieux Fort (or the old fort).
- In 1746, the town of Soufriere was built, under French administration.
- In 1814, St Lucia was surrendered to the United Kingdom, and came under British rule.
- On 1st March, 1967, the island nation of St Lucia became self-governing in internal affairs.
- “The Land, The People, The Light” was coined as the national motto of St. Lucia when it obtained total independence from England on 22nd February, 1979.
- “Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia” is the national anthem of St Lucia. Penned by Charles Jesse, it has been set to music by Leton Felix Thomas.
- St Lucia continues to be a current member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
- The Honourable Stephenson King, born in Castries, is the current Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.
- Sir Arthur Lewis, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1979, was born in St Lucia in 1915.
- Derek Walcott, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, was born in Castries in 1930.
- The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton – are twin volcanic peaks that rise from the sea. These marvelous volcanic monuments have contributed in a big way to making St Lucia very famous.
- In 2004, the Pitons Management Area containing much of a collapsed stratovolcano known as the Soufriere Volcanic Centre, became a World Heritage Site.
- Sadly, hurricane Lenny left a lot of damage in its wake when it hit St Lucia in November 1999. The loss was estimated at around seventeen thousand East Caribbean dollars.
- The rules for driving in St Lucia officially state that roads should be approached from the left hand side.
- The Voice, The Star, The St Lucia Mirror, The Crusader and One Caribbean are some of the main newspapers of St Lucia.
Special thanks to www.iloveindia.com