December 19, 2011 · 10:55 am
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
Filed under Historical Events & Figures
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November 22, 2011 · 11:28 am
A Broad Breasted Bronze tom (male turkey)
Fun Facts About the Turkey
Wild turkeys in their natural habitat
Turkeys originated in North and Central America.
- Usually the turkeys are found in hardwood forests with grassy areas but they are capable of adapting themselves to different habitats.
- Turkeys spend the night in trees.
- You can easily see a turkey on a warm clear day or during light rain.
- Turkeys fly to the ground at first light and feed until mid-morning. Feeding resumes in mid-afternoon.
- Turkeys start gobbling before sunrise and generally continue through most of the morning.
- The field of vision of wild turkey is so good that it is about 270 degrees.
- The wild turkey has excellent hearing.
A turkey can run up to 20 mph
A spooked turkey can run at speed up to 20 miles per hour.
- A wild turkey can run at speed of up to 25 miles per hour.
- A wild turkey can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour.
- Domesticated turkeys or the farm-raised turkeys cannot fly.
- Turkeys were one of the first birds to be domesticated in the America.
- The male turkeys are called ‘tom’, the female turkeys are called ‘hen’ and the baby turkeys are called ‘poult’.
- The male turkeys gobble whereas female turkeys make a clicking noise.
- The male turkeys gobble to attract the female turkeys for mating. The gobble is a seasonal call made during the spring and fall.
- A mature turkey generally has around 3,500 feathers. The Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and wouldn’t eat it or use its feathers on their arrows.
Roast turkey is typically consumed in America during Thanksgiving and/or Christmas
According to an estimate, during the Thanksgiving holiday more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and around 525 million pounds of turkey is eaten.
- About ninety-five percent of American families eat turkey on the Thanksgiving Day whereas fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas holiday.
- Almost fifty percent of Americans eat turkey at least once every 2 weeks.
- According to the National Turkey Federation about twenty-four percent of Americans purchase fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving and seventy percent purchase frozen turkeys.
- North Carolina is the number one producer of turkeys. It produces around 61 million turkeys per year. Minnesota and Arkansas are second and third number producers of turkey.
- The part of the turkey that is used in a good luck ritual is known as the ‘wishbone’.
- The red fleshy growth from the base of the beak that hangs down over the beak is called ‘snood’. It is very long on male turkeys.
Special thanks to www.thanksgivingnovember.com
Filed under Food, Historical Events & Figures, Nature
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