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Valley Forge: Washington’s Frost-bitten Army Encampment During the American Revolution

General George Washington at Valley Forge

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

    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

    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

    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

 

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Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Famous Sleuth

Holmes Silhouette with Signature Deer-stalker Hat and Pipe

Holmes Silhouette with Signature Deerstalker Cap and Pipe

Fun Facts About Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”

  • Sherlock means blond, but two of the actors most associated with the role, Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett, both had dark hair.
  • The famous deerstalker cap of Holmes was not ascribed to him by Doyle, , but by the illustrator of the stories, Sidney Paget.
  • The most famous phrase that was never used in Doyle’s original works was “Elementary, my dear Watson.” This was used in the first sound film to feature the character.
  • Doyle did write Holmes saying, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” This may be the most famous actual quote of the character.
  • Holmes’ best friend and biographer is Dr. Watson. Watson has a bullet wound that was first described as being in the shoulder, but in another story the wound had moved to the leg.
  • Holmes’ most famous nemesis was Professor Moriarty; however he only appeared in two stories, The Final Problem and The Valley of Fear. But, Holmes’ description of him as the “Napoleon of Crime” as well as the apparent belief that Holmes died fighting him (at least until Holmes returned due to popular demand), his fame is justified.
  • Canonically, the only woman to leave a lasting impression on Holmes was Irene Adler. She was also the only person to have beaten Holmes. It is believed by some fans that the two were romantically involved and had a child together. Laurie R King, British author of a series of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, mentioned a son he had with Adler. She is not the first writer to do so.
  • Sherlock Holmes is famous for his cold logic, but Doyle believed in spiritualism.
  • Doyle became so tired of Holmes that he wrote The Final Problem in order to kill him off. The public’s demands for more stories lead Doyle to resurrect Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House.
  • Nicholas Meyer wrote a book where he gives an explanation for Holmes’ absence during the time between The Final Problem and The Adventure of the Empty House. It is called The Seven Per Cent Solution, and instead of hiding out from dangerous enemies, Holmes is actually in Vienna, getting treatment for his cocaine addiction. His use of cocaine is part of Doyle’s canon.
  • Basil of Baker Street, a mouse in a children’s book series, as well as a Disney movie called The Great Mouse Detective was inspired by Holmes. Other characters based on the detective include Dr. House of television’s House, and Shirley Holmes, a teenager in the Canadian series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes. The character of Shirley was Sherlock Holmes’ great grand niece. Doyle set his stories in Victorian England, but other people have put Holmes in many settings, including the 1940’s, battling Nazis and the 22nd century.
Special thanks to www.associatedcontent.com

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

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