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 Lightning
- Lightning is a form of electrical discharge between clouds or between a cloud and the ground.
- The discharge may take place between two parts of the same cloud, between two clouds, or between a cloud and the ground.
- Lightning may appear as a jagged streak, a flash in the sky, or in the rarer form of a brilliant ball.
- Thunder is the sound waves produced by the explosive heating of the air in the lightning channel during the return.
- Most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or end of a storm.
- The average lightning strike is six miles long.Lightning is not confined to thunderstorms. It’s been seen in volcanic eruptions, extremely intense forest fires, surface nuclear detonations, heavy snowstorms, and in large hurricanes.
- Lightning reaches 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, fours times as hot as the sun’s surface.
- A cloud-to-ground lightning channel can be 2 to 10 miles long.
- Voltage in a cloud-to-ground strike is 100 million to 1 billion volts.
- Lightning is underrated as a risk because it usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction of property.
- Lightning affects all regions. Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Colorado have the most lightning deaths and injuries.
- Lightning kills more people on an annual basis than tornadoes, hurricanes or winter storms. It is second only to flash floods in the annual number of deaths caused by storm-related hazards.
- Damage costs from lightning are estimated at $4-5 billion each year in the U.S.
- Around the earth there are 100 lightning strikes per second, or 8,640,00 times a day.
- What is commonly referred to as heat lightning, is actually lightning too far away to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
- There are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms in the U.S. each year.
- Rubber shoes do nothing to protect you from lightning.Americans are twice as likely to die from lightning than from a hurricane, tornado or flood.
- Talking on the telephone is the leading cause of lightning injuries inside the home.
- Standing under a tall tree is one of the most dangerous places to take shelter.
- If your hair stands up in a storm, it could be a bad sign that positive charges are rising through you, reaching toward the negatively charged part of the storm. That’s not a good sign! Your best bet is to get yourself immediately indoors.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates there are 200 deaths and 750 severe injuries from lightning each year in the U.S.
- The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000.
- 20% of all lightning victims die from the strike.
- 70% of survivors will suffer serious long-term effects.
- Annually, there are more than 10,000 forest fires caused by lightning.
- 85% of lightning victims are children and young men aged 10-35 engaged in outdoor recreation and work activities outside.
- 70% of all lightning injuries and fatalities occur in the afternoon.
- Most lightning deaths involve people working outdoors and outdoor recreationists.
- Lightning in remote terrain creates dangerous conditions. Hikers, campers, backpackers, skiers, fishermen, and hunters are especially vulnerable when they’re participating in these activities.
- Many survivors of lightning strikes report that immediately before being struck their hair was standing on end and they had a metallic taste in their mouth.
- If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of a storm—and can be struck by lightning. Seek shelter and avoid situations in which you may be vulnerable.
- Use the 30-30 rule, when visibility is good and there is nothing obstructing your view of the thunderstorm. When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within six miles (ten kilometers) of you and is dangerous. Seek shelter immediately.
- The Fourth of July is historically one of the most deadly times of the year for lightning in the U.S.. In summer, especially on a holiday, more people are outside, on the beach, golf course, mountains, or ball fields. Outdoor jobs such as construction and agriculture, and outdoor chores such as lawn mowing or house painting are at their peak, putting people involved in danger.
- Long-term injuries from a lightning strike can include memory & attention loss, chronic numbness, muscle spasms & stiffness, depression, hearing loss, and sleep disturbance.
- Some scientists think that lightning may have played a part in the evolution of living organisms. The immense heat and other energy given off during a stroke has been found to convert elements into compounds that are found in organisms.
Special thanks to www.strikealert.com and www.nationalgeographic.com