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 8, 2011 · 8:56 am
Modern-day Ice Hockey
Fun Facts About Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup
The Origin of Hockey
Hockey has been played in some form or other for 100s of years. It is thought to be 1 of the earliest sports in the world, and was played by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Arabs.
Hurling, a sport very similar to hockey, is known to have been played during the first millennium BC in Ireland, and other similar types of sports were adopted by other Europeans in the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century). In pre-Columbian times (before the 16th century) Native South Americans also played a game much the same as hockey. The name hockey, thought to have been adapted by the English from the French word hoquet (shepherd’s crook), was 1st given to the sport in the eighteenth century but was not in common usage until the nineteenth century.
The modern game of ice hockey was invented in the mid-1850´s by British soldiers based in Canada. Rules were set by students at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, in 1879, and many amateur clubs and leagues were organized in Canada by the late 1880´s. The game is believed to have been 1st played in the USA in 1893. By the beginning of the twentieth century the sport had spread to England and other parts of Europe. The modern game developed in Canada, and nowadays is very popular in North America and East Europe.
The NHL is the most important league in the world; this National Hockey League comprises teams from the United States and Canada, but for many years almost all NHL players Canadians. The winning team of this competition is awarded the Stanley Cup trophy. Ice Hockey became an Olympic sport in 1920 and is 1 of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics.
The Stanley Cup
“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in Canada. There does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the interest that hockey matches now elicit, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held annually by the winning club.”
So mused Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892, at a sports banquet in Ottawa. The following year Canada’s governor-general was true to his word, purchasing a silver bowl for $50 and naming it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. Hockey folks went with a less formal designation, the Stanley Cup.
The first winner was a Montreal team that finished atop the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, considered the best league going at the time. But in its early years, the prize was not exclusive to one hockey league, nor was it meant to be. It was a challenge cup, changing hands in much the same way as a boxing title. Contenders issued challenges, and the champions held the Cup for as long as they could fend off all comers. Independent trustees ensured that legitimate challenges were met on a regular basis.
In later years, as professionalism swept the game, it was accepted that the Stanley Cup could not remain exclusive to amateur teams. The Stanley Cup officially turned pro in 1910, when the National Hockey Association took possession of it. But it was not until 1926 that the National Hockey League emerged indisputably as the top league in North America, effectively taking control of the Cup. That control was formalized in an agreement signed with the Cup trustees in 1947.
Special thanks to CollegeSportsScholarships.com and About.com
Filed under Historical Events & Figures, Sports
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September 11, 2011 · 5:03 pm
Fun Facts About Fort Jefferson
- Fort Jefferson is the largest brick fort in the Western Hemisphere.
- Fort Jefferson is made up of over 16 million bricks.
- Construction of Fort Jefferson lasted over 30 years, and it was never officially finished.
- In 1874 all work on Fort Jefferson stopped, the people left, and the fort was officially abandoned.
- No shots were ever fired from Fort Jefferson.
- Fort Jefferson’s walls are 45 feet tall and 8 feet thick.
- The soldiers’ barracks at Fort Jefferson were designed to house 1,000 men, and were more than a football field in length. A fire destroyed the barracks in 1912.
- There were originally 420 heavy guns on Fort Jefferson, and they were some of the largest and most advanced weapons of their age.
- Fort Jefferson was designed to store gunpowder in 37 different magazines, all spread out throughout the Fort to make the powder more accessible.
- Both red and yellow bricks make up Fort Jefferson. The yellow bricks were placed before the civil war and were from Pensacola, Florida. The red bricks were shipped to the island from the North during the civil war.
- The bricks used in Fort Jefferson were from Florida and the North, the wood used was shipped from Louisiana, and the nails used were brought from Pennsylvania.
- J.N.O. Nolan, a master bricklayer who helped build Fort Jefferson, etched his name in several places throughout the fort. Visitors keep an eye out for his carvings.
- The fort was established as a national monument on January 4th, 1935.
Special thanks to www.yankeefreedom.com
Filed under Historical Events & Figures
Tagged as barracks, brick, bricklayer, Civil War, Dry Tortugasa National Park, FL, Florida, Fort Jefferson, Ft. Jefferson, guns, heavy guns, J.N.O. Nolan, Key West, Louisiana, magazine, national monument, Pennsylvania, Pensacola, soldier, soldiers