June 19, 1778 — George Washington’s troops finally left Valley Forge today, after being stationed here for exactly six months.
The conditions during their stay were brutal. The freezing weather, lack of food, lack of supplies, and disease killed approximately 2,000 soldiers during their encampment.
Although the soldiers faced many obstacles, the experience trained those who survived to become better suited for warfare. In fact, just a day before their departure, British troops left Philadelphia to headed towards New York. One week later, the two forces will engage in one of the largest battles in the Revolutionary war — in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Words of Wisdom for June 19, 2015
“The wine is excellent, I got some of it, which his Excellency was so good upon hearing I was sick, to send me three bottles.”
— Levin Powell in a letter to his wife, Sarah Powell, from Valley Forge, January 21, 1778. Powell's illness was diagnosed as “St. Anthony’s fire” and that it gave him “great pain” and confined him a “great while” to his room. The excellent wine Powell referred to was taken from a British brig captured by General Smallwood. The brig also carried such items as arms, tents, soldiers clothing, officers’ baggage, rum, port and a dozen British officers’ wives traveling to America to their husbands. Gen. Washington extended many kindnesses to others during the Revolutionary War, such as releasing every camp prisoner in celebration of French Alliance at Valley Forge, returning documents to a British surgeon, and sending back Gen. Howe’s errant dog. This magnanimity did not go unrecognized, for, as Samuel Ward wrote from camp, Gen. Washington “still shines as usual, the friend and Father of us all.”