“What we know today was not known in late December 1777. ” The soldiers had no idea that the French were coming to their aide, they thought that continuing in the in their present course at Valley Forge was sure to end in death. In the winter of 1777, the Continental Army under George Washington’s command, established the winter fort, Valley Forge, about 18 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The question asks if you had been a soldier at Valley Forge, would you’ve quit.
I would have quit at Valley Forge because of the malnourishment, lack of proper clothing for winter, and illness and deaths. The main reason I would have quit at Valley Forge is due to malnourishment. According to document C, “A general cry thro’ the Camp this Evening among the Soldiers, “No Meat! No Meat! ” “Poor food…nasty cookery-Vomit half my time” The army’s supplies was scarce, they were malnourished and didn’t have any meat. The soldiers were weak and close to their death. Another reason I would’ve quit is because of the lack of proper clothing needed for the harsh winter.
Shown in document B, the men were ill equipped for the winter, having bare feet, and some having only tattered pants for warmth. Document C, “There comes a Soldier, his bare feet are seen thro’ his worn out Shoes, his legs nearly naked from the tatter’d remains of an only pair of stockings…. ” Soldiers would get frostbite and possibly lose limbs due to the unadvanced medical training while the British were comfortably quartered in Philadelphia. While some hopes still remained for a United States victory, illness and death rates were quickly diminishing them.
As shown in document A, there were 12,000 troops being quartered at Valley Forge, out of these men approximately 3,000 men were reported unfit for duty. That’s around 25% of all of the soldiers. From December-June there were roughly 2,150 deaths due to illness. The malnourishment, lack of clothing for winter, and illness/death rates are strong to quit. At the time of encampment, the war’s outcome was looking bleak for the United States, but time would prove this assumption wrong. From what the soldiers knew at the time, the suffering was in vain.