Soldier at Valley Forge
According to the National Park Service, "Washington had to balance the Continental Congress's wish for some type of winter campaign aimed at dislodging the British from the capital [Philadelphia] against the needs of his weary and poorly supplied army. By mid-December , he had decided to encamp at Valley Forge.
"From this location, twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia, the army was close enough to maintain pressure on the British yet far enough away to prevent a surprise attack. While the solders who entered camp on December 19, 1777 were not well-supplied, they were not downtrodden."
Over the course of that winter, more than 2,000 American soldiers died, mainly of disease. For every solider who died in battle, 10 died from disease. In large part, that was because most of the soldiers were poorly supplied and poorly nourished. But it was not because they were cold: Many of them died in the warmer spring months that followed the harsh winter.
By early summer of 1778, with a new alliance with the French locked down, the Americans were ready to take on the British. On June 28, 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, in New Jersey, Washington's troops defeated the British.
As part of Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman stopped Monday at Valley Forge, located in Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia. It was nearly 100 degrees in the sun, nothing like the frigid winter conditions Washington's men encountered. Still, Terdiman got a sense for what the beautiful encampment was like.
Seen here, a Continental Army "soldier" ponders his next move. Enactors are regularly on site to entertain visitors.
July 6, 2010 8:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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