By 1780, the Continental Army had been at war six long years. It was in deplorable condition. Congress had exhausted all their resources, including the promised assistance from France. The Continental paper dollar had depreciated to 3,000 to 1! Even those supporting independence would not accept "Continentals", hence what money available to the army was worthless. The expression "Not worth a Continental" originated at this time...http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/coldwinter.html
When the Army arrived at Jockey Hollow, there was already a foot of snow on the ground. Doctor James Thacher, whose journal is one of the best sources of first person descriptions of events during the war, wrote: "The weather for several days has been remarkably cold and stormy. On the 3rd instance, we experienced one of the most tremendous snowstorms ever remembered; no man could endure its violence many minutes without danger to his life. ... When the storm subsided, the snow was from four to six feet deep, obscuring the very traces of the roads by covering fences that lined them. " In March he wrote: "...an immense body of snow on the ground there had been four snowfalls in February and March brought six more. " Another entry in his journal read: "For the last ten days we have received but two pounds of meat a man, and we are frequently for six or eight days entirely without bread. The consequences is that the soldiers are so enfeebled from hunger and cold, as to be almost unable to perform their military duty or labor in constructing their huts."
General Johann de Kalb wrote: "...so cold that the ink freezes on my pen, while I am sitting close to the fire. The roads are piled with snow until, at some places they are elevated twelve feet above their ordinary level."
Private Joseph Plumb Martin's memoirs, writing in the rollicking style of a soldier, reported: "We are absolutely, literally starved. I do solemnly declare that I did not put a single morsel of victuals into my mouth for four days and as many nights, except for a little black birch bark which I gnawed off a stick of wood. I saw several men roast their old shoes and eat them, and I was afterward informed by one of the officer's waiters, that some of the officers killed a favorite little dog that belonged to one of them." He then wrote that he wore "what laughingly could be called a uniform, and possessed a blanket thin enough to have straws shoot through it without discommoding the threads. "
All roads were impassable and would stay that way until the snow melted. Not a single cart or wagon load of supplies could move. The Army would soon starve!"
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Philly Phreedom Rally - Rain Fall Back Plan
Posted by Mike Salvi at 1:39 PM