Valley Forge, 1778
The war lasted nearly nine years. The Americans wouldn't quit, but it didn't seem as if they had a chance. Great Britain had the most feared army in the world.
In 1777 the British captured America's capital city, Philadelphia, and the congress had to flee. Eighteen miles from the city, Washington marched his army to a place called Valley Forge . It was December and the ground was covered with snow. Doctor Albigence Waldo of Connecticut, a surgeon at Valley Forge, wrote in his diary about the Continental army's misery. "Dec 12th We are ordered to march over the riverit snowsI'm sickeat nothingno whiskeyno baggageLordLordLord."
Picture 2,000 dirt-floored, drafty wooden huts lined up in streets like a village, and you have an idea of Valley Forge. If you look at the ground, you may see blood. Some of the soldiers have no shoes ; their toes freeze and their feet leave bloody tracks. Dr. Waldo recorded the mounting suffering: "Dec 14th Poor foodhard lodgingcold weatherfatiguenasty clothesnasty cookeryvomit half my time.... I can't endure it.... Here comes a bowl of beef soupfull of burnt leaves and dirt ."
No battles are fought at Valley Forge. But something astounding happens there. The men who make it through that winter become a team: strong, confident, and proud of themselves, their country, and their leader, General Washington, who has shared his men's hardships.