Revolution 250 Podcast

The Women of Valley Forge with Nancy K. Loane

September 19, 2023 Nancy K. Loane Season 4 Episode 38
Revolution 250 Podcast
The Women of Valley Forge with Nancy K. Loane
Show Notes Transcript

In December of 1777, the 12,000 man army of General George Washington marched into Valley Forge to build a winter encampment.  In addition to the soldiers, more than 400 women were in the column.  They were not only the wives of senior officers but the wives of soldiers who had followed the army since it was assembled.  We learn about these women, as well as others who nursed, cooked, sewed, washed and otherwise helped keep the army together from Nancy K. Loane, author of Following the Drum:  Women and the Valley Forge Encampment. 

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 Hello, everyone.
 
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 Welcome to the Revolution 250 podcast.
 
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 I'm Bob Allison.
 
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 I chair the Revolution 250 advisory group.
 
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 And our guest today is Nancy Loan.
 
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 Nancy Loan is the author of a great book, Following the Drum, Women at the Valley Forge Encampment.
 
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 And so we'll be talking a lot about women at Valley Forge and women in the Continental Army.
 
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 So, Nancy, thank you for joining us.
 
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 Oh, thank you.
 
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 I appreciate the opportunity.
 
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 So after getting a doctorate in education at the University of Miami and then teaching for a number of years as both in K through 12 and then at the Miami Dade Community College, you moved to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and became a seasonal ranger and really then learned to tell the story of what happened at Valley Forge.
 
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 Yes, that's right.
 
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 We moved to Valley Forge.
 
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 I knew very little about the revolution and little about Valley Forge.
 
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 But I went to the headquarters of Valley Forge National Historical Park and sent the ranger on duty.
 
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 Did Martha Washington sleep here?
 
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 I thought that was a cute little remark.
 
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 And the ranger said, well, yeah, she did.
 
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 And frankly, that just blew my mind because I had followed my husband around the country for 26 years.
 
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 I felt like Martha.
 
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 Martha follows George, Nancy follows Tom, you know, a real affinity there.
 
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 So I decided to find out more about Martha Washington at Valley Forge.
 
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 And as I started my research, I realized there was so much more than just Martha at Valley Forge, many other women besides Martha at Valley Forge, but lots and lots of other women too.
 
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 And I became entranced with the whole Valley Forge story.
 
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 It's interesting.
 
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 And the story you tell the Valley Forge is a bit different.
 
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 Martha's experience, because as you said, she's going to the theater and she and the officer's wives and the officers are socializing.
 
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 And there are other things you might not expect from the winter at Valley Forge.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 The last chapter in my book, which, of course, is called Following the Drum Women at the Valley Forge Encampment.
 
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 It's called Making the Myth of Martha.
 
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 As you can tell, I was into alliteration when I wrote that particular title.
 
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 And what I do is trace the story of how Martha Washington is believed to have visited the soldiers and tended to the soldiers and went to the soldiers' tents and cabins at camp.
 
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 And what I discovered when I started to research this issue was that
 
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 All the original and contemporary stories and biographies and histories of Valley Forge, and by contemporary I mean written about the time that the encampment happened and the Revolutionary War occurred, makes no mention whatsoever of Martha Washington visiting among the soldiers and doing kind deeds for them and baking bread for them and praying for them, which is what many people think now that she did.
 
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 George Washington never talks about his wife visiting soldiers.
 
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 Martha never does that.
 
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 It's never, never mentioned.
 
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 Nor does it mention that any of the other ladies that came to camp did that too.
 
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 And it's not until much later, which is in 1847,
 
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 that someone writes that Martha Washington is showing kindness to the sick and wounded.
 
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 Many years.
 
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 It's like 75 years after Valley Forge.
 
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 And then in 1848, now Martha is seeking out the afflicted at Valley Forge.
 
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 This is the first time that is mentioned.
 
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 1850, they talk about Martha being devoted to benefiting the soldiers at camps.
 
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 And then she's spreading cheer in 1852, in 1886.
 
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 And this is where people latch on.
 
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 Vincent John Losing, who's not considered a respected historian by some people, talks about a woman that he has interviewed has gone with Martha Washington into the huts and visited the soldiers and taken bread with them.
 
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 with her and how she has knit for the soldiers.
 
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 And this is what people grasp that Martha Washington, who went with someone else into the huts of the soldiers.
 
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 But this is written in 1886, more than 100 years after the Valley.
 
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 And to me, Bob, this is very discouraging that people grasp onto this as being what happened.
 
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 when nobody in the contemporary times talks about what Washington was doing.
 
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 So what was Martha doing then in her life?
 
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 Yeah, so what was she doing?
 
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 I'm so glad you asked, because this is where it got me really excited about Valley Forge.
 
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 What we know is that she took about 10 days to come to Valley Forge.
 
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 We know that Washington sent someone to escort her into Kansas.
 
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 We know that he was very happy to see her.
 
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 And we know that she came for one reason only, and that's to take care of General Washington.
 
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 Lafayette said, Mrs. Washington is mad about the general.
 
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 And General Greene says, Mrs. Washington is excessively fond of the general and he of her.
 
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 They really, I think, had a wonderful relationship.
 
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 So when she's there, she is there to take care of General Washington and make things as easy as possible for him.
 
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 But what she also does, and this is the part I like a lot, is that Charles Wilson Peale
 
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 paints portraits of Washington and gives them to her for $56, his usual price.
 
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 And who thinks about Valley Forge and Charles Wilson Peale painting portraits of the officers at Valley Forge?
 
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 That does not fit with the Valley Forge story that most people know.
 
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 And yet when you go back to his diary, he writes about painting portraits of about 50 of our officers and their ladies at camp.
 
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 Here's something else I love that we find out when you go back to the original sources, which all is the only thing I'm looking at.
 
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 I'm only looking at the letters and journals and diaries.
 
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 That's all I'm looking at.
 
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 We find that, um,
 
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 Martha Washington attended a production of Kato, which is one of General Washington's favorite plays, at camp, along with part of a numerous and splendid audience.
 
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 Now, that is what really got me.
 
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 Theater at Valley Forge, numerous and splendid audience.
 
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 I thought these men were destitutes.
 
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 gathered around their little fires with nothing to eat.
 
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 And certainly the men may have been, but the officers were doing other things.
 
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 And this is what they're doing.
 
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 They're attending theater productions.
 
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 So these are some of the, she attended worship services.
 
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 We know that.
 
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 We know that she receives in the center of a tent for the celebration of the food as well.
 
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 Those are the only things really we know for sure that she does it well.
 
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 But what I would like to suggest that we know for sure is that she did not visit the soldiers.
 
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 She did not visit the sick and the soldiers.
 
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 She was an 18th century lady from Virginia.
 
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 Those of the lower sort, Lucy Knox, also an 18th century lady, actually crosses to the other side of the street sometimes when she encounters people of the lower sort.
 
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 Very class-conscious society.
 
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 And I just would like to suggest Martha is not spending her time visiting the sewers.
 
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 It's a very interesting observation then on what we're learning about this army at Valley Forge.
 
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 And then there were, though, in addition to the ladies, Martha, Lucy, Catherine Green, an estimated 400 or so women were mainly anonymous.
 
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 That's correct.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 And who were these women?
 
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 We really don't know.
 
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 But what we think is that they're with the army because the army is offering them their very best chance for survival.
 
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 These are extremely difficult times.
 
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 Two armies, the British army, the American army, are both roaming the lands in the northeastern part of the country.
 
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 Neither army is without blemish.
 
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 Both armies go in.
 
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 to homes, steal things, break the women.
 
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 They're both bad.
 
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 They're both very bad.
 
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 And so if you're a woman at home alone, it may be your very best, best chance for survival and get a chance to get some food and work for the army.
 
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 to be with the army itself, to go with your husband.
 
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 And so we think most of the women who were there were because this is their chance of survival.
 
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 We know that there's one record of December 1777.
 
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 It lists and enumerates how many people were there, different kinds of soldiers were there, different regiments.
 
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 And on the side, it says 400 women.
 
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 W-O-M-A-N.
 
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 Now, that's where we get the estimate of 400, assuming one ration per woman, which we're not really sure how many rations, how much they got.
 
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 And that's where we get the number 400.
 
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 And these are the women that came with Washington on the 19th of December of 1777.
 
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 It's fascinating.
 
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 And then you also have found in some of the records, for example, the women who were tending to the sick at the hospital, and then with another regiment, you have a correlation between the last, when we have the last names, they're often the same
 
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 That's right.
 
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 That's right.
 
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 Isn't that exciting?
 
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 We don't find that at all at Valley Forge, how I certainly wish that we did.
 
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 But we do find with one of the regiments in the second, I can't remember the right one.
 
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 But Clinton's Brigade was, yeah.
 
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 Sorry?
 
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 Clinton's Brigade.
 
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 Clinton's Brigade.
 
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 There we go.
 
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 When I looked at the names of the women and then went back and look at the list of men, they were there.
 
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 They were definitely correlated.
 
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 I mean, these were not.
 
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 in quotes, stray women.
 
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 These were women that were there and related to the soldiers that were there.
 
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 Yeah.
 
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 And then you have a Mrs. Milliner who comes along with her son, Alexander, who is a drummer.
 
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 And then Mary Geyer, who's her husband has enlisted, as well as their 11-year-old son has enlisted.
 
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 And the son is apparently a drummer.
 
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 And so she is there not only with her husband, but with their son.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
 
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 We do have a few of the names of the women.
 
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 Most of them we do not.
 
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 I would like to suggest that Molly Pitcher, the famous Molly Pitcher, who's actually Mary Hayes, was at Valley Forge also because her husband, I think, was there.
 
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 And she went to Monmouth afterwards.
 
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 And so I believe that she was at Valley Forge.
 
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 But we all know that Molly Pitcher is not just one person.
 
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 Molly Pitcher is a very generic word for any of the camp women, because when the battle was fought, the women carried the water around for the men and to cool down the cannons.
 
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 Right.
 
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 We're talking with Nancy Lone, author of Following the Drum, Women at the Valley Forge Encampment, which has a lot about women throughout the Revolutionary War.
 
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 And the British Army allows a certain number of women followers.
 
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 And Washington had a troubled relationship with them.
 
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 It seems like there's a series of orders.
 
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 The women aren't supposed to ride in the wagons.
 
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 That's right.
 
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 That's right.
 
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 The women are not supposed to be riding the wagons.
 
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 The women are not to be shown with the army as it marches through Philadelphia, for example.
 
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 He wanted really nothing to do with the women.
 
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 But what he...
 
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 realized that he needed the women because the soldiers were not going to stay at the army if their women were not taken care of.
 
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 At one point, he finally decided towards the end
 
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 of the Revolutionary War that he had to allow a certain number of rations for the soldiers.
 
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 And so initially he said, for the women, I mean, initially he said for every 18 soldiers, there would be one ration allowed for a woman.
 
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 Well, this was nonsense because sometimes that had nothing to do with how many women were there.
 
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 And eventually he just changed the whole thing and made it better.
 
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 But it took him
 
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 a long, long time to appreciate the women.
 
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 He needed them, but he did not want them.
 
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 Right.
 
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 And the women perform vital roles as laundresses, cooks, nurses, seamstresses.
 
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 And there's constant comment on the men being dirty, their uniforms dirty, but they want them clean.
 
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 And so this is- So what are you going to do?
 
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 That's right.
 
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 The men were not going to do this themselves.
 
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 Then Washington-
 
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 Plus, he didn't want them to do that himself.
 
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 He wanted them to be training, for example, at Valley Forge.
 
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 That was one of the big things that happened at Valley Forge, to have been training the soldiers.
 
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 He wanted them to be part of the army.
 
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 He could not allow them the time to do all these other things, so he needed them.
 
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 But again, Washington as an 18th century gentleman has really, the lower sword.
 
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 Yeah, it doesn't mean too much.
 
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 That is, I mean, that along with the myth then of Martha, it's really such an interesting thing because you have these contemporary descriptions of the women, the men who are not of the lower sort, even some who are like Alexander Plum Martin about the depravity, the variety of languages they're speaking and so on.
 
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 But then you also have a character like Molly Pitcher who becomes this mythic heroine.
 
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 Mm-hmm.
 
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 Mm-hmm.
 
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 Or Captain Molly, whose statue is at West Point, the Captain Molly, that you have this ability.
 
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 Is that something that happens after the fact, the mythification of Molly Pitcher or Captain Molly?
 
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 Or is this something being recognized at the time?
 
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 No, it was not recognized at the time, but it was recognized after.
 
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 And sometimes it's because of a very enthusiastic relative.
 
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 A very enthusiastic relative who said, I have somebody, and that's what happened with Molly Pitcher, for example.
 
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 Very enthusiastic relative who got that whole thing going.
 
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 So, yeah.
 
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 That's, I think, what happens with a lot of this.
 
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 History is remembered by someone who becomes very enthusiastic about the story.
 
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 And often it is because this was my grandmother or this was my grandfather who did this.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 I think that can be very true.
 
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 Right.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 And of course, I have to say, too, that we're talking about, I think, three different levels of classes and way of women Valley Forge.
 
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 We're talking about hundreds of camp women that come with Washington's army.
 
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 And don't forget that one of the officers, and this is amazing, writes that on the 19th of December, when the army marched into Valley Forge,
 
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 on this day a woman was killed the wagon overturned and she was killed now this is amazing because this is only a camp woman a camp follower why would an officer write about that so there must have been some connection there perhaps she with her her i have no idea what's going on there we don't know her name but we do know that she was very likely a woman was very likely
 
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 One of the first people who dies at Valley Forge, and she's dying before the army even marches in.
 
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 On this day, a woman was killed.
 
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 So we have hundreds, at least 400 women that are with the army.
 
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 They're nursing, they're cooking, they're selling.
 
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 We also have women that come with General Washington.
 
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 He travels with an entourage of women
 
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 He travels with his own washerwoman.
 
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 because he obviously needs his clothes washed.
 
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 Martha's not going to do that.
 
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 He needs his clothes washed, so he travels with his own washerwoman.
 
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 He also travels with his own cooks, Isaac Till and Hannah Till.
 
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 They are a couple.
 
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 They're not married because slaves cannot be married.
 
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 They are attached, but they are at Valley Forge.
 
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 Hannah also works for General Lafayette during the Revolutionary War too.
 
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 And there's a question as to whether or not she was enslaved or not enslaved during the Valley Forging camp.
 
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 And there's a big question about that.
 
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 I personally think she was, but there's some other issues going on.
 
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 So we have Hannah, who's traveling as a cook.
 
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 We have Washer traveling with his own washer woman, who happened to be attached to William Lee, who's Washington's slave who comes at Valley Forge.
 
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 And then we have Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson,
 
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 And she is described as a worthy Irish woman.
 
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 She's 74 years old when she comes to Valley Forge.
 
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 She's with the Army for five years.
 
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 She signs on at the age of 72.
 
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 She resigns at 77 because age has made it necessary for do so, as she says.
 
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 And at Valley Forge, she is in charge of housekeeping to make sure that things go right.
 
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 And it's an interesting story about her, because later on, after she resigns, which, as I said, she resigned at the age of 77, she or someone writes to Washington saying that she is destitute and has no money and is in poor health.
 
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 And Washington responds by sending her some money.
 
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 And a few years later, she writes to Congress.
 
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 Congress responds the very next day, which is amazing, right, for Congress, by giving her 100 pounds a year.
 
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 And then Washington, I love this part, then Washington writes to her and invites her to spend her final days at Mount Vernon.
 
 19:41.093 --> 19:45.296
 This is his former housekeeper who he has not seen for many years.
 
 19:45.896 --> 19:55.463
 But I think this shows a great deal about the quality of General George Washington and inviting her to spend her final years at Mount Vernon with the family.
 
 19:56.178 --> 20:02.033
 So this is the people that travel with Washington and his entourage as he moves from place to place.
 
 20:02.414 --> 20:05.762
 And then we have the ladies that come to camp such as Martha Washington.
 
 20:06.618 --> 20:06.798
 Right.
 
 20:07.239 --> 20:12.463
 So can we talk a little bit more then about Catherine Green, Lucy Knox, and the other ladies of the camp?
 
 20:13.163 --> 20:13.324
 Sure.
 
 20:13.344 --> 20:18.588
 We're talking with Nancy Lone, who is the author of Following the Drum, Women at the Valley Forge Encampment.
 
 20:19.208 --> 20:19.349
 Right.
 
 20:19.389 --> 20:21.310
 It does, as you say, have different levels.
 
 20:21.350 --> 20:25.333
 There are the camp followers, the women, and then we also have the ladies.
 
 20:25.474 --> 20:26.755
 That's right.
 
 20:27.876 --> 20:30.438
 So I mentioned Martha Washington.
 
 20:30.538 --> 20:33.180
 She comes in February the 5th to Valley Forge.
 
 20:34.710 --> 20:38.514
 Lucy Knox comes to Valley Forge the end of May.
 
 20:39.094 --> 20:41.417
 She is the wife of General Henry Knox.
 
 20:45.641 --> 20:46.662
 I love Lucy Knox.
 
 20:47.042 --> 20:52.025
 She's a woman who's very independent, a very bright person, a very chatty person.
 
 20:52.585 --> 21:01.350
 And somebody writes, she and everyone else thinks there cannot be any social occasion unless she is present.
 
 21:01.651 --> 21:03.212
 So she kind of considers herself.
 
 21:03.392 --> 21:03.652
 Right.
 
 21:08.015 --> 21:10.117
 who's also named Lucy, to Valley Forge.
 
 21:10.417 --> 21:14.361
 And this is the youngest person I know for sure, for sure at Valley Forge.
 
 21:14.722 --> 21:18.506
 But you have to know that there were children that were born at Valley Forge.
 
 21:19.166 --> 21:21.048
 And that other young children were there.
 
 21:21.609 --> 21:28.256
 They live in the hut that is near the artillery park at Valley Forge.
 
 21:29.714 --> 21:37.802
 And after Valley Forge is over, the Knox family goes to Philadelphia because this is where Lucy wants to live.
 
 21:38.182 --> 21:41.425
 Philadelphia was a very prestigious place, unfortunately.
 
 21:41.726 --> 21:42.967
 The British have been there.
 
 21:43.387 --> 21:47.711
 And Henry Knox said the place smelled so bad they could not stay there.
 
 21:48.212 --> 21:50.214
 So Lucy did not want to go there.
 
 21:50.834 --> 21:52.635
 So Lucy Knox was at Valley Forge.
 
 21:52.655 --> 22:01.117
 She was brought to Valley Forge by Benedict Arnold, by the way, who also supplied the horses for her to travel to Valley Forge.
 
 22:01.457 --> 22:02.938
 Supplying the horses is a big deal.
 
 22:03.538 --> 22:09.760
 And at Valley Forge, just as an aside, Benedict Arnold signs his oath of allegiance.
 
 22:10.380 --> 22:10.500
 Right.
 
 22:11.161 --> 22:14.282
 right at Valley Forge, but we all know what that eventually was.
 
 22:14.302 --> 22:15.282
 Well, it didn't last, yeah.
 
 22:15.842 --> 22:16.663
 How big were the huts?
 
 22:16.723 --> 22:21.384
 How big were the huts, Nancy, that these families are living in?
 
 22:21.764 --> 22:23.445
 Are the soldiers also living in huts?
 
 22:23.525 --> 22:23.985
 Can you tell us?
 
 22:24.045 --> 22:25.986
 They are, yeah.
 
 22:26.186 --> 22:28.486
 Yeah, they're 14 by 16.
 
 22:28.546 --> 22:33.548
 They have pitched slanted roofs, 12 soldiers in each
 
 22:35.022 --> 22:39.246
 We have no idea, by the way, where the women slept in the sleeping arrangements for that.
 
 22:39.827 --> 22:41.408
 Officers had their own hut.
 
 22:42.209 --> 22:44.631
 There were also hospital huts that were there.
 
 22:45.232 --> 22:51.678
 There was a general hospital built that was outside of Valley Forge, the first military hospital.
 
 22:52.219 --> 22:52.399
 Yes.
 
 22:52.439 --> 22:52.519
 Yes.
 
 22:55.543 --> 22:59.024
 You have that extraordinary story about the reason they're building a hospital.
 
 22:59.044 --> 23:00.024
 They're sending the sick.
 
 23:00.084 --> 23:03.245
 They send the sick to Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
 
 23:03.265 --> 23:04.886
 And can you tell us about what happens?
 
 23:05.526 --> 23:06.627
 Yes.
 
 23:07.907 --> 23:09.167
 It's pronounced Ephrata.
 
 23:09.187 --> 23:12.368
 It's not too far from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
 
 23:13.249 --> 23:17.310
 The wagon master was told to bring the sick to Ephrata, and he did.
 
 23:17.890 --> 23:19.851
 And that's what he was told, bring the sick.
 
 23:19.911 --> 23:23.572
 So we dumped them off there, and he went away, and they're the sick.
 
 23:24.449 --> 23:28.492
 And they had no recourse but to go into the homes and ask for help.
 
 23:29.192 --> 23:29.392
 Wow.
 
 23:29.572 --> 23:34.636
 And unfortunately, they were often carrying disease or needed a lot of attention.
 
 23:34.716 --> 23:36.077
 And so it was up for the...
 
 23:36.573 --> 23:38.274
 the town to take care of them.
 
 23:38.415 --> 23:40.516
 And that was the way it happened.
 
 23:40.576 --> 23:42.598
 What were you going to do with a sick?
 
 23:43.098 --> 23:49.123
 Many, many places had to be converted into hospitals.
 
 23:49.223 --> 23:54.347
 And then during the winter, Washington has the army inoculated for smallpox.
 
 23:55.088 --> 23:57.610
 Yes, this is a very forward thinking thing.
 
 23:58.231 --> 24:00.734
 I'm very proud of General Washington for doing this.
 
 24:01.235 --> 24:04.338
 Smallpox was a very feared disease.
 
 24:04.418 --> 24:13.208
 Washington himself feared that a woman, he always knew it was going to be a woman, a woman was going to bring smallpox into his army and totally wipe out his army.
 
 24:14.069 --> 24:15.250
 So what he did
 
 24:16.010 --> 24:21.553
 was because there was a time of rest after you got inoculated shot.
 
 24:21.593 --> 24:24.855
 You had to have a special menu, at least they felt they did.
 
 24:25.495 --> 24:32.179
 During the Valley Forge encampment, he had over 3,000 people inoculated against smallpox.
 
 24:32.799 --> 24:38.422
 Initially, he wanted them all inoculated before they even came to Valley Forge, all the soldiers.
 
 24:38.782 --> 24:39.963
 But that turned out to be
 
 24:41.604 --> 24:47.367
 because it took a long time for them to recover and he needed the soldiers at camp and he was trying to train them.
 
 24:47.828 --> 24:53.591
 And so then he decided to just have them come to Valley Forge and have them inoculated there.
 
 24:54.212 --> 24:59.975
 Of the 3,000, one of the surgeons said only 20 of them died.
 
 25:00.956 --> 25:03.178
 This is a tremendous percentage, right?
 
 25:03.198 --> 25:03.938
 That is, yeah.
 
 25:04.298 --> 25:09.522
 So if you're inoculated against smallpox, you get the smallpox, but you get it lightly.
 
 25:09.902 --> 25:10.082
 Right.
 
 25:11.455 --> 25:14.136
 and only 20 of the 3,000 died.
 
 25:14.196 --> 25:18.357
 That's remarkable.
 
 25:18.437 --> 25:34.481
 For my second book, I have a wonderful, wonderful letter written by one of the, I think he's a captain, to a woman, a widow, now she's a widow, back in Connecticut, and expresses his condolences.
 
 25:35.741 --> 25:37.142
 The soldier has died.
 
 25:37.162 --> 25:38.722
 He had a decent burial.
 
 25:40.193 --> 25:45.136
 And at the very end he said, the soldier, I forget his name at this moment, died of smallpox.
 
 25:45.816 --> 25:47.357
 It's a very unusual letter.
 
 25:47.377 --> 25:50.179
 You don't see letters of condolence like that.
 
 25:50.619 --> 25:54.521
 But that's how the widow, by the way, found out that her husband had died.
 
 25:54.921 --> 25:57.443
 She gets a letter from him.
 
 25:58.083 --> 25:58.703
 Weeks later.
 
 25:59.644 --> 26:03.766
 Yeah.
 
 26:03.806 --> 26:09.129
 We're talking with Nancy Lone, author of Following the Drum, the Women of the Valley Forge Encampment, and
 
 26:10.393 --> 26:22.379
 Nancy's also a founding member of the American Revolution Roundtable of Philadelphia and an honorary lifetime member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge, which is a great achievement.
 
 26:22.399 --> 26:29.183
 Because you spent so many years telling the story and you have some great questions people would ask you about Valley Forge.
 
 26:29.223 --> 26:33.285
 What are some of the favorite things that you found out about Valley Forge during your long time?
 
 26:33.965 --> 26:34.666
 Oh my gosh.
 
 26:34.906 --> 26:39.148
 One question that everybody asks is, is this where Washington crossed the river?
 
 26:40.575 --> 26:42.937
 because people know about the Delaware River.
 
 26:43.557 --> 26:43.777
 Yes.
 
 26:44.257 --> 26:50.120
 But the Delaware River is not located by Valley Forge.
 
 26:50.160 --> 26:52.302
 We have the Schuylkill River that runs through it.
 
 26:52.702 --> 26:59.405
 So Washington, of course, crossed a river, which was the Schuylkill River, a lot, but it's not the river.
 
 26:59.565 --> 27:05.748
 The crossing of the Delaware is the year before the Valley Forge.
 
 27:06.529 --> 27:06.709
 Yes.
 
 27:07.386 --> 27:10.268
 Why did they choose Valley Forge for this winter encampment?
 
 27:10.869 --> 27:12.410
 It was a very difficult decision.
 
 27:12.470 --> 27:20.297
 Washington spent an enormous amount of time and attention trying to decide where the army was going to go after the Philadelphia campaign.
 
 27:20.757 --> 27:24.240
 He consulted with his officers many times.
 
 27:24.520 --> 27:30.245
 For a while, it was going to be in the Redding-Lancaster area, and they were just going to be going into homes.
 
 27:32.537 --> 27:36.418
 For a while, it was going to be in Delaware, but that was too close to the British.
 
 27:36.478 --> 27:38.039
 The British were in Philadelphia.
 
 27:39.239 --> 27:44.561
 Finally, someone suggested the Great Valley, and Valley Forge is in the Great Valley.
 
 27:45.001 --> 27:47.962
 The problem with that is they would have to build their own huts.
 
 27:48.562 --> 27:52.383
 And this is the first time, Valley Forge is the first time this was done.
 
 27:53.544 --> 27:56.464
 Other armies had never built their own hutting.
 
 27:56.544 --> 27:58.045
 They've always gone into homes.
 
 27:58.893 --> 28:00.935
 They have not built their own huts.
 
 28:01.676 --> 28:06.740
 So this was an extraordinary decision and an extraordinary achievement.
 
 28:07.401 --> 28:15.267
 Just think that not only the army marches in on December the 19th, but they march into a place where they realize has absolutely nothing to provide for them.
 
 28:15.808 --> 28:17.750
 Except, of course, it did have some roads.
 
 28:18.170 --> 28:19.211
 It did have water.
 
 28:19.631 --> 28:25.355
 It was high, so they could easily see the British coming 19 miles away from Philadelphia.
 
 28:25.415 --> 28:28.657
 But there was no place to live, and they had to build their own huts.
 
 28:28.677 --> 28:33.580
 So where did they get the lumber and the other supplies to build it?
 
 28:34.281 --> 28:36.242
 Yes, lots of wood all the way around.
 
 28:36.482 --> 28:39.444
 And for miles around, this is what they would do.
 
 28:39.784 --> 28:40.525
 Oh, you have a tree.
 
 28:40.625 --> 28:41.045
 How nice.
 
 28:41.165 --> 28:41.846
 Chop, chop, chop.
 
 28:43.867 --> 28:46.329
 Was there a forge at some point in the valley?
 
 28:46.409 --> 28:46.609
 Yes.
 
 28:47.029 --> 28:49.130
 Yes, there definitely was a Valley Forge.
 
 28:49.190 --> 28:55.112
 Unfortunately, the British burned it down in September of 1777.
 
 28:55.312 --> 29:05.876
 But yes, there definitely was a Valley Forge called the Forge in the Valley, the Valley Forge or the Mount Joy Forge, although it was actually located on Mount Missouri.
 
 29:08.078 --> 29:08.598
 Interesting.
 
 29:09.219 --> 29:22.126
 So this, you know, notwithstanding that people think this is where he crossed the Delaware, it is a national historical park, and it does have a tremendous impact on the way we think of the revolution and on the army.
 
 29:22.226 --> 29:25.908
 The army that emerges is different from the one that had gone into the camp.
 
 29:25.948 --> 29:26.348
 That's correct.
 
 29:26.408 --> 29:27.389
 Why do you suppose this is?
 
 29:27.469 --> 29:37.234
 Why do you suppose it has such a great impact on the way we think of or on the outcome of the revolution, not just the way we think of it, but the war itself?
 
 29:38.134 --> 29:41.680
 Valley Forge is the most crucial of the eight winter encampments.
 
 29:42.642 --> 29:44.044
 And that's because of Steuben.
 
 29:44.765 --> 29:47.650
 Steuben trains the army at Valley Forge.
 
 29:49.172 --> 29:51.797
 The birthplace of the American army is Valley Forge.
 
 29:52.847 --> 29:53.748
 He comes over.
 
 29:53.768 --> 29:56.750
 He, of course, is unknown to Washington.
 
 29:56.810 --> 29:58.211
 Then he's introduced to him.
 
 29:58.231 --> 30:03.815
 He has credentials that are seemingly impeccable, but really not when you really look at them.
 
 30:04.295 --> 30:09.719
 But what he could do was relate to the soldiers in a way no one had looked at them before.
 
 30:10.299 --> 30:10.800
 Think of it.
 
 30:10.920 --> 30:14.882
 We're already three years into the war and this army has not really been trained.
 
 30:15.303 --> 30:15.523
 Right.
 
 30:16.502 --> 30:18.003
 Now, suddenly, Steuben comes.
 
 30:18.043 --> 30:19.644
 He says, this is what happens.
 
 30:19.704 --> 30:23.807
 When the fife sounds this way, everybody moves to the right.
 
 30:23.827 --> 30:29.270
 When the fife sounds this way, the drum gets this, we all move this way.
 
 30:29.550 --> 30:33.853
 And suddenly, the men are learning how to work together as an army.
 
 30:34.614 --> 30:39.937
 Not only are the men astounded as what they can do, but Washington is astounded.
 
 30:41.889 --> 30:43.670
 He totally transforms what happened.
 
 30:43.730 --> 30:47.873
 I think this is a crucial part of what happens at Valley Forge.
 
 30:48.834 --> 30:57.139
 And this was a very, very difficult winter, not because of the weather, not because of terrible ice and snow, but because they had a lot of mud.
 
 30:58.781 --> 31:01.823
 And so it was very difficult to get the wagons through.
 
 31:01.963 --> 31:05.065
 And supplies were terrible, no doubt about it.
 
 31:05.625 --> 31:09.468
 This was a very, very difficult winter, but not because of the ice and snow.
 
 31:10.257 --> 31:15.801
 Yet the army stayed together, and the army that left Valley Forge was a different army that moved into Valley Forge.
 
 31:17.342 --> 31:18.063
 Very interesting.
 
 31:18.724 --> 31:28.371
 And Charles Wilson Peale is there doing these portraits of the officers, which is another astonishing thing to think about.
 
 31:29.432 --> 31:30.412
 Thank you.
 
 31:30.472 --> 31:35.016
 So the faces we see in Peale's museum are the faces he would have painted at Valley Forge.
 
 31:35.748 --> 31:38.089
 Yes, I don't know how many of those survive.
 
 31:38.189 --> 31:41.111
 I have not really delved into that too much.
 
 31:41.591 --> 31:43.772
 I cannot think that these are huge portraits.
 
 31:43.872 --> 31:45.133
 I think they are small.
 
 31:46.453 --> 31:46.774
 Yes.
 
 31:47.374 --> 31:50.696
 But he charges $56 for them, so it had to be something.
 
 31:50.716 --> 31:57.219
 I mean, having a Charles Wilson Peale painting for $56 today, it would seem like a bargain today.
 
 31:57.819 --> 31:58.359
 You're right.
 
 31:59.860 --> 32:00.621
 It certainly would.
 
 32:02.865 --> 32:08.490
 We've been talking with Nancy Lone, who is author of Following the Drum, and now you're working on a book about the encampment itself.
 
 32:09.030 --> 32:09.170
 I am.
 
 32:12.292 --> 32:18.457
 Actually, before we close, I'd like to talk a little bit about Sarah Osborne Benjamin, who's another great story.
 
 32:22.806 --> 32:25.127
 She wasn't at Valley Forge, though, was she?
 
 32:25.807 --> 32:26.888
 No, no, no.
 
 32:27.208 --> 32:28.069
 She was not.
 
 32:28.709 --> 32:30.150
 But she was down at Yorktown.
 
 32:31.031 --> 32:34.333
 And so she tells a totally different picture.
 
 32:34.773 --> 32:40.997
 Well, a first-hand picture of what's happening down at Yorktown and what she's doing.
 
 32:41.057 --> 32:48.021
 And she talks about the black ribbons on the British soldiers and how unhappy they were and all those things.
 
 32:48.202 --> 32:49.262
 And then she talks about...
 
 32:50.794 --> 33:14.404
 moving on and living in a log hut with her husband up in new york and how he leaves her deserts her and then he marries someone else and then she marries him so it's a whole quite a story it is yeah they never really divorced but they just he that's correct the second wife she said died with uh you know alcohol coming out of her mouth i mean she's yeah um
 
 33:16.214 --> 33:20.737
 Certainly wouldn't feel kindly about the second wife, but she's certainly not sugarcoating the things.
 
 33:21.217 --> 33:22.218
 No, no.
 
 33:23.859 --> 33:31.165
 But then she may have encountered Washington at Valley Forge when she's carrying coffee, beef, bread to the soldiers.
 
 33:31.485 --> 33:33.266
 At Yorktown, not at Valley Forge.
 
 33:33.306 --> 33:34.527
 I'm sorry, at Yorktown.
 
 33:34.768 --> 33:37.870
 Yeah, so she may have done that.
 
 33:38.350 --> 33:39.911
 And he says, what are you doing?
 
 33:39.971 --> 33:44.675
 And she said, it is not right for the soldiers, something like to be shot and to be hungry too.
 
 33:46.983 --> 33:49.184
 Something like that is what the encounter is.
 
 33:49.444 --> 33:50.065
 Who knows?
 
 33:50.545 --> 33:50.965
 Who knows?
 
 33:52.766 --> 33:58.790
 And then Washington also visited Valley Forge again in his last months in the presidency.
 
 33:59.310 --> 33:59.950
 Yes, he did.
 
 34:00.211 --> 34:07.795
 And he was apparently very concerned about the land and wanted to make sure that the farmers were getting back to their
 
 34:08.511 --> 34:13.514
 their jobs and that the soil was all right and they were able to make it productive land again.
 
 34:13.714 --> 34:14.775
 Because he's a farmer.
 
 34:15.135 --> 34:16.276
 She's a farmer.
 
 34:16.316 --> 34:17.417
 He loves farming.
 
 34:17.717 --> 34:18.357
 Yes, he does.
 
 34:19.238 --> 34:23.580
 So what happens to Valley Forge after the army leaves in the spring of 1778?
 
 34:27.049 --> 34:36.153
 What happens is that all the farmers who live on the land where the soldiers are rejoiced, they say, hallelujah, the army is gone.
 
 34:36.173 --> 34:44.316
 And they very quickly tear down those log huts and build their fences up again and get the soil going as quickly as they can.
 
 34:44.416 --> 34:50.698
 And it's said that, well, in about two years later, things were pretty, pretty much back to normal.
 
 34:51.058 --> 34:53.099
 But you can imagine no matter how
 
 34:54.150 --> 35:02.453
 supportive you are of the cause, if the army is in your backyard on your property and that's your livelihood.
 
 35:02.814 --> 35:03.054
 Right.
 
 35:03.594 --> 35:04.734
 Yeah.
 
 35:04.874 --> 35:06.095
 It's very, very difficult.
 
 35:06.215 --> 35:06.335
 Yeah.
 
 35:07.696 --> 35:14.458
 And for miles around, the soldiers would knock on the door and say, we need your horse.
 
 35:14.699 --> 35:15.579
 We need your cattle.
 
 35:15.719 --> 35:16.599
 We need your grain.
 
 35:18.100 --> 35:18.180
 Yeah.
 
 35:19.164 --> 35:45.170
 yeah very tough to be here did any apply for damages for oh yes many many did were they awarded who knows but many many people apply both for what happened when the british army was there because the british army was a valley forage before we were and um the american army i don't know what they ordered but you certainly can find records yeah it's amazing well
 
 35:45.543 --> 35:47.584
 Thank you so much, Nancy, for sharing with us.
 
 35:47.604 --> 35:49.585
 It makes me want to visit Belly Forge.
 
 35:49.706 --> 35:50.206
 Good.
 
 35:52.747 --> 35:55.409
 If you do come, let me know and I'll give you a special tour.
 
 35:55.970 --> 35:56.710
 I certainly will.
 
 35:56.810 --> 35:57.210
 Thank you.
 
 35:57.771 --> 36:03.153
 And I want to thank Nancy Loan, who is the author of Following the Drum, Women of the Valley Forge Encampment.
 
 36:03.193 --> 36:06.874
 Thank you for writing this terrific book and for sharing with us.
 
 36:07.254 --> 36:11.876
 And I want to thank Jonathan Lane, our producer, and our many friends.
 
 36:11.896 --> 36:15.597
 You know, Nancy, we have folks all around, actually all around the world who listen in.
 
 36:15.937 --> 36:18.718
 And so we're happy to be able to share these stories with them.
 
 36:18.758 --> 36:20.119
 And every week, I thank some of our
 
 36:20.839 --> 36:28.304
 Listeners, and if you're in one of these places, send Jonathan Lane an email, jlane at revolution250.org, and he'll send you one of our Revolution 250
 
 36:29.690 --> 36:36.395
 lapel pins or refrigerator magnets as we think about ways to commemorate what happened during the revolutionary era.
 
 36:36.495 --> 36:52.466
 And so now this week, if you're in, I want to thank our friends in Parkton, Maryland, Acton, Massachusetts, and also in Massachusetts, Lexington, New Bedford, and Quincy, Escanaba, Michigan, Hamilton, New Jersey, Long Beach, California, and all places between and beyond.
 
 36:52.526 --> 36:53.427
 Thanks for joining us.
 
 36:53.467 --> 36:56.629
 And now we will be piped out on the road to Boston.