George Washington Watching Troops On March to Valley Forge
The last major battle between the Americans and the British during 1777 occurred at White Marsh west of Philadelphia. With winter coming on, George Washington had to find a winter encampment for his army. While several locations were considered, Washington eventually picked Valley Forge as being located on a plateau far enough from the British to avoid a surprise attack by the British while also being situated between the British and the rich farm country west of Valley Forge to prevent British foraging in such farm areas. The army under Washington marched into Valley Forge on December 11, 1777 in a cold howling wind. Washington immediately ordered the construction of over 1,000 huts to house the soldiers and the construction of several hospitals to nurse the sick and wounded. A critical problem that faced the American during their entire encampment, however, was a lack of food and other supplies. This was hampered by poor weather that left many of the roads muddy and impassable. Contrary to the impression of many, the winter at Valley Forge was not the coldest the American Army faced. Instead, while there were several snow storms, it was the frequent thawing because of milder weather that made the roads impassable from mud.