Washington’s 2nd Winter Encampment at Morristown From November to June 1780

Washington’s and the Continental Army’s 2nd winter at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, New Jersey from November to June 23, 1780 was the coldest winter of the entire 18th century.  It was also one of the lowest points of the war for George Washington, with there occurring two separate incidents of soldiers mutinying because of starvation and the lack of pay.   By this time, the American colonies had been at war with Britain for six long years and the Continental Congress had exhausted all of its resources.  One account records 20 separate snow storms during that difficult winter.  Washington had always resisted resorting to the use of martial law to requisition supplies, but times were desperate.  Before taking such a drastic step, however, Washington went to the local public officials and explained the army’s predictment.  What resulted was a tremendous outpouring of support from the local population, including help in clearing the roads so that supplies could get through after a record snow storm.  Even still, Washington’s biggest challenge during the winter of 1779-80 was to somehow hold the army together despite the lack of support from Congress, the mutinying of soldiers, news of American defeats in the south as the British adopted a southern campaign as a new strategy in fighting the war.

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~ by americanpresidents on March 8, 2010.

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