To the Editor:
In December 1777, General George Washington marched the American Army, about 10,000 men, into Valley Forge, PA, for the winter.
Of the number, approximately 2,000 had no shoes…literally. Most were destitute of winter clothing and blankets; many nearly naked. All were starving and thirsty, even amidst much snow. It is written that the long columns of troops could be tracked by the blood left on the frozen ground. Twenty-five hundred men ultimately died of these deplorable conditions and disease. The irony of this is that Valley Forge was not a battlefield, but a winter encampment.
Into this death and misery walked a heroine on Feb. 10, 1778. In an age of aristocrate, Martha Custis Washington demonstrated what priorities were first in her Christian heart. Struck upon arrival by the immense suffering of the destitute soldiers, she immediately set about organizing a literal “rescue” of the American Army.
The documented gratitude of the ordinary infantry solder toward Lady Washington and the officers’ wives she organized into a veritable life saving army itself was enormous.
These women’s magnificent work at nursing, feeding, knitting socks and sweaters, patching garments and making shirts, all the while procuring the necessary supplies and materials, is truly one of the great untold stories of the American Revolution. It is not an overstatement to say they saved the American Army so it was able to emerge fit for combat the next spring.
Thank God for the American woman, then and now!
New Philadelphia, OH