A good video on the type of rations for troops at Valley Forge. The major problem for Washington during the Revolution was not the British; his chief dilemma was keeping his army from dissolving from lack of food and clothes. The American economy was in near collapse throughout the Revolution, due to the disruptions caused by military operations, the British blockade of the ports held by the Americans, the seizure of major ports by the British, rampant inflation caused by the currency issued by Congress, the infamous Continental, lacking any security other than a promise of payment in gold if the Americans miraculously won their struggle, and this had a major impact on the ability of Congress to keep the troops supplied. It must also be stated that Congress, the states and much of the American people were often shamefully neglectful of the troops struggling against the odds to win their lop-sided conflict against the mightiest empire in the world.
At Valley Forge Washington wrote, “that unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place … this Army must inevitably … Starve, dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can.” Some 2000 of Washington’s 12000 troops would die before the winter encampment ended, dying from disease, little food and inadequate clothing. Instead of dissolving however, the troops trained, being taught how to manuever on the battlefield through the drill drummed into them by General Von Steuben who joined the army during the winter. By the time the army took the field and fought the British at Monmouth, the ragged Continentals were able to stand toe to toe against the best regiments in the British army.
Too many of us today fail to recognize how much we owe to those Continental soldiers, many of them teenagers, who refused to allow starvation rations, being paid in worthless money, garbed in rags and the rank ingratitude of too many of their countrymen, to deter them from winning a war against very long odds, and bestowing upon us our liberty. They overcame hardships most of us could barely imagine, let alone endure, and they deserve every scintilla of honor and respect we can bestow upon them.