rebellion, deprived environment. A Prussian volunteer named Baron Von Steuben was shocked at
the lack of American discipline and he began to help Washington train the army Prussian style.
The troops improved as well as the weather that winter with more food and wives staying in
Valley Forge during the cold season. Washington ruined any ideas of him not having leadership
abilities and 1778 brought better fortune to the American cause. Washington froze at Valley
Forge while Benjamin Franklin was busy securing the French alliance. The war would now be
different. Below is a letter written by George Washington to George Clinton during this time.
Head Quarters, Valley Forge, February 16, 1778
Dear Sir: It is with great reluctance, I trouble you on a subject, which does not fall within your province; but it is a
subject that occasions me more distress, than I have felt, since the commencement of the war; and which loudly
demands the most zealous exertions of every person of weight and authority, who is interested in the success of our
affairs. I mean the present dreadful situation of the army for want of provisions, and the miserable prospects before
us, with respect to futurity. It is more alarming than you will probably conceive, for, to form a just idea, it were
necessary to be on the spot. For some days past, there has been little less, than a famine in camp. A part of the army
has been a week, without any kind of flesh, and the rest for three or four days. Naked and starving as they are, we
cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been ere this excited by
their sufferings, to a general mutiny or dispersion. Strong symptoms, however, discontent have appeared in particular
instances; and nothing but the most acitive efforts every where can long avert so shocking a catastrophe.
Our present sufferings are not all. There is no foundation laid for any adequate relief hereafter. All the magazines
provided in the States of New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and all the immediate additional
supplies they seem capable of affording, wil not be sufficient to support the army more than a month longer, if so long.
Very little been done to the Eastward, and as little to the Southward; and whatever we have a right to expect from
those quarters, must necessarily be very remote; and is indeed more precarious, than could be wished. When the
forementioned supplies are exhausted, what a terrible crisis must ensue, unless all the energy of the Continent is
exerted to provide a timely remedy?
Impressed with this idea, I am, on my part, putting every engine to work, that I can possibly think of, to prevent the
fatal consequences, we have so great a reason to apprehend. I am calling upon all those, whose stations and influence
enable them to contribute their aid upons so important an occasion; and from your well known zeal, I expect every
thing within the compass of your power, and that the abilities and resources of the state over which you preside, will
admit. I am sensible of the disadvantages it labours under, from having been so long the scene of war, and that it must
be exceedingly drained by the great demands to which it has been subject. But, tho' you may not be able to contribute
materially to our relief, you can perhaps do something towards it; and any assistance, however trifling in itself, will be
of great moment at so critical a juncture, and will conduce to keeping the army together till the Commissary's
department can be put upon a better footing, and effectual measures concerted to secure a permanent and competent
supply. What methods you can take, you will be the best judge of; but, if you can devise any means to procure a
quantity of cattle, or other kind of flesh, for the use of this army, to be at camp in the course of a month, you will
render a most essential service to the common cause. I have the honor etc.
– George Washington, letter to George Clinton (Feb. 16, 1778)