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9781597973854

Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781597973854

  • ISBN10:

    1597973858

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-04-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr

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Summary

Friday, December 19, 1777, dawned cold and windy. Fourteen thousand Continental Army soldiers tramped from dawn to dusk along the rutted Pennsylvania roads from Gulph Mills to Valley Forge, the site of their winter encampment. After the soldiers came the army's wagons, then hundreds of camp women. Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampmenttells the story of the forgotten women who spent the winter of 1777'78 with the Continental Army at Valley Forge. While the camp women of Washington's army were poor, dirty creatures who clung to the very edge of survival, many worked as the army's washerwomen, nurses, cooks, or seamstresses. Other women at camp were of higher status: they traveled with Washington's entourage when the army headquarters shifted from place to place and served the general as valued cooks, laundresses, or housekeepers. There were also ladies at camp, part of the 'œnumerous and splendid' audience who enjoyed the camp theater and had their portraits painted by Charles Willson Peale. No evidence suggests that Martha Washington visited informally among the troops at any camp, including Valley Forge. In Following the Drum, readers will learn of the 1777'78 encampment's devastating effect on the area's farm families, meet the women and ladies who accompanied and aided the soldiers, and discover a Valley Forge that many never knew existed.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Setting the Stage: The War, Army, and Communityp. 1
Martha Washington at Valley Forge: "The Worthy Partner of the Worthiest of Men"p. 11
Martha Washington at the Other Encampments: A Resolute and Loyal Ladyp. 25
Catharine Greene and Lucy Knox: The Ladies Come to Valley Forgep. 55
Rebekah Biddle, Lady Stirling, and Alice Shippen at Valley Forge: "I Should Not Be Sorry to See You Here"p. 91
The Women with Washington's "Family": Slaves, Servants, and Spiesp. 105
Camp Women at Valley Forge: "A Caravan of Wild Beasts"p. 113
Camp Women with the Continental Army: Cannonballs and Cooking Kettlesp. 129
The General Returns to Valley Forge: A Distinguished Officer's Musingsp. 145
Making the Myth of Martha Washington: Nineteenth-Century Fantasy vs. Eighteenth-Century Realityp. 149
Notesp. 165
Bibliographyp. 193
Indexp. 201
About the Authorp. 205
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