Valley Forge

Stunning in the fall but deadly in the winter…

“We want, my dear sir, wine above all things, for our sick are now numerous, and our cases generally putrid….we also want sheets, shirts, candles, soap, writing as well as wrapping paper, pots, horn-spoons, and every other kind of hospital utensil.” James Fallon to Jonathan Potts, Yellow Springs, 27 April 1778. [11] The Yellow Springs Hospital, the first in the country to be built specially as a military hospital, was located about ten miles from the encampment. The hospital, which was under the direction of Dr. Samuel Kennedy, cared for hundreds of soldiers from Valley Forge. Supplies were sparse; hospital personnel ordered coffee, tea, chocolate, vinegar, kettles, salt, bed ticks, blankets —the list goes on and on —in addition to those items requested above. Gen. Washington visited Yellow Springs Hospital on 15 May 1778, speaking to every patient there, “which pleased the Sick exceedingly.”[12] About 2,000 soldiers died during that Valley Forge winter, most of them perishing, not at camp, but at Yellow Springs and other nearby (and other not-so-nearby) hospitals. Dr. Samuel Kennedy himself died in June, just before the army left Valley Forge.

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