The encampment at Valley Forge took place from December 19, 1777, through June 19, 1778, and served as winter quarters for George Washington's army. While at Valley Forge, the army endured a chronic supply crisis. Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben implemented a new training regimen which transformed the men in the ranks from inexperienced amateurs into disciplined soldiers capable of standing up against the British.
Problems Faced by the Soldiers #1
Washington's Headquarters, also known as the Isaac Potts House, is the structure used by General George Washington and his household during the 1777-1778 encampment of the Continental Army at Valley Forge. At the time of the encampment, the house was being rented by a relative of Isaac Potts, Deborah Hewes.
Problems Faced by the Soldiers #2
12 soldiers lived in each hut; 2 windows per hut. The huts were made of logs from the nearby forrests.
Training with Baron Fredrick von Steuben
With the arrival of warmer weather in March, disease began strike at the army. Over the next three months, influenza, typhus, typhoid, and dysentery all erupted within the encampment. Of the 2,000 men who died at Valley Forge, over two-thirds were killed by disease.
The conditions that the soldiers had to endure at Valley Forge were horrible. They had to deal with cold, wet, and snowy weather. They were often hungry, as food was scarce. Many of the soldiers didn't have warm clothing or even shoes as their shoes had worn out on the long march to the valley.
Though he spoke no English, von Steuben commenced his program in March with the aid of interpreters. Beginning with a "model company" of 100 chosen men, von Steuben instructed them in drill, maneuver, and a simplified manual of arms. These 100 men were in turn sent out to other units to repeat the process and so on until the entire army was trained. In addition, von Steuben introduced a system of progressive training for recruits which educated them in the basics of soldiering.