Separating truth from lore about what is perhaps the most important moment of American Independence, along with authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. A very different Valley Forge emerges than the one in the textbooks:
- The continental army was an integrated army of lower middle-class soldiers, or the “second sons” of wealthier families, along with immigrants and Indians suffering tragic conditions, avoidable deaths and disease.
- As Clavin and Drury indicate, politics, not snow, bore the blame for the conditions for the suffering at Valley Forge.
- The nation as a whole did not do right by its first Army. It was set up in an impossible condition, underfed, not well supplied and forgotten about. Medical attention was sparse, and infected soldiers suffered a bad fate. Corruption and price gouging also dealt a blow.
- Only Washington’s leadership and the arrival of a foreign drillmaster saves the United States.
- For all the problems, Valley Forge leads to an American near-victory and psychological boost that changes British strategy.
Music by Lee Rosevere and Chris Novembrino.