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Soldiers Stories: Letters from the Valley Forge Encampment

What did the soldiers write about at Valley Forge?  Would you be surprised by a letter stating the huts were comfortable, or another that said that they have Milk and Sugar in plenty?  Soldiers shared their views through letters they wrote at this encampment and it shows Come and join us on Monday, May 8th as noted author and researcher Dr. Nancy K. Loane shares Soldiers Stories: Letters from the Valley Forge Encampment.


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The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

Letters written by the soldiers tell the story of Valley Forge like this one from Johann de Kalb to Comte de Broglie, Valley Forge, Christmas Day 1777 which says …it is very certain that half the army is almost naked, in a great measure bare-footed.” The army trudged into winter quarters at the “Forge in the Valley” less than a week before Christmas. The situation was grim: On 23 December Washington reported to Congress that his soldiers had to “…occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and Snow without Cloaths or Blankets…” The Continental Army struggled to get adequate clothing, shoes, blankets, food and supplies to the soldiers for the entire encampment period. Although the Connecticut troops were well supplied, the other states did not or could not send sufficient clothing for their men. Furthermore, the supply roads were treacherous, horses and wagons scarce, wagon drivers few. Clothing supplies were lost or stolen in transit. With inadequate clothing and shoes, the soldiers were unable to leave their huts to stand guard duty, go on foraging duty, or drill under Steuben. The clothing crisis ebbed in the spring with warmer weather, better roads, and a new quartermaster. But the “great deficiency of Blankets” continued through May.

 Dr. Nancy K. Loane, a former seasonal park ranger at Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a recognized authority on the women at the 1777-78 Valley Forge encampment. She is the author of several articles about the women at camp as well as the critically acclaimed book, Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment (Potomac Books, 2009). Described as “truly one of the great books on the Valley Forge encampment,” “not to be missed,” and “thoroughly researched and a compelling read,” Following the Drum received the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia’s “Best Book of the Year Award.”

An outstanding speaker, Nancy has presented more than 150 talks in eight states (including at the Library of Congress) on the women at the Valley Forge encampment, Martha Washington, and the Valley Forge encampment itself. Her fascinating, fun, fact-filled talks—all thoroughly grounded in primary research— bring history to life.

nancy k loane
Dr. Nancy K. Loane

Nancy Loane, who has participated in four archaeological digs at Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a board member of The Friends of Valley Forge Park, an honorary life-time member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, and a founding member of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia. A former Pennsylvania Commonwealth Speaker, she has appeared on several radio shows and on cable network shows, including C-Span and Pennsylvania Cable Network. Recently Nancy was featured on C-Span’s series on the first ladies, where she discussed Martha Washington’s role at Valley Forge.  Dr. Loane’s website is

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