Day 3:    Valley Boys @ Valley Forge

Main Page > 2001 A Tail of Two Cities >

After waking up after two nights of hardy drinking, the boys were tired. They went out for breakfast at the Star Deli, on 57th and Broadway for a quick repaste. Being in a hurry to leave town before traffic became an issue (or before the local authorities knew), they headed up Broadway into Harlem to connect with the George Washington Bridge back into Jersey on to I-95 and headed towards Pennsylvania. With a few hours to burn before their flights home, they decided to tour Valley Forge National Park.


Forging through the Valley

No battle was fought at Valley Forge. Yet, it was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. It was here that the Continental army was desperately against the ropes bloody, beaten, battle-weary and ready to quit. Even General Washington conceded, "If the army does not get help soon, in all likelihood it will disband."

The question must be asked, "Why didn't they disband?"

We know what happened here. Early into the six-month encampment, there was hunger, disease, and despair. Raw weather stung and numbed the soldiers. Empty stomachs were common. Cries of "beef" echoed throughout the camp. The future promised only more desperation and starvation.

Some couldn't take the cold, hunger, and uncertainty any longer. There were dozens of desertions. Disease debilitated. Death descended in droves.

But by February the weather eased somewhat moving from brutal to merely miserable. In March, General Nathanael Greene was appointed head of the dismal Commissary Department and magically food and supplies started to trickle in. By April, Baron von Steuben, a quirky mercenary who was not really a baron, began to magically transform threadbare troops into a fighting force. Also in April, the Conway Cabal, a plot to remove George Washington from power, was quashed for good. May, brought news of the French Alliance, and with it the military and financial support of France.

On June 19, 1778, exactly six months after they Americans arrived, a new army anxious to fight the British streamed out of Valley Forge toward New Jersey. They had been transformed from Rebel into a Mature Army.

While touring the Park, The Boys observed two inescapable points:

1. Something of importance probably happened here

2. There ain't much left (not a trace!).

There are historic recreations of some of the huts that the troops lived in, but for the most part it was not a major inspiration. Which for full disclosure, could have been the result of the prior 48 hours of imbibement.


Trip, PostScript

After Valley Forge, the boys headed to the airport, however they needed just one more cheesesteak, which they got at a sleazy, cheezy diner in South Philly by the airport. This ensured that when they boarded the plane back that between the cheesesteaks, Italian sausages, and coney dogs, that they had gained 5 pounds and their cholesterol was well over 850.  Thus ended this assault on America's East Coast.