Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter at Valley Forge with Gen. Washington

In my recent post about the Revolutionary War service of Benjamin Jennings, I gave short shrift to the winter at Valley Forge in 1777-78. Much has been written about that terrible time for the soldiers and about privations and disease the men "battled" while there, but I thought I would describe in more detail the patrol area for which Col. Daniel Morgan's men were responsible.

Morgan's Riflemen, a light infantry corps composed of men selected for their marksmanship abilities, including my four times great grandfather, Benjamin Jennings, Sr., were responsible for patrolling the area from Gulph Mill to the Radnor Meetinghouse. The mill was about 9 miles southeast of the encampment at Valley Forge and about 6 or 7 miles north of the meetinghouse.

The patrol area of Morgan's Riflemen during the winter of 1777-78; created
using Google Maps

The mill was built in 1747 and supplied flour to Gen. Washington's soldiers at their winter quarters. Flour from the mill was probably used to make the infamous "firecake," a tasteless mixture of flour and water when supplies were inadequate, which was often the case that winter. Washington's men spent a week in the area around the Gulph Mill before Gen. Washington decided the higher ground at Valley Forge would be more suitable for a winter encampment.

Gulph Mill c1922; courtesy of Wikipedia

The Radnor Friends Meetinghouse, built in 1717, was about 6 miles south of Gulph Mill. During the winter of 1777-78, it was used as an outpost by the Continental Army.

Radnor Meetinghouse c2009; courtesy of Wikipedia

Based on the patrol area assigned to Morgan's Riflemen, I do not know if the men spent much time at the main camp in Valley Forge. It is quite possible, they were the soldiers using Radnor meetinghouse as an outpost during the winter of 1777-78.

52 Ancestors: Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): A Morgan's Riflemen

No comments:

Post a Comment