The Hungry History of Washington's Army - My Patriot Supply
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The Hungry History of Washington's Army

March 24, 2018 0 Comments

Today, I wanted to share an interesting story from our nation's early days. Many of the early actions of our Founding Fathers show great wisdom which we can learn from and apply to our own lives.

On March 2, 1778, the Continental Congress in conjunction with George Washington made a decision that changed history. This decision involved the question of how to feed an army.

The story is about George Washington and Nathanael Greene and the ingenuity they used to feed an army. It's a story about determination and steadfast dedication to self-reliance.

How George Washington Fed His Army and Created a Nation


Frederick the Great, King of Prussia once remarked that " army marches on its stomach." What he specifically meant is in order to keep an army's morale high and it's fighting capacity strong you have to keep the troops fed.

If you fail to feed the troops, at best they'll simply desert your camp. Even worse, they'll pillage and loot the countryside. From the very first shots fired to secure America's independence, keeping a steady supply of food was a daunting challenge.

The British Navy, the greatest seafaring nation in the world, had a blockade set up across the American seaboard. Blockades like the one Britain had ensnared the Americans in were designed to do one thing: starve them into submission.

What made matters worse for Washington was the inability of Congress to supply funds to purchase forage. The rare times Congress could get credit and supply money, Washington found most merchants wouldn't take Continental dollars.

Continental currency literally wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

Washington's Army survived on meals consisting of hardtack biscuits, salted meats and a pint of wine or beer.

During the long winter camped at Valley Forge a soldier was lucky if he even had access to that much food variety every day.

The Valley Forge Nightmare nearly broke the back of Washington's Army. Soldiers often times had no boots, poor shelter and were exposed to one of the harshest winters in recent memory.

Without Washington's genius ability to win the trust of his troops the army would have disintegrated.

This would help him win the trust of his troops. What he desperately needed was a quartermaster general. There was only one man he had in mind for the job: General Nathanael Greene.

Greene was a well-respected field commander. In addition, he had an incredible ability to keep armies fed. Yet, in the 18th century, men like Greene craved glory on the battlefield first and foremost.

Being appointed as a quartermaster general had no appeal to a man with Greene's battlefield resume. However, Washington is one of the most charismatic leaders in our nation's history, persuaded Greene to take the job of quartermaster general.

This would prove to be the single most important decision Washington would make during the war.

After Congress approved Greene's appointment, he began creating a system of supply depots, purchasing agents and wagon trains to haul food supplies into Valley Forge. Greene's supply system allowed safe transport of supplies into Valley Forge and kept Washington's Army fed and intact.

The Continental Army had developed a form of self-reliance.

In just a short amount of time, Washington and Greene fed the army. This helped Washington keep his troop numbers high enough to score victories at places like Saratoga and a draw at Monmouth which enticed the French to enter the battle on our side

I believe there's no way Washington could have beaten the British without having secured his food supplies. This is the exact reason why for the past eight years I've spoken at length about keeping emergency food on hand.

Literally, having ample food supplies gave our first president a chance to beat the most powerful empire on earth. Amazing isn't it?

Patriots, stay prepared like our founding fathers and enjoy your freedom.

In Liberty,

Grant Miller
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply



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