On our last episode, we left George Washington’s ragtag Continental Army without any shoes in the snow, marching their bloody way to Valley Forge in December, 1777.
The year 1777 had been a lousy one for the American cause—Washington couldn’t seem to decisively win a battle against the British (who held the American capital of Philadelphia), other generals were actively conspiring to have Washington removed and replaced by themselves (most notably Horatio Gates, who actually had won a decisive battle against the British at Saratoga), Congress was in exile, unable to raise the money needed to keep the army fed and supplied, and it was winter.
The good news about winter was that armies tended to avoid campaigning when it was cold. The bad news was that it was cold (see the part above about no shoes).
So the situation was dire. The whole thing left me thinking that the army’s prospects were not good at all. The safe bet was on the British to win.
Since I don't know much about military history or strategy, I've brought in a special guest to help out.
Cullen Farrell is a co-host of the Drinks With Great Minds In History Podcast, a world history teacher, and a poet. Check out the links below for all the places you can find him: