When I set out to write a novel about the American experience at Valley Forge, I thought I knew the basics of the story. I was wrong. Gideon Hawke #5 peels back some of the mythology about the encampment during the winter of 1778. What is left is no less impressive. The new Continental Army was no longer truly representative of American society: its soldiers were less prosperous and less educated than the average American, but they were by no means less committed to the American Cause. On the contrary, they more perfectly represented the revolutionary ideals of 1775-1776. The soldiers of Valley Forge endured inadequate food and pay and stayed with the Colors. When the weather improved, they trained hard, relearning the business of soldiering. In the process they became a professional army. At the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse they would meet the other professional army on the continent, the British Army, and prove themselves its equal.
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