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Washington And The Continental Army Encamp At Morristown

Today on December 1st 1779, George Washington and his continental army establish their winter quarters at Morristown.

This was the second time that the revolutionary army decided to settle in at Morristown, New Jersey. General George Washington moved into Ford Mansion which drastically improved his personal circumstances. He was now able to properly conduct his military affairs and host guests in a respectable style. However, the situation for his soldiers was dramatically different. The winter of 1779 reached the coldest temperatures on record.

The colonial economy had all but collapsed at this point in the revolutionary war. As a result, Washington’s army was poorly clothed and equipped, and even worse, they were unpaid. The British and Indian warriors were constantly raiding American farms and reserves. Washington ordered the construction of more than a thousand log cabins to house the troops for the winter months. Life was miserable across all ranks.

According to enlistment records, Washington had over 16,000 men but most were not willing to accept his orders. By the Spring of 1780, Washington’s army nearly collapsed as he faced widespread desertion. Luckily for the Americans, the British experienced similar conditions and financial challenges. The war effort was quickly losing public support in Britain and King George’s vision of holding onto the colonies was fading.


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