Just Keeping Warm Was A Miracle For The Colonial Army.

by Daniel Russ on August 21, 2019

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This is a passage from Rick Atkinson’s The British Are Coming!

“The army would burn eight thousand cords in six months, and on particularly cold days, the firewood demand equaled the timber from a four-acre woodlot. Despite efforts by the Committee on Wood in Watertown to organize cutting expeditions, a number of regiments were forced to eat their provisions raw, and many soldiers shivered in their sleep. While 120 barracks were under construction in Cambridge and Roxbury—each man got fourteen square feet of living space—a lumber shortage kept some in tents into January. Hunger in the ranks led to pilfering from nearby farms. “The devil would now and then tell us that it was no harm sometimes to pull a few potatoes and cabbages,” one private confessed. Cheek-by-jowl living led to sickness, regardless of the eight pounds of hard soap allocated weekly to each company. “Autumnal fevers” became winter maladies:”


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