All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Seth Sturtevant's Memories of Valley Forge

Seth Sturtevant of Sumner and Hartford served at Valley Forge, and for more than two years as a member of General George Washington's Life Guard. He sat down in about 1847 to write about his experiences:
Gen. Washington divided his men into parties of twelve, and ordered each party to build a hut for its own accommodation. These rude structures, sixteen feet long and fourteen feet wide, with walls six and a half feet high, were built of logs and lined with clay with rough chimneys. The officers' quarters were like these but a little larger. The weather became bitterly cold and the sufferings almost beyond endurance. Both Washington and Congress were powerless to provide new clothing. Our bare feet were through our worn-out shoes, nearly naked from the tattered remains of our only pair of stockings, our breeches hanging in strings, our faces thin from hunger, and a forsaken look on all. The horses died of starvation, and the men harnessed themselves to sleds and hauled their wood and scanty provisions.
Seth noted at the end of his account, "I write this statement of my life at the age of 87 years. With the few dates kept while in the service it has been written from memory and without the aid of glasses."

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