Virtual Speaker Series - Surviving the Winters: Housing George Washington’s Army and the American Revolution

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
United States

Steven Elliott, Ph.D.: Surviving the Winters: Housing George Washington's Army and the American Revolution

During the American Revolution, Patriot soldiers began the war with inadequate housing for operations in the field as well as winter quarters.  Their health and morale suffered accordingly.  In this talk, Steven Elliott examines 18th-century military housing practices, refinements in military camp administration, and how army officers sought and obtained lodging for themselves and their men.  Decisions regarding military shelters greatly affected strategy, logistics, and social relationships within the army and the civilian populations they encountered.

Using official military correspondence, orderly books, diaries, memoirs, civilian damage claims, and archaeological studies, Elliott argues that developments in military shelters formed a crucial yet overlooked component of Continental strategy.  The encampment at Valley Forge became a crucial turning point in winter quartering strategies.  This complex of hastily-built timber huts provided cover for Patriot troops from the winter of 1777-1778.  From the lessons learned at Valley Forge, this practice continued through the end of the war.  An innovation in the art of war, the log-hut city provided accommodations secure from enemy attack for thousands of soldiers—at little cost to the government and little inconvenience to civilians.  This made a decisive contribution to the success of the Continental Army's war effort.

Event Type: 
Guest Speaker
Event Type: 
Educational Events