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Driven into Pennsylvania by the British, it was on this day, Dec. 19, in the freezing winter of 1777, that the Continental Army set up camp at Valley Forge. Lacking supplies, soldiers died at the rate of 12 per day. Gen. Washington, who was seen kneeling in prayer in the snow, recorded: “To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lay on, without shoes, by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet … and at Christmas taking up their … quarters within a day’s march of the enemy … is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled.”

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