How are the struggles back home? Is the farm doing well? What about the meat? Is it selling, and are the crops healthy? I know I have not been able to write, and I am very sorry. It has been an extremely long march from White Marsh to Valley Forge. The conditions here are very rough. General George Washington decided to station in Valley Forge so we would be near Philadelphia where the Continental Congress meets in order to protect them. It is a small valley that is supposed to protect us from the weather, but as we arrived, a light snow fell. It is very cold, and I never imagined the climate being this severe. There are twelve thousand men and women in the Continental Army here at Valley Forge, and there is a shortage of shelter and food. It is supposedly the Continental Congress’s responsibility to supply the items we soldiers need, but there are many explanations as to why this does not happen. It is said that the Continental Congress is unorganized and has battles to fight of their own. This situation is making it hard for soldiers to survive, and many are becoming weak and ill. It has taken our son John and me a long time to get here, and we have been fighting strong to maintain our lives. It would be very helpful if you could pack me a sufficient amount of warm clothing because the ones I have, have little warmth. Despite the weakness of our army, General George Washington is able to get Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gehard Augustin, known as the Baron Von Steuben, shortly come to and train us soldiers for different strategies in the field of battle and how to use different weapons. The reorganization that will be performed by George Washington and Von Steuben at a later date will help our army to become a more professional and disciplined group of leaders.
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But Marie, I am afraid there is one thing that I dread to tell you. Our son John was severely injured in the last battle before our arrival at Valley Forge. I did not know that the weather and diseases would have such a powerful impact on him. The wound was large, I have to admit, but I was hoping for the best of situations. Instead we came to the worst. John passed away only days after we arrived. You do not know how hard this is for me. As our only son, he was our whole world, and now the British have taken him. I was standing there in the battlefield with John, both of us fighting off the British. We were doing so well, when all of a sudden, I heard a gunshot right next to me. I looked down, and John was lying there at my feet, helpless in pain. I picked him up and held him in my arms. There was blood everywhere, it was all over him and me. He had a gaping wound in his right thigh, and he was losing blood quickly. He deeply looked into me eyes as if he were going to say something but all that came out was a soft sigh. I told him to be strong and everything would be okay.
It was not but a few days after we arrived at Valley Forge that the disease and infection got to him, and he passed away. I am so sorry that our lives have resulted in this horrible tragedy, and I pray everyday that things will get better for the both of us. I now need you to be strong until we are able to be together again. We must keep God close to our hearts. and He will help us through this. The whole heartbreak just tears me up inside. The situation was almost more than I could bear. I can hardly think of what life will be like now without him. I know you will take this information hard. I am very sorry that I am not there with you right now, but my courage and bravery are shown on the battlefield so I must stay here and fight for the freedom of our country. There are often days I feel so full of despair and just want to give up, but I think of you and John, and I tell myself that I can make it.
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