War of Independence (detail of Boston massacre print)

Life in Camp

Washington sought to impose strict military protocols and daily orders on life in camp, but was constantly frustrated by all manner of irregularities and discomforts. Each day civilians in every imaginable capacity were drawn to the camps, militiamen came and went, soldiers deserted, and many succumbed to illness. The weather seemed always too hot or too wet. Flies and mosquitoes were ever-present. Rations were inadequate, and promised supplies and equipment never materialized. And once British forces began their attacks in late August, American troops were constantly on the run, retreating from Long Island to Manhattan to White Plains, then all the way across New Jersey.


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