Valley Forge Its 11 at night, I’m sitting here by the window talking to the moon, everyone is sleeping. It is a dark cold night. I can’t see anything but darkness. I can’t feel my legs. Every time I mutter a word I can feel as my lips crack and a drop of blood leaks out. In the smoke surrounding me from our fire I can make out a beautiful woman caressing her belly. She appears to be about 7 months pregnant. It’s my wife. This is the last memory I have of her. By this time my child should be about 9 months old. Wow, how time flies by. I can’t believe I have missed her first words, her first smile, her first tepees.
What I wouldn’t give to go back home and be able to hug my baby girl, lay her down at night, and let her know that daddy is here to protect her. I would give away the 30 years of my life Just to get 10 precious minutes with her. All of the soldiers here at Valley Forge are trying to decide whether they should stay or go back home, myself included. You can hear soldiers crying out “Give me liberty or give me death!! ” all throughout the cabins. I have heard many reasons why I should re-enlist such as commitment. Freedom, and loyalty. Yet, I do not know If I can endure the rest of the inter here at Valley Forge.
The weather is horrible, the amount of people getting sick is getting out of hand, and we don’t have supplies. I need to see my family. Therefore, I have decided that going home will be the best choice for me. This winter is the worst I have ever witnessed. We have set up fires in our huts in an attempt to stay warm and avoid freezing to death, but it has not worked out so well. In fact It might have actually made the situation slightly worse. Since the cabins do not have good ventilation all the smoke from the fire stays Inside, making it hard or us to even breathe. Document C) It is freezing outside. The weather, more often than not, stays below zero! Many soldiers have been losing their limbs due to frostbite. (Document B) I rather be at home under a warm blanket with my beautiful wife, caressing her long blond locks, and listening to her go on and on about the latest town gossip. I would listen to her talk all day about rocks, as long as I could hear her sweet voice once more. When soldiers aren’t losing limbs here and there. They are getting sick. There are all sorts of diseases floating around here!
I overheard a conversation between two on-site doctors yesterday. They said that a total of 3,989 soldiers were sick!! There are only about 8,000 soldiers here! (Document A) That means almost half of us are sick! Who knows how many more people will get sick. We can’t fight if we are sick and missing pieces of us!! I can’t die!! I need to see my Family. I don’t even know what color my baby girl’s eyes are. They are expecting me to come home. They need me. Yea I have a commitment to my country, but I also have a commitment to my two main girls. I can’t just abandon them.
It would be a lot easier for us to fight if we had the supplies we need. Many of our soldiers here do not have shoes on their feet, or proper clothes on their backs. Men and Women have lost their toes to frostbite because of this! (Document B) Besides meat to eat in weeks! Since animal fats are less likely to spoil we are given what looks like a big hunk of salty lard! At times you can even hear people calling out “NO meat! No Meat! ” (Document C) We are all very hungry. Since there is not enough rations to go around we have had to survive on Fire cake.
I had never heard of such a thing until I got here. All you do to make it is mix water and flour together and bake it. Since we do not have any yeast the fire cakes are flat and dense. If we are lucky the cakes are tasteless, and if not we find maggots in our cakes that have been baked in after they find their way into our flour store. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go home and smell my wife’s delicious stew brewing over the fire, and then sit around the table in our nice warm home and enjoy. Some so called patriots come to visit every now and then to show support.
The thing is they come in their nice warm loathes, and will not come close in fear that they might catch a disease. How in the world is this supposed to make us feel better? We’re over here fighting for THEIR freedom and they won’t even touch us?! Some soldiers argue that this will change once the war is over. They say that we will have great honor. They argue that despite the down sides it is our duty to fight for freedom. They believe that congress will help us out and send the supplies we need, and that the worst of the winter has passed. Even after considering these points I will be going home at the end of my term.
I simply cannot stand around any anger and listen as my friends scream in pain during the long cold nights, or see the piles of the dead on the sides of the roads. I cannot risk to becoming like them, and die a harsh painful death in hopes of change. I must return home. I need to see my daughter. I need to see her face. I need the warmth of my wife’s hugs at night, and the smooth touch of her lips on mine. I can’t afford to miss any more precious moments of baby’s first achievements. I can only hope that someday my fellow comrades will be able to forgive me and that they will one day understand why I can no longer go on.