Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment

Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment

5.0 4
by Nancy K. Loane
     
 

Friday, December 19, 1777, dawned cold and windy. Fourteen thousand Continental Army soldiers tramped from dawn to dusk along the rutted Pennsylvania roads from Gulph Mills to Valley Forge, the site of their winter encampment. After the soldiers came the army’s wagons, then hundreds of camp women. Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge

Overview


Friday, December 19, 1777, dawned cold and windy. Fourteen thousand Continental Army soldiers tramped from dawn to dusk along the rutted Pennsylvania roads from Gulph Mills to Valley Forge, the site of their winter encampment. After the soldiers came the army’s wagons, then hundreds of camp women. Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment tells the story of the forgotten women who spent the winter of 1777–78 with the Continental Army at Valley Forge. While the camp women of Washington’s army were poor, dirty creatures who clung to the very edge of survival, many worked as the army’s washerwomen, nurses, cooks, or seamstresses. Other women at camp were of higher status: they traveled with Washington’s entourage when the army headquarters shifted from place to place and served the general as valued cooks, laundresses, or housekeepers. There were also ladies at camp, part of the “numerous and splendid” audience who enjoyed the camp theater and had their portraits painted by Charles Willson Peale. No evidence suggests that Martha Washington visited informally among the troops at any camp, including Valley Forge. In Following the Drum, readers will learn of the 1777–78 encampment’s devastating effect on the area’s farm families, meet the women and ladies who accompanied and aided the soldiers, and discover a Valley Forge that many never knew existed.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Loane] pulls together a rich array of sources to offer great detail about women’s lives, and she is diligent to treat carefully through recollections written down years after the fact.”

“A wonderfully readable account of that cold, winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1777-1778.”

"Sometimes a book comes along, smacks readers in the head, alleviates our ignorance, and leaves us with a new perspective on something we thought we already knew. That's what happened when I read Following the Drum. . . . The work adds colorful, riveting details to the basic portrait of the American Revolution that hangs in our minds . . . elements that help give us a more complete, accurate picture. . . . A treasure trove . . . that highlights what women did to give us the country we have today."

“…a narrative that deftly synthesizes stories about women…Loane adds interesting, pertinent analysis of inaccuracies and fictions about these camp followers.”

"Reveals an area of knowledge that has seldom been reported in the historical press."

“Dr. Nancy K. Loane’s fascination and passion regarding the women who supported General George Washington . . . during their encampment in Valley Forge, PA, shines through in her new book.”

"In addition to the details . . . about the women at Valley Forge, Ms. Loane gives us many other fascinating general details about life in the camp among all of the social groups who were there."

"An eye-opening assessment of how George Washington and the Continental Army made it through the winter of 1777-78."

"Thoroughly researched and a compelling read. Loane's study of the women of Valley Forge--the 'camp women' as well as Martha Washington and the officers' 'ladies'--adds vastly to our understanding of that terrible winter, the Continental Army, and the vital role women played in the founding of the Republic."

"Nancy Loane brings to light a truth all but forgotten in the shadows of history. This work takes the reader beyond Valley Forge and fills in the gaps of the lives of those who endured the winter of 1777-78. Truly one of the great works on the Valley Forge Encampment."

"Nancy K. Loane has cleared away the myths surrounding the women at the Valley Forge encampment, from Martha Washington to Mrs. Mary Geyer. Her careful documentation and relaxed writing style make this a not-to-be-missed book for historians and re-enactors."

Paul Lockhart

"Thoroughly researched and a compelling read. Loane's study of the women of Valley Forge--the 'camp women' as well as Martha Washington and the officers' 'ladies'--adds vastly to our understanding of that terrible winter, the Continental Army, and the vital role women played in the founding of the Republic."—Paul Lockhart, author of The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army
Timothy Eldridge Massey

"Nancy Loane brings to light a truth all but forgotten in the shadows of history. This work takes the reader beyond Valley Forge and fills in the gaps of the lives of those who endured the winter of 1777-78. Truly one of the great works on the Valley Forge Encampment."—Timothy Eldridge Massey, Commander in Chief, Society of the Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge
Clarissa F. Dillon

"Nancy K. Loane has cleared away the myths surrounding the women at the Valley Forge encampment, from Martha Washington to Mrs. Mary Geyer. Her careful documentation and relaxed writing style make this a not-to-be-missed book for historians and re-enactors."—Clarissa F. Dillon, Valley Forge historian
American History

"An eye-opening assessment of how George Washington and the Continental Army made it through the winter of 1777-78."—American History
Tredyffrin Easttown History Quarterly

"In addition to the details . . . about the women at Valley Forge, Ms. Loane gives us many other fascinating general details about life in the camp among all of the social groups who were there."—Tredyffrin Easttown History Quarterly
Phoenix

“Dr. Nancy K. Loane’s fascination and passion regarding the women who supported General George Washington . . . during their encampment in Valley Forge, PA, shines through in her new book.”—Phoenix

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597973854
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
04/30/2009
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
558,771
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Nancy K. Loane a former seasonal ranger at Valley Forge National Historical Park, has studied more than five hundred Revolutionary War–era diaries, journals, letters, returns, orderly books, and records. A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Speaker (2006–2007), she has presented more than fifty lectures in four states about the women of the Valley Forge encampment, Martha Washington, and the soldiers’ letters from camp. A founding member of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia and an honorary lifetime member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, she lives in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

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Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overmountainman More than 1 year ago
I consider this one of the great works on the Valley Forge Encampment of 1777-78. Nancy Loane brings to light the forgotten Patriots of the Revolution, the women who cooked, sewed, and even bore arms under fire. This work takes the reader beyond the Encampment of 1777-78 and doesn't leave one in wonder as to what happened to the likes of Lucy Knox and Caty Greene the remainder of the war and beyond. From the women of "the common sort" to Martha Washington's roll is examined in detail and certain myths exposed. This is a must have for any student of the Revolutionary War, the Valley Forge Encampment or one interested in the truth of the roll of women in the struggle for American Independence.
Magster More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me a new perspective on the events that happened at Valley Forge.