U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content







AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS External Link, Opens in New Window






Chapter VIII

Table of Contents



Philadelphia and Vicinity

The campaign of 1777 opened with some minor movements in March. The British captured and destroyed an American depot of supplies at Peekskill on March 23, and in May Col. R. J. Meigs crossed to Sag Harbor, Long Island, and returned the compliment. In April William Tryon burned Danbury and destroyed sixteen hundred tents, with other stores. In the fighting which followed, General Wooster was killed and Arnold narrowly escaped capture. The Congress had wronged Arnold by passing over him, the senior brigadier, and making Stirling, Mifflin, St. Clair, Stephen and Lincoln major generals. There was further injustice in that Arnold had decidedly more military ability than any of these other officers, as was afterwards— if not before—fully demonstrated. This was the real beginning of Arnold’s disaffection. Washington induced him to remain in the army and after the Tryon raid, where his fierce courage again blazed out, he was made a major general, though not restored to his proper relative rank.

The new army under Washington was organized in five divisions of two brigades each; in all forty-three battalions, chiefly from the Middle and Southern States. The New York and New England troops were left to meet Burgoyne, though later six Connecticut and two Rhode Island regiments joined Washington. This was after Brandywine.

With the main army at Morristown there was no movement until the end of May. The old army had disappeared and new regiments were forming slowly. In March there were no more than four thousand men on the muster rolls, while the British were preparing to wage war on a grand scale. Burgoyne was


to descend Lake Champlain from the north; Howe was to march up the Hudson and meet him. New England was to be cut off and the colonies subdued in detail. This excellent plan was not carried out and Howe's principal movement was directed against Philadelphia.

On May 20 Washington broke camp at Morristown and marched to Middlebrook. Howe maneuvered for three weeks to bring on an engagement in the open, but Washington desired to be attacked in a position of his own choosing. Finally, on July 23, Howe sailed with 18,000 men, bound for the Delaware. General Clinton was left in New York with six or seven thousand men. The departure of this British force was deeply puzzling. It was not logical that it should go south, when Burgoyne was marching down from Canada.

On July 10 the Continental Army was at Schuylkill Falls, on the 11th it marched to near Chester, and on the 12th returned to Germantown. There was much marching and countermarching, which wearied the troops, although wagons were provided for carrying the packs. The sick were all ordered to Philadelphia. Convalescents were no longer discharged but were transferred to the Invalid Corps,1 prototype of the modern development battalion.

There was great uncertainty as to whether the British, evidently planning an expedition, would strike toward New England or the South, so troops were moved first in one direction and then in the other. On July 27 the army started toward the Highlands and marched thirty-three miles. On the 30th it was back at the Schuylkill. On August 8 it again rushed toward the Highlands, halted on the 10th and remained in camp on Nesheming Creek until the 23rd, when there was definite news that the enemy had gone south. On August 24 the army marched through Philadelphia, Washington taking particular pains to make the best possible impression. Baggage trains were sent around to the west, while the main body of eight or nine thousand men marched down Front Street, through Chestnut to the Common, and on to the camp at Darby. It was the general impression that the clothing of the troops was poor, but arms were burnished and in good condition.2


Lafayette said of the troops:

“Eleven thousand men, but tolerably armed and still worse clad, presented a singular spectacle. In their parti-colored, and often naked state, the best dresses were hunting shirts of brown linen. Their tactics were equally irregular. They were arranged without regard to size, except that the smaller men were in the front rank, with all this there were good looking soldiers conducted by zealous officers.”

The word naked, so frequently used, simply meant that the body was exposed at some point, as elbow, knee, etc.

Washington was far from being ashamed of his men, here or elsewhere. He seemed always proud of his ragged band, in defeat as well as in victory;—and the former was much more frequent than the latter.

There was a considerable amount of sickness in the Army at this time. On August 5 the Medical Committee began a report with the statement

“That there are sick in the Hospitals and Army 3745 soldiers, the number of which has been greatly increased by the use of bad bread, and the want of Vinegar, Vegetables and soap, as particularly set forth in General Washington's Letter to the Committee.”

An army return for August 5 showed:-

Rank and file, 17,949; sick in hospital, 4,745; for duty 14,204. Twenty six per cent of the army was then sick.

The report went on to state that the Hospital Department lacked authority to draw supplies from the commissary.

Battle of Brandywine, Map

On August 25 the route was through Chester, to a camp near Wilmington on the 27th. On the same day that Washington arrived at Wilmington, Lord Howe landed with his army at Elkton. On September 3 General Maxwell’s Brigade was driven back and the Americans took up position behind Red Clay Creek; but on the 9th, in fear of being outflanked, Washington retired behind Brandywine Creek. The British followed slowly and prepared for battle. The American position had its center at Chad's Ford, where General Greene commanded four Continental brigades. The left wing consisted of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware militia, under General Armstrong, extend-


ing to Pyle’s Ford. The Virginia and Maryland militia had not arrived. General Sullivan commanded the right wing near the forks of the creek and Jeffries’ Ford. The whole amounted to 11,000 men. Howe on the 11th tried the tactics which had succeeded so well at Long Island. While Knyphausen with some 6000 men advanced directly on Chad’s Ford, Cornwallis was sent up the stream to cross and outflank the American right.3 Through some contradictory orders and delays, the British plan succeeded fairly well. Sullivan's own division on the extreme right was driven off in rout; Stephen and Stirling made a stand but were also driven back; the entire right wing was now retreating. Greene came to the support of the right and held his ground until night. Knyphausen, who awaited the success of Cornwallis, was enabled to cross the ford, and the whole American army was obliged to retire. Though defeated, the new army had done better than at Long Island. The loss amounted to about 300 killed, 600 wounded and 400 prisoners, besides 11 guns. Among the wounded was Lafayette.

The British loss was much less. By their returns—probably correct—it was 89 killed, 448 wounded, and 6 missing. Sullivan was blamed in some quarters, and the Congress voted to relieve him again, as in Canada. But Washington, whose patience was scarcely less than the patience of Job, supported him and he retained his place. The retreating army halted that night and re-formed at Chester, retiring next day, through Philadelphia, to Germantown.

The battle of the Brandywine threw the somewhat disorganized Continental Army off to the west and made the tenure of Philadelphia uncertain. All the wounded who could move, or be moved, were started toward Philadelphia, in all kinds of country wagons and other conveyances, though they did not stop there long. It seems, from the account given by Paine of the rear at Germantown, that the wounded were accustomed to start early, and soon put several miles between themselves and the field of battle, these were the fortunate ones who could travel. The seriously wounded lay on the field, or were collected in such buildings as were at hand; in this case unattended.

Captain Montressor notes in his reliable journal that the British wounded were removed to Wilmington and that the


Americans sent in surgeons to care for their wounded, on September 14, three days after the battle.

“Sep. 14th. A detachment, at 6 this morning, escorted our wounded to Wilmington. An engineer and Company and Carpenters went, in order to fit up Hospital & and this evening the noted Dr. Rush, a rebel Doctor and delegate, [arrived] with three surgeons to attend the wounded Rebels, left scattered in the Houses about the field of Battle, not attended by their Surgeons until now.”

On the previous day Washington had notified Lord Howe that he had appointed,

“agreeable to the permission accorded; Doctor Rush, Leiper and Latimer, and Mr. Willet, a mate in the Hospital, with their attendants, and also adds Doctors Way and Coats to the Surgeons”.

It is possible that these wounded received some attention from the British surgeons during the three days. They were cared for, as Dr. Allison states, at Concord Church, Springfield meeting house, and the meeting house at Bermingham. They appear to have been paroled and taken to Lancaster or Ephrata later. Those who escaped earlier were taken toward Philadelphia, and then to various hospitals to the west and north.

Ephrata was the principal hospital for the sick and severely wounded at Brandywine. It was a sort of monastic community of the German Baptists or Dunkards, having large houses for the various male and female zealots of that peculiar sect. The buildings were as suitable for hospital purposes as any to be found in that part of the country. They were similar to those in use at Bethlehem, Lititz and elsewhere during those years. There was a “Zion House,” a “Single Brethren's House”, “Kedar”, “Saal,” and so on: all large buildings, but with small rooms. A special feature of these buildings, most of which are yet standing, is the small and low doors in them, designed to inculcate humility. They must have had quite another effect on the attendants of the sick. About five hundred sick and wounded men were brought here after the battle, and the place remained in use as a hospital throughout the winter following. A number of the brethren and sisters volunteered as nurses. “Zion


House” was used as a smallpox hospital, the other buildings for the ordinary sick and wounded. The dreaded putrid fever appeared here as in other hospitals during the winter of 1777-78 and carried off many victims; nurses as well as patients. After the buildings were returned to their owners, the Zion House was was burned, apparently as a sanitary measure.

The retreating army halted and re-formed at Chester on the night following the battle. Next day Washington marched by Philadelphia to Germantown, and halted there two days to rest the men, the British following slowly. Capt. Montresor noted on September 19, “As many men have lately fallen sick, empty wagons are ordered to each of the Corps.” These were to serve as ambulances, then unknown.

On September 14 Congress resolved to remove all the bells from Philadelphia; on the 16th to remove all stores and to remove the stores and sick from Trenton, and on the 18th left Philadelphia without much formality; the members coming together again at Lancaster on September 27.

On September 16 the American army crossed the Sehuylkill to the south and faced the enemy again, but a tremendous rainstorm prevented another battle. Washington once more retired behind the Schuylkill, leaving Wayne's Brigade at Paoli. On September 19 the British General Gray surprised Wayne by a night attack, killed one hundred and fifty of his men with the bayonet, and took seventy prisoners. The British loss was but three killed and four wounded. Mad Anthony may well have been wild after this affair, generally known as the Paoli massacre.

The British army now marched up the south bank of the river, threatening the stores at Reading. Washington marched up the north bank as far as Pottstown. On September 28 Howe crossed the Schuylkill near Valley Forge, and on the 26th a part of his forces entered Philadelphia. Deborah Logan, who watched them march in, said, “The contrast between them and our poor, ragged, barefoot troops caused a feeling of despair.” A line of defenses was constructed from the Schuylkill to the Delaware, and preparations made for reducing the forts below the city. Congress had adjourned to Lancaster, where it remained while the British held the city. The hospitals and stores of the


American army had been removed before the British entered. The last act was to send in Alexander Hamilton to secure a supply of blankets, clothing, shoes and similar articles for the army.

The bulk of the British army took position at Germantown, on the line of Schoolhouse Lane and Limekiln Road, crossing the main street at the market place. Washington was at Metucheon Hills. His army had been reinforced by a Connecticut division and some militia, so that he now had 9000 Continentals besides a considerable force of State troops. He resolved to attack the force at Germantown and rout it before aid could come from Philadelphia. He put everything he had into this fight. The main body of Continentals, in two divisions under Greene and Sullivan, marched straight down the Germantown road, while large forces of militia attempted to turn both flanks. It was the plan of Cannae, so much loved by the Germans of our day. The army marched on the evening of October 3rd.

Attack was made on the morning of the 4th, in a dense fog. For a time all went well, but in the fog confusion arose in the loosely organized army. Cornwallis brought up reinforcements. The superior training and steadiness of the British regiments had their effect, and in the end Washington was obliged to give the order for retreat from a field that he had thought won. The American army retired to Pennypacker's Mills, on Perkioming Creek, that night, while the British held the field. Washington had attacked and been repulsed. The army had failed, but was in no way disgraced, retired in good order, and was ready to fight again.

American losses at Germantown were: killed, 152; wounded, 421, and prisoners about 400. The British claimed that they buried 300 and took 436 prisoners, of whom 47 were officers. They reported their own loss in killed and wounded as 382, of whom 35 were officers. Jacob Miller remembered seeing British surgeons at work after the battle. He

“observed a gathering at his next door neighbor's, the Mechlin's house on the Germantown Road, and entering, there found a British hospital had been improvised in the large stable in the yard. The Surgeons were beginning to arrange long tables, made of doors, on which to lay the wounded, friends and foes alike, for amputation.”


He was “pressed to assist them, but managed to escape as he did not like the employment.” The old stone house, No. 4434, was about fifty feet front by forty deep. Many died and were buried in a trench just westward of the old bark mill.

The Rev. James Morris of Connecticut, then a lieutenant, was the last officer captured in the battle, made prisoner after retreating some ten miles. He was taken back to Philadelphia with other prisoners, all confined in crowded rooms in the new jail. He says:

“At this time seven hundred prisoners of war were in the jail. A few small rooms were sequestered for the officers. Each room must contain sixteen men. We fully covered the floor when we lay down to rest, and the poor soldiers were shut into rooms of the same magnitude with double the number. The soldiers were soon seized with a jail fever and in the course of three months it swept off four hundred men, who were all buried in one continuous grave, without coffins. Such a scene of mortality I never witnessed before. Death was so frequent that it ceased to terrify; it ceased to warn; it ceased to alarm survivors.”

As one Virginia regiment, (9th) was captured almost entire, these unfortunate prisoners were probably, in the main, from that Colony.

A large number of American wounded were brought back from Germantown in wagons with the army and placed in the churches at Evansburg and Trappe. Others were taken to the camp at Pennypacker’s Mills, in the house of Henry Keely and Wm. Pennypacker. After a few days the army moved to Skippack, where the houses of John Jantz and Adam Gotwals were used. Several officers were in the latter house, and there General Nash died, attended by Dr. James Craik. Seventy of the wounded were taken to a place called Falkner's swamp, some twenty miles up the Schuylkill from Valley Forge. As they did not do well there, three weeks later Dr. Allison took them to Reading and remained there with them until December. He then wen to Lititz, took charge of the hospital there and remained until August 1778.

Thomas Paine saw something of the wounded in the rear of the Continentals. In a letter he says:-


“On October 4th I set off for Germantown. * * * I saw several country people, with arms in their hands, running across a field toward Germantown; within about five or six miles of which I met several of the wounded in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. I passed General Nash, on a litter made of poles. About two miles after, I passed a crowd of wounded and otherwise, who were halted at a house.”

On October 21 Colonel Donop, with a picked force of 1200 Hessians, attacked Fort Mercer at Red Brook, a strong post commanded by Col. Greene, of Canada fame, and garrisoned by two Rhode Island regiments. Donop was killed and his forces driven off with heavy loss (over 400), including two ships. This success, the first instance in which Continental troops had successfully withstood a determined assault, gave much encouragement to the patriots and revived their drooping morale. The British, however, began a regular siege of Fort Mifflin, held by Col. Smith of the Maryland Line. On November 15 the garrison withdrew to Fort Mercer, and on the 20th that post also was abandoned, leaving the Delaware River open to the British fleet. On the same day General Stephen was dismissed for drunkenness, his division being given to Lafayette.

During this time Washington had been calling on Gates for assistance from the Northern Army, which had completed its task. Gates finally sent 5000 men, but they were detained by Putnam near Peekskill. In the end Washington was obliged to send Major Alexander Hamilton to hurry the troops. They came but too late to save the forts.

About this time John Adams was relieved from the Board of War and a new board was formed, consisting of Gates (president), Pickering, Mifflin, Josiah Trumbull and Richard Peters, the old secretary. About the same time General Conway was made Inspector General of the army. Thomas Conway, who had come to America in June, was one of those Irishmen who formed the famous Irish Brigade in the French Army. He had served in that army for thirty years and had reached the rank of colonel. He was at once made a brigadier in the Continental Army and was given the best opportunities. He soon proved to be generally worthless; and, worse, engaged in a plot to supplant Washington and place the indolent Gates at the head of the Continental Army. His end befitted his character—or lack of it.


We will go back to the general hospitals.

The disastrous defeat at the Brandywine had left Philadelphia open to the enemy. The hospitals must be moved at once, as well as the stores and trains of the army then at Trenton. The news of the disaster reached Bethlehem on September 13, and on the 16th a letter from David Rittenhouse gave news that all the military stores of the army, in upwards of seven hundred wagons, had been ordered to the town. The “Independence Bell” was also on the road. On the 19th Dr. Hall Jackson arrived from Trenton with a letter addressed to the Rev. Ettwein, informing him that the sick were again on the way and would

“Gentlemen: It gives me great pain to be obliged by order of Congress, to send my sick and wounded soldiers to your peaceful village; but so it is. We will want room for two thousand at Bethlehem, Easton and Northampton; and you may expect them on Saturday or Sunday. These are dreadful times; consequences of unnatural wars. I am truly concerned for your society, and wish sincerely this stroke could be averted, but ‘tis impossible.

The “Brethren's House” was at once vacated and cleaned from attic to basement. On Saturday a crowd of civilians, officials and military men began to enter the town. One of these was Dr. William Brown, of Virginia who came to inspect the Hospital. Among the wounded were Colonel Armstrong, General William Woodford, and the Marquis de Lafayette. The Diary of the Community recorded the arrival of the baggage train, evidently with mistrust

“September 24th. The whole of the heavy baggage of the Army, in a train of 700 wagons, arrived, under escort of 200 men commanded by Colonel [William] Polk of North Carolina. They encamped on the south side of the Lehigh, and in one night destroyed all our buckwheat and the fences around the fields. The wagoners, after unloading, returned to Trenton for more stores.

September 26th. To this date some 900 wagons with munitions of war have arrived and have been packed behind the Severn in the fields toward Nain. With them came a crowd of low women and thieves, so that we had to maintain a watch at the Tavern.” An unusual picture of the heroes of 1776.


By Monday the hospitals were filled and tents were put up for the overflow. The doctors looked around for more buildings and suggested the “Sisters' House,” but Mr. Ettwein objected. On October 4th loud cannonading was heard in the distance, and a few days later intelligence came of the battle of Germantown. On the 6th and 7th a number of the wounded from that field reached the hospital. By October 22nd the number of patients was four hundred and fifty, with fifty in tents. A number of wagons with sick from the army arrived that day, but the hospital was full and they were sent on to Easton.

On October 14th an order was received directing the collection of clothing for the soldiers. The diarist says, “We made several collections of blankets, also shoes, stockings and breeches, for the convalescents in the Hospital, many of whom had come here attired in rags swarming with vermin; while others during their stay had been deprived of all by their comrades.”

About this time many members of the Congress were in Bethlehem and had an opportunity to observe the needs of the hospital with their own eyes. John Hancock and the two Adams were here; also James Duane, Henry Laurens, Richard Henry Lee, and a dozen others.

On October 28th Hugh James arrived with orders from Dr. Benjamin Rush to provide for a hundred additional patients. For these, a frame building was provided for a kitchen, and the kitchen of the Brethren's House, with some other heretofore exempt rooms, were taken. The patients were very poorly provided with all things, even clothing. Dr. Shippen wrote to Congress concerning them:

“The pressing necessity of the Hospitals, which begin to feel the effects of cold and dirt, calls on me to address you in a serious manner, and urge you to furnish us with an immediate supply of clothing, requisite for the very existence of the sick now in the greatest distress in the hospitals, and indispensably necessary to enable many who are now well and detained solely for want of clothing to return to the Army.”

It does not appear that there was any great number of deaths in the early months. In December a large number of sick were transferred from the hospitals in New Jersey. They came in


open wagons, often amid snow and rain, with clothing insufficient to cover their meager bodies. Between Christmas and New Year over seven hundred were in the “Single Brethren's House” alone. With the dirt, vermin and crowding it was certain that putrid fever (typhus) would appear. This deadly disease was soon prevalent throughout the hospital, and was very fatal. Particularly was this the case on the upper floors of the hospital, where the ventilation was poor and the filth and pollution intolerable. The Moravians gave every assistance in caring for these miserable sick, braving the disease, and even giving their own lives for them.4

It appears that the doctors made efforts to suppress the giving out of the number of deaths; but Mr. Ettwein states that more than three hundred died during the last three months of 1777. Dr. Acquila Wilmot of Maryland died of putrid fever on November 1st, and Hospital Steward Gillespie of the same disease on November 14th. On December 24th the baggage trains moved off (to Valley Forge) having been at Bethlehem three months.

Dr. William Smith of the hospital stated that he had “known from four to five patients die on the same straw before it was changed, and that many of them had been admitted only for slight disorders. Of the eleven junior surgeons and mates, ten took the infection, most of them dangerously so, and one, Dr. Joseph Harrison, had died; and of the three hospital stewards, two had died and the third narrowly escaped.” He also stated that “when the hospital was opened it was many weeks without so necessary articles as brooms, “and that at last he was “obliged to take them from the inhabitants of the town.”

Dr. Moses Scott, of the New Jersey Line, who was in the hospital three months, writes that during that time,

“between eight and nine hundred patients were admitted, thirty-four of whom died” [?] and that . . . “it was almost impossible to make exact returns of the sick and wounded. Upon computation, allowing four feet for each patient, we concluded that the house would- hold three hundred and sixty, without crowding.”

He probably ment four linear feet, therefore from thirty to forty square feet of floor surface. But the patients were crowded in until there were twice that number in the building.


During the first weeks of the new year there was no abatement in the rates of sickness and death. Sickness was carried into the town and seven of the Single Brethren died. Dr. Shippen was at Bethlehem during all this time.

Washington was now given almost dictatorial power over all things, including the hospitals. During the spring the hospital was gradually evacuated. On April 8th orders arrived for its closing, and on June 27th it was again occupied by the Brethren. General Lachlan McIntosh, who superintended the transfer of the hospital, reported on April 26th,

To his Excellency the Commander in Chief, “that from Jany 1 to April 12, 1778, 81 soldiers died, 25 deserted, 122 were discharged, and sent to the army, 11 were at the shoe factory (at Allentown), 2 attending the sick, and all the rest were removed from the hospital.”

It may be estimated that about five hundred of the patients at Bethlehem died; at least one-third of these received: The sad part of it is that many of these were men not seriously sick or injured, to whom the allotment of a bed of vermin-infested straw was little short of a sentence of death. Typhus was the principal disease, though doubtless there was dysentery as well as pneumonia.6

Dr. James Tilton has given a dark picture of the hospital at Bethlehem:-

“After the Battles of Brandywine, Redbank, &c, a general hospital was established in the village of Princeton, where I was a prescribing surgeon. The sick and wounded flowing promiscuusly without restraint into this hospital, it soon became infectious and was attended with great mortality. I caught the jail fever myself [typhus] and narrowly escaped with my life. After a tedious illness I got leave to return home for the recovery of my health. The enemy occupying Philadelphia at that time, it became necessary for me to make a circuitous route to the state of Delaware, through Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

“At Bethlehem there was another hospital, and I found it convenient to rest there a day or two. During my stay it was natural to inquire into the state of the hospital. The method I took was to propose a competition—not whose hospital had done the most good, but whose hospital had done the most mischief. I was requested to give an account of Princeton Hospital. I stat-


ed with all the exaggeration I could with truth, not only affecting mortality among the sick and wounded soldiers, but that the orderly men, nurses and other attendants on the hospital were liable to the infection; that I had myself narrowly escaped death; and that five other surgeons and mates had afterwards been seized.

“I was answered that the malignancy and mortality of Princeton Hospital bore no comparison with theirs; that at Bethlehem not an orderly man or nurse escaped, and but a few of the surgeons; that one surgeon, Joseph Harrison, a fine young fellow, distinguished for his issiduity, had died. And, to give me some idea of the mortality of their hospital, one of the surgeons asked me if I were acquainted with that fine volunteer regiment of Virginia, commanded by Col. Gibson [Col. John Gibson of Virginia] 9th Regt.

“I answered I knew it only by reputation. He then went on to say that forty of that regiment had come to their hospital, and then asked me how many I supposed would ever rejoin the regiment? I guessed a third or a fourth part. He declared solemnly that not three would ever return; that one man had, joined his regiment, that another was convalescent and might possibly recover, but that the only remaining one besides was in the last stage of the colliquative flux and must soon die. I was obliged to acknowledge the hospital at Bethlehem had been more fatal than that at Princeton.

This was the unfortunate regiment that was captured at Germantown and suffered in the jail at Philadelphia. Again he says:-

“It would be shocking to humanity to relate the history of our general hospitals in the years 1777 and 1778, when it swallowed up at least half our army, owing to a fatal tendency in the system to throw all the sick of the army into the general hospital, whence crowds, infection and consequent mortality too affecting to mention.”

“I mention it not with a desire to reflect on any man, that in the fatal year 1777, when the director general had the entire direction of practice in our hospitals, as well as the whole disposal of the stores, he was interested in the increase of sickness, and the consequent increase of expense, so far at least, as he would be profited by a greater quantity of money passing through his hands. Even at that time he might have done the best he could, though Congress did not chuse to trust him any longer with the same inordinate powers; and I trust, will never again lay. any man under the same temptations.”


Another hospital was established at Lititz, near Lancaster,5 where the Moravians had communal buildings similar to those at Bethlehem and Ephrata. On December 14th Dr. Samuel Kennedy arrived at the village with a written order from General Washington to provide for two hundred and fifty sick. Bishop Hehle selected the building of the single men, which was at once vacated and made ready, as the sick were then on the way. This was a stone structure, 37 by 60 feet in size, and three stories high. The first sick—about eighty in number—arrived on December 19th, and the following day fifteen wagon loads more came in from the Jerseys; filling all the rooms and halls of the building. These were brought from Plumstead meeting house by Dr. Francis Allison. There were two doctors sent to take charge of these patients, and a commissary to provide food. The patients were like others, poorly clad, weak, dirty, and covered with virmin. Putrid fever appeared almost at once, and both doctors were attacked. The village physician, Dr. Adolph Meyer, took their place until relieved ten days later. Some convalescents left the hospital, in fear of typhus, but a severe snowstorm drove them back. Even the elements were cruel during this terrible winter. On the last day of the year a wagonload of sick arrived from Reading. Seven deaths were reported in ten days, all from fever. Between January 12 and 22, one hundred and seventy-three men were admitted and ten died. There were then twenty-five cases of putrid fever.

Brothers' House, Ephrata

During the month of January the fever became epidemic. Five of the Moravians who had volunteered as nurses died of the disease, also the assistant pastor, Rev. John J. Schmick. Some, however, survived, for twenty convalescents were sent back to the army on January 8. On the 18th Dr. William Brown arrived from Bethlehem to take charge of the hospital.

During this Valley Forge winter, while there was so much sickness and suffering among the Continental soldiers, there were still medical men not so completely occupied by their labors as to be hindered from all literary effort. Dr. William Brown, of Maryland and Virginia, at that time Physician-General of the Middle Department, prepared the first pharmacopoeia published in America. He appears to have been located at the hospital at Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and it was there that


this modest book of 32 pages was prepared. Although written for the use of the Continental hospitals, Nosocomii Militaris, it was entirely in Latin. It was printed by Charles Cist of Philadelphia. The book was not a complete pharmacopoeia, but a repertory of prescriptions simpliciorum et efficiorum, “adapted to the present state of need and poverty.” A second edition was published in 1781.7

On December 3, 1777, a small manual styled “Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers”7 was “Recommended to the Consideration of the Officers of the Army of the United States.” This pamphlet was prepared by Dr. Benjamin Rush and was published by the order of the Board of War, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by John Dunlap. It will be remembered that Dr. Rush and resigned during the preceding January. He was now a delegate in Congress and a member of the Military Committee.

In March Dr. Shippen proposed to establish a large general hospital at Lititz. On the earnest representation of the inhabitants that plan was abandoned, but the existing hospital was continued. In April nine wagonloads of sick arrived from the hospitals at Bethlehem, Easton and other places which were being closed. On April 20 General McIntosh reported from the hospital at Lititz that in the period from February 1 to April 20, 264 patients had been admitted, 142 had been discharged to camp, 83 had died or deserted, and 39 remained under treatment. (The practice of combining deaths and desertions in one lump figure indicates that the Continental officers knew something about concealing facts in communiques.) This hospital was one of the last to be closed. On August 21, 1778, the Surgeon was notified to prepare for closing it, and on the 28th the 66 remaining patients were removed to Lancaster and Yellow Springs. During the occupation of the Brethren's House—eight months and ten days—120 soldiers died there. Dr. Francis Allison was in charge of this hospital during the greater part of its existence.

All hospitals were now concentrated in Philadelphia. On April 26 the following notice appeared in the newspapers:-

“The Commanding Officers of the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland are hereby requested immediately to send such of the sick belonging to their respective corps as are in a situation to be removed, to the General Hospi-


tal in Philadelphia, where the utmose care will be taken of them, agreeable to the plan for regulating the military hospitals, lately established by the Honorable Congress.

                        THOMAS BOND, Jr., Asst. Director

N. B. Dr. Bond will be found at the Director General’s House in 4th Street.”

                Pennsylvania Evening Post, April 26, 1777.

During the winter of 1777-78 there were hospitals at various other places in Pennsylvania. The men of Wayne's Brigade wounded at Paoli were first cared for at Ship's Tavern in Chester County and later taken to Lancaster. On October 11 there were fifty-nine of them there. A part of the wounded from Germantown were at first treated at Falkner's Swamp; but, their wounds being in bad condition, about November they were taken to Reading by Dr. Francis Allison. In November Dr. Allison had thirty-eight sick in the Court House Hospital at Reading, twenty in the Bunkhouse Hospital, and nine in the Potter's shop. For these hospitals he had four female nurses, and there were several female patients, wives of soldiers. There seems to have been a hospital at Yellow Springs during almost the entire war.

After the battle of Germantown, the army retreated twenty miles to Pennypacker's Mills, in fair order. On the 8th a move was made to Kulpsville, where some reinforcements from New England joined the army. On the 16th of October a march was made to Methacton Hill, from which place the army had marched to Germantown. Here the news of Burgoyne’s surrender was received. On the 19th the British retired from Germantown to Philadelphia, and on the 21st the Continental Army was moved down to within fifteen miles of the city. On November 2 it was moved to Whitmarsh Township, within twenty miles of Philadelphia. Here a council of war was held on the question of attacking the city. Eleven officers opposed it; Wayne and three others favored the attack. The Commander in Chief made a personal examination of the works on November 25, and the plan was abandoned.

Valley Forge Map

The next question was in regard to winter quarters. The opinion of the general officers was required in writing. Washington himself decided on Valley Forge, twenty miles from Philadelphia. On December 7 Howe came out and appeared to


tempt the Americans to attack. There was some skirmishing, but as neither side would take the initiative there was no battle. On December 11 the Continental Army marched for Valley Forge and the campaign of the year 1777 was at an end. The army now numbered about 11,000 officers and men. The Maryland Line (about 1400) was stationed at Wilmington, and the regiments of horse at Trenton.

Dr. Albigence Waldo, surgeon of Col. Prentice's Connecticut Regiment, and an original character, marched with the army to Valley Forge, and in his journal has left a series of vivid snapshots of the place.9 He was continually complaining, though in a philosophical and good humored manner. He writes that on December 12 the army crossed the Schuylkill on a bridge of thirty-six wagons and camped at the “Gulph,” and ‘excellent place to raise the Ideas of a Philosopher beyond the glutted thoughts and Reflections of an Epicurean.” As he saw it, the place had two advantages as a camp: first, there was plenty of wood and water; second, there were few families for the soldiers to steal from. He says that up to that time the army had been surprisingly healthy, but now began to grow sickly. If his own case was a fair sample, it was sickly indeed. On December 14 he wrote

“I am sick—discontented—out of humor—poor food—hard lodgings—cold weather—fatigue—Nasty Cloathes—nasty Cookery—vomit—smoked out of my senses—the Devil's in it—I cant endure it.” “There comes a bowl of soup—full of burnt leaves and dirt.”

These conditions explain Dr. Shippen's aversion to camp life. It is quite possible that there was more sickness after the army went into camp than during the months when it had been almost continually in motion.

Dr. Waldo's picture of the poor soldier is pitiful enough.

“There comes a soldier—His bare feet are seen through his wornout shoes—his legs nearly naked from the tattered remains of an only pair of stockings—his breeches not sufficient to cover his Nakedness—his shirt hanging in strings—his hair dishevelled—his face meagre—his whole appearance pictures a person forsaken and discouraged. This poor fellow comes to the doctor


and cries with an air of wretchedness and despair, ‘I am sick, my feet lame, my legs are soar, my body covered with this tormenting Itch, my cloathes are worn out;’ ” and so on.

Even the heroic Anthony Wayne lost his health, if we may believe his letter asking for a leave:

                                “Camp at the Gulph, 19 Decr. 1777.

After struggling with a stubron cold for months, with a pain in my breast, occasioned by a fall at Germantown—the Caitiff has taken post in my Lungs and throat—and unless I am permitted to change my Ground, I dread the consequences.”

He went on to ask a leave of five or six week, which apparently was not granted. The curious thing about this letter is that the camp was almost in sight of Mad Anthony’s home.

On December 16th the baggage trains began to arrive, and tents were pitched for the first time. The weather was cold and rainy. On December 19th the army marched six miles north, to Valley Forge, and on December 21st the work of building huts was begun. There was plenty of wood for fires, and Dr. Waldo now complains that his “skin and eyes are almost spoiled with continued smoke.” The soldiers were crying, “no meat, no meat.” The doctor's eyes got no better and he now, says, “My eyes are started out from their sockets like a Rabbit's eyes, occasioned by a great Cold and Smoke.”

The huts went up slowly. On Christmas day the army was still in tents. The doctor commiserates the sick and gives some hints on their methods of treatment. On the 25th he says,

A Valley Forge Soldier

“The poor sick suffer much in tents this cold weather. But we now treat them differently from what they used to be at home. We give them Mutton and Grogg; and a Capital Medicine once in a While, to start the Disease from its foundation at once.”

He goes on to say that but very few died. They were tough, those old Continental soldiers; otherwise they would not have survived such dosing and bleeding as their regimental surgeons used.

On December 23rd there were 2898 sick or unfit for duty on account of lack of clothing or otherwise. Lafayette says they had “neither coats, hats, shirts, nor shoes.” Only trousers, one must conclude.


The clothing allowance at this time was not particularly generous, even on paper. A Resolution of Congress of September 6, 1777, fixed the articles and value as follows:

        1 coat . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8     60/90     dollars.
        1 vest. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2     60/90     dollars.
        1 pr. buckskin & 2 pr.
            linen breeches. .         8                   dollars.
        1 hat or leather cap . . . .2     60/90     dollars.
        2 shirts . . . . . . . . . . . . .8                   dollars.
        1 hunting shirt. . . . . . . . 4                   dollars.
        2 pr. overhalls. . . . . . . .6                   dollars.
        2 pr. stockings. . . . . . . .4                  dollars.
        2 pr. shoes. . . . . . . . . . 6                   dollars.
        1 blanket . . . . . . . . . . . 6                   dollars.

                Total                   56

As the clothing allowance was but 47 60/90 dollars, the balance of 8 30/90 was to be charged to the soldier. No mention is made of overcoats nor of underclothing.

Washington’s personal accounts seem to indicate that for their Christmas dinner his headquarters mess had neither cake, bread, butter, nor any delicacies whatever, but only meat and some vegetables as turnips and cabbage. It was seldom that both meat and bread were had at the same time; and when they were, wood could scarcely be obtained for cooking. The roads were so bad that the poor, half starved horses could not haul firewood from the near-by forests. Clothing was of the scantiest, as was food: the army being destitute of almost all necessities, because of the worthlessness of the Continental currency, now taken only at the rate of three or four dollars to one in specie. Congress, instead of providing real money, resolved, on December 31st, to seize for the use of the army all woolens, blankets, stockings, shoes, provisions, &c., that were anywhere offered for sale.

There was much discontent among the officers. On the 28th of December Waldo notes that upwards of fifty officers in Greene’s Division had resigned, on account of their families not being provided for. The families of privates seem to have been cared for, but officers had nothing but the now nearly worthless Continental currency.


The end of the year came with the army still in tents. Waldo asked for a leave, which was approved by General Huntington of his brigade, but held up by Surgeon John Cochran, who said he could not spare him, as the troops were being inoculated and “a number of surgeons had gotten away in some crafty manner.” On January 3rd there was no bread, but this failure may have been slightly balanced by the promise of a month’s extra pay to every officer and man who should live in huts throughout the winter. It seems that officers as well as men worked on these huts, for on January 4th, which was a Sunday, Waldo worked as a mason, building a chimney for his domicile. The huts were at last completed on January 6th, and on this day the army heard that a British ship had been captured, containing enough fine cloth to make uniforms for all the officers of the army. On January 8th Waldo received his furlough and left at once. One almost regrets that he was not tempted by that month’s extra Continental money to remain and continue his diary; for he tells us no more of Valley Forge.

The capture of this brig, the “Symmetry”, makes clear that medical officers at that time had no rank and few rights which Line officers would concede to them. Washington, however, whose judicial fairness was seldom at fault, conceded equal rights to medical officers, and protected them in these rights. The phrase “As the common Guardian of the rights of every Man in this Army”, gives a valuable light on the character of a truly great man.

The captured brig—taken by General Smallwood’s Maryland Brigade in the Delaware, near Wilmington—contained many articles much needed by officers and men, and there was a scramble for them, under the Prize Law; but medical officers were left entirely outside the distribution. They complained to Dr. Cochran, then acting Medical Director of the Middle Department, and he laid the matter before General Washington ;—hence the following letter:-

            “Head Quarters, Valley Forge, 13 Jan 1778.

Dear Sir: Since writing to you this morning on the subject of the prize Brig Symetry, the Regulations of the Field Officers for conducting the sale and disposing of the cargo was laid before me with a letter from the Regimental Surgeons and Mates,


by Dr. Cochran. These gentlemen feel themselves so much hurt by the discrimination made by these regulations between them and the officers of the division that they have sent in their resignations.

“As the common Guardian of the Rights of every Man in this Army I am constrained to interfere in this matter and to say that by these regulations a manifest injury is intended not only to the Gentlemen in the medical line, but to the whole Staff, who, supposing the prize should be adjudged the sole property of the captors (a matter in my opinion not easily to be reconciled on principles of equity and Reason) have as good a right to become purchasers in the first instance, and to all other priviledges, as any Officers in the Division.

For these reasons therefore I desire that you will not proceed to a Sale or distribution of any of the Articles, except the vessel, till you have my further directions, and that you will as early as possible transmit me an inventory of the Baggage and Stores.

The letter to Congress is nevertheless to go on, and you will please to forward it by the first conveyance.
                            “I am, Dear Sir,
                                Yr most obt. Servt.
                                    G. WASHINGTON.”


Washington again wrote General Smallwood.

“A few days ago I received a very polite letter from Doctor Bayes, Surgeon of the 15th British Regt, requesting me to return him some valuable medical manuscripts, taken in the Brig Symetry. He says they are packed in a neat kind of portable library, and consist of: Dr. Cullen's lectures on the practice of medicine, 39 or 40 vols., Cullen's lectures on the Institute of Med., 18 vols.; Anatomical lectures, 8 vols; and Dr. Black on Chemistry, 9 vols; the whole in octavo. If they can be found, I beg that they may be sent up to me, that I may return them to the Doctor. I have no other view in doing this, than in showing our enemies that we do not war against Sciences.”

Dr. Cullen was the Osler of his day, the leading medical teacher and writer of the English speaking world. He took a broad and comprehensive view of the whole field of medicine and, like Hunter, was a great thinker; but the fundamentals of his structure being conjectural, the whole has since fallen to the ground.


A General Order of January 7th stated that

“In future there is to be appointed every day a regimental officer of the Day, whose business it will be to visit the Huts morning and Evening and make the Soldiers Keep them clean and in good order, as also to see that the Camp is kept clean and that the Quarter Guard keep in good order.” (January 8th), “The Commander in Chief * * * being also informed that many men are rendered unfit for duty by itch, he orders and directs that the Regimental Surgeons look attentively into this matter, and as soon as the men who are affected with this disorder are properly disposed in Huts, to have them annointed for it.”

An order of the 6th directed the surgeon to apply to Dr. Cochran for sulphur, presumably for that purpose.

The sick accumulated, and it was decided to erect hospitals for them by brigades. The men were then busy building huts for themselves and the officers. Similar huts, but larger, were to be built for the sick,—two huts to each brigade, of possibly twelve hundred men. A General Order of January 9th read:

“The Officers commanding Brigades in each Division are to fix on some suitable place in their respective Brigades where Hospitals may be erected: one for the sick of each Brigade, and as soon as men can possibly be spared from hutting; they are to erect these Hospitals.”

Conservation is not a new thing: an order directed that all cattles’ feet be boiled down and that all dirty tallow and ashes be saved and made into soap.

On January 13th the plans for the camp hospitals, or flying hospitals as they were called, were promulgated.

“The Flying Hospital Hutts are to be 15 feet wide and 25 feet long in the clear, and the story at least 9 feet high, to be covered with boards or shingles only, without any dirt. Windows made on each side, and a chimney at one end: Two such hospitals are to be made for each Brigade, at or near the Center and if the ground permits of it, not more than 100 yards from the Brigade.”

An order of January 15th provided that straw should be issued for the huts, and the regimental surgeons were directed to see that it was supplied to the sick in the hospitals. On Jan-


uary 21 an order directed the surgeons to cease sending the sick away; to report them to the brigade hospitals, where they would either be cared for or sent to a general hospital. The friends of the sick men wished to take them home rather than let them be sent to a hospital, and often with good reason, for the hospitals were only too frequently but stopping places on the way to the hereafter.

Following the failure of the Conway Cabal, in March the Inspector General, Conway, and the Quartermaster General,. Mifflin, resigned; leading to a reorganization of the staff of the army. Washington induced General Greene to accept the position of Quartermaster, although, as Greene said, no one ever heard of a quartermaster achieving fame. The staff as now made up consisted of the following officers:

    Quartermaster . . . General Nathaniel Greene, of Rhode Island.
    Commissary General . . Jeremiah Wadsworth, of Connecticut.
    Inspector General . . . . Baron Steuben, of Germany.
    Adjutant Gen. . . Col. Alexander Scammell, of New Hampshire.

The organization of the battalions was somewhat changed, each battalion being reduced to nine companies with a strength of five hundred and eighty-two men. The regiments of cavalry and artillery had but three hundred and eighty eight men each. No troops were required of South Carolina and Georgia except for local defense.

These changes in the staff were of the greatest importance. All the officers were from New England, capable in business and affairs; except Baron Steuben, the energetic drill master. Hugginson says of him

“The winter at Valley Forge was worse than the winter at Morristown. Steuben took the hungry soldiers, who hitherto had no uniform drill—who mustered sometimes thirty men to a regiment and marched in Indian file—and drilled them into an army.”

Among other measures instituted by Steuben was a regular inspection of clothing.10

Dr. James Tilton says of Steuben’s work:-


“The regular muster of clothing is of immense consequence to our army. Before the introduction of this measure, our army was kept bare and naked, by multitudes of soldiers selling their clothes for drink, and otherwise wasting them. When Baron Steuben was appointed inspector General, besides the muster of clothing, he introduced a number of salutary regulations, which contributed more to the health and comfort of the troops, than did the utmost efforts of all the medical staff.”

Venereal disease was no respector of the heroes of the American Revolution. It may have been Steuben who inspired a resolution of Congress laying a pecuniary penalty on all soldiers—and officers—entering the hospitals on account of these affections

“Jan. 6, 1778. RESOLVED That the sum of ten dollars shall be paid by every officer, and the sum of four dollars by every soldier, who shall enter or be sent into any hospital to be cured of the venereal disease; which sums shall be deducted out of their pay, and an account thereof shall be transmitted by the physician or surgeon who shall have attended them, to the regimental paymaster for that purpose; the money so arising to be paid to the director general, or his order, to be appropriated to the purchasing blankets and shirts for the use of sick soldiers in the hospital.”

The expenses of the Hospital Department increased by leaps and bounds under Dr. Shippen. Dr. John Morgan has informed us that during the year he was in charge, the total cost did not exceed 30,000 pounds, the equivalent of 90,000 dollars. Dr. Morgan was dismissed on January 9, 1777, and Dr. Shippen had charge of all expenditures until February 6, 1778, when the Director General was “excused from the duty of providing supplies” as Tilton intimated. There is no record of any appropriation, except of small amounts, until April 17, when $100,000 was advanced to Dr. Wm. Shippen for the use of the hospitals. Other appropriations followed:


        April 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$100,000
        July 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 25,000
        July 12, by Connecticut. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$   8,000
        August 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 50,000
        Sept. 13, by Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 50,000
        Nov. 12, by Massachusetts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 67,000
        Dec. 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 50,000
        Dec. 1, by Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 50,000

            Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        $430,000

This total does not include many small items amounting in all to many thousands of dollars. It does not appear to include the expenses of the Northern Army, for in January 1778 Dr. Jonathan Potts drew $150,000 for that Army. Dr. Shippen was allowed $40,000 additional on April 18, 1778, presumably to settle back bills. Neither does the principal sum appear to include the expenses of the Southern Department, which in May 1776 and again on August 9, 1777, the Congress declared to be independent. On July 5, 1777, $54,000 was appropriated for the Southern Department. The grand total approximates $700,000. The accounts of Shippen alone, when finally submitted in 1780, amounted to $652,000.

The total is a tremendous advance on the amount spent by Dr. Morgan. The value of this money, however, was considerably below par, as Continental currency had already depreciated in value.

An unfortunate occurrence of the winter at Valley Forge was the Conway Cabal, an intrigue by a band of officers and others, including Conway and Gates, designed to displace Washington in favor of Gates. Though having the support of many, the cabal was dispelled as soon as made public. The worthless Conway was driven from the army after being seriously wounded in a duel with General Cadwalader. Dr. Benjamin Rush was strongly suspected of having taken part in the plot. He resigned from the army in February 1778; forced out, as he said, by the malevolence of Dr. Shippen. If this was true, the Conway Cabal afforded Shippen an instrument with which to accomplish his purpose. Dr. Rush retired to his medical and college work and continued to take an active part in his profession, as well as in public affairs. Nor did his patriotism diminish. In a letter to


Dr. James McHenry, dated May 17, he wrote:

“While I am forced by the violence and weight of Dr. Shippen's friends into retirement * * * I hope no man will relax in his zeal and industry in serving his country, by contemplating my fate.”

There were already rumors of extravagance in the expenditures of the Hospital Department, as well as complaints of various kinds. It was more than hinted that Dr. Shippen was profiting by these expenditures. That Congress was not convinced of Shippen's integrity seems clear from the resolutions of February 6:-

“RESOLVED, That the Superintending care of the director general be extended equally over the hospitals in every district, and that he be excused from the duty of providing supplies, when the deputy director general shall be ready to enter upon his office.”

The principal army was in the Middle Department, which had been given no deputy director general, but was under the direct charge of the director general. To carry out the provisions of the above resolution, Dr. Jonathan Potts was selected on the same day as deputy director general of the Middle Department. Dr. Rush was succeeded by Dr. William Brown, and Dr. Charles McKnight succeeded Dr. Brown, on February 21.

The Continental Army remained at Valley Forge until well into the summer. in June the approach of a French fleet threatened to close the Delaware, and on the 17th Sir Henry Clinton, who had relieved Lord Howe, evacuated Philadelphia and marched across Jersey toward New York. On the 18th, learning of this movement, Washington broke camp and marched for the Trenton ferry. The British had held Philadelphia only nine months, and although comfortable there, the morale of the army had probably declined. Hundreds of Hessians and some few British soldiers now deserted the British army and remained in Pennsylvania. In spite of sufferings at Valley Forge, the Continental Army was again strong, cheerful and eager to attack the retreating foe. The British army was again shut up in New York. The really great plan of cutting the colonies in two had failed; the critical year of the war had been safely passed.



1 July 16, 1777.

RESOLVED, that for carrying into execution the resolve respecting Colonel Nicola's corps of invalids, the following plan, for raising one company, be adopted for raising the whole of the said corps:

1. That the director general of the continental hospital be desired to give directions to the Physician and surgeons, in the different departments, at a reasonable distance from Philadelphia, that before they discharge any sergeants, corporals or private men from the hospitals as unfit for service, they consider, whether such men are actually, or likely soon to be capable of doing garrison duty; and, if thought so, to mention it in the discharge, that they may not be entirely discharged from the service, but transferred from the regiment to which they belong, to that of invalids.

2. That notice be sent, by the Board of War, to the generals, &c. * * * Men having only one leg or arm each, if otherwise capable of doing garrison duty, are to be deemed proper recruits for this corps.

The resolution goes on to provide for advertising in the various newspapers, concerning the corps of invalids and the method of transfer. Only those officers who had served with reputation and had good character both as citizens and soldiers were advised to apply for transfer to the corps.

2 The army was now in four divisions, under Greene, Stephen, Lincoln and Stirling, with four regiments of horse. The order of march through the city was:-

        A lieutenant and twelve Light horse.
        200 Guards.
        A complete troop of Light horse.
        Interval 200 yards.
        Bland's and Boylan's regiments of horse.
        Interval 100 yards.
        Company of Pioneers, with axes.
        Interval 100 yards.
        One regiment of Muhlenberg's Brigade.
        Muhlenberg's Artillery.
        Four brigades infantry with their artillery.
        Lincoln's Division.
        Lord Stirling's Division.
        Rear Guard.
            One regiment infantry.
            Interval 150 yards.
            Two regiments Light horse.
            Interval 150 yards.
            One troop Light horse.


General Knyphausen’s Division:
    Sterne’s Brigade, 4 Hessian Battalions.
    1st British Brigade, 4th, 5th, 23rd and 49th Regiments.


    2nd  Brigade, 10th, 27th, 28th and 40th Regiments.
    Three battalions of 71st Regiment,—Fraser’s Highlanders.
    Queen’s Rangers (American Loyalists).
    One squadron of 16th Light Dragoons.
    Ferguson’s Corps of Riflemen.

General Cornwallis’s Division:
    2 Battalions Light Infantry.
    2 Battalions Guards.
    3 Battalions Hessian Grenadiers.
    3rd British Brigade: 15th, 33rd, 44th and 55th Regiments.
    4th Brigade: 17th, 37th, 46th and 69th Regiments.
    2 squadrons 16th Light Infantry.
    Mounted and dismounted Hessian Chasseurs (Yaegers).

The Third Brigade, in reserve, was not engaged; neither was the cavalry engaged.
The 40th Foot does not appear in this list, but was a part of the army.

4 In October, 1779, the Wardens of the Single Brethren petitioned Congress to reimburse them for the actual outlays made in restoring their building to its former condition.




Glazing, 121 panes glass
Painting 27 rooms
130 window frames
Stair banisters and presses




Manonwork, whitening and 55 bbls lime



Cleaning house, yard and scraping walls


8 Earthen Stoves


Repairs to locks of doors, &c.


Carpenter and Joiner work







No charge was made for the rent, loss to trades nor for any intangible damages.


James Tilton was born in Kent County, Delaware, on June 1, 1745. His father died when he was but three years old, leaving his mother in straitened circumstances. Nevertheless, he received an excellent education at the


academy of Reverend Finley of Nottingham. He began the study of medicine with Dr. Ridgely of Dover, and in 1765 completed his studies at the Philadelphia Medical School; graduating with the first medical class in America. He returned to Dover, where he practiced his profession with marked success until 1776. He then gave up a large income to become Surgeon of the 1st Delaware Regiment at a salary of twenty-five dollars per month. He followed the fortunes of his regiment, at Long Island, White Plains, and through New Jersey, to the Delaware. lie was then ordered with the sick of his regiment to Wilmington, where he served through the winter. In 1777 he was made a hospital surgeon and was at Princeton when he had typhus arid narrowly escaped death. In 1778 and 1779 he was in charge of hospitals at Trenton and New Windsor, and in the winter of 1779-80 had charge of hospitals in the camp at Morristown. in 1781 he visited Philadelphia and addressed the medical committee of Congress on the subject of hospitals. His plans were largely followed in the reorganization of the hospitals in 1781. He accompanied the army to Yorktown and has left interesting notes on the hospitals there. In 1782 he returned to his practice in Dover. Later he was elected a member of Congress. He lived quietly until the War of 1812, when lie was made Surgeon General of the United States Army.

In 1813 he inspected all the northwestern posts. In 1814 his activities were interfered with by chronic disease which in 1815 necessitated the amputation of a leg. He died May 14, 1822. His most valuable publication is the “Economical Observations on Military Hospitals.”


An Exact Return, of the Sick and Wounded in the American Army.


























North Wales




































Eastern Dept. Hospital


Northern Dept. No Return (estimated)





“Dear Sir: I have the honor of sending your Excellency the above exact Return of the Sick and Wounded in the Armies of the United States, and you may depend on it there are no more than 2784 sick absent in the Middle Department, and that there are never many allowed to continue long sick in Camp. If we can be furnished with Blankets and Cloathing our Sick will soon again be fit for Duty, as no fatal disease rages,

            I am Sir your very Humble and Obedient Servant
                                        W. Shippen, Jr., D/G.

To Henry Laurens
    Pres. Cont. Congress.”

This return does not include the hospital at Ephrata, which had several hundred patients at this time. Nor does it include either the sick in regimental hospitals nor the hundreds who had been allowed to go to their homes. The total was well over 7,000 in an army of no more than 25,000. The Southern Department is not included.

7 Dr. William Brown of Virginia was born in Haddington, Scotland,— where his parents were temporarily residing with relatives,—in 1752. He received his M.D. degree in Edinburgh in 1770 and afterwards settled in Alexandria, Virginia. He soon attained high professional standing and became a friend of Washington, Jefferson and other leading men of the time. In 1776 he entered the Continental Army as surgeon of Col. Woodford's Virginia regiment, and on September 20, 1776, was made assistant to Dr. Shippen, Chief Surgeon of the Flying Camp. When, in 1777, the Medical Department was reorganized he was appointed by the Congress to be Surgeon General of the Eastern Department. On January 3, 1778, he was elected Physician General of the Easten Department, succeeding Dr. Benjamin Rush. He held this position until July 21, 1780, when he resigned, apparently on account of his health. During the winter of 1777-78 he was in charge of hospitals in Pennsylvania, at Lititz and elsewhere. His son, Gustavus Brown, became a physician and practiced in Alexandria, Virginia, for many years. There are now descendents of Dr. William Brown living in Virginia. He died January 13, 1792, and was buried at Preston, an estate near Alexandria.

On his resignation in 1780 the Congress passed this resolution:

RESOLVED, that Congress entertains a high opinion of the ability, integrity and past services of Dr. William Brown, Physician General; but, as circumstances will no longer permit his continuance in the service, his resignation is accepted.


1. The army when in tents was always more sickly than when in the open air. It was likewise more healthy when it was kept in motion than when it lay in encampment.


2. Young men under 20 years of age were subject to the greatest number of camp diseases.

3. The Southern troops were more sickly than the northern or eastern troops.

4. The native Americans were more sickly than the natives of Europe who served in the American Army.

5. Men above 30 and 35 years of age were the hardiest soldiers in the army. Perhaps the reason why the natives of Europe were more healthy than the native Americans was, they were more advanced in life.

6. The Southern troops sickened from the want of salt provisions. Their strength and spirits were restored only by means of salted meat.

7. Those officers who wore flannel shirts or waistcoats next their skins in general escaped fevers and diseases of all kinds.

8. The principal diseases in the hospitals were the typhus gravior and mitior of Dr. Cullen. Men who came into the hospitals with pleurisies and rheumatisms soon lost the types of their original diseases, and suffered, or died, by the above mentioned states of fever.

9. The typhus mitior always prevailed most, and with the worst symptoms, in the winter. A free air, which could only be obtained in summer, always prevented or mitigated it.

10. In all those cases where the contagion was received, cold seldom failed to render it active. Whenever a hospital was removed in winter, one half of the patients generally sickened on the way, or soon after they arrived at the place to which they were sent.

11. Drunken soldiers and convalescents were most subject to the fever.

12. Those patients in this fever who had large ulcers on their backs or limbs, generally recovered.

13. (Unimportant).

14. There were many instances of patients in this fever who suddenly fell down dead upon being removed, without any previous symptoms of approaching dissolution. This was more especially the case when they arose to go to stool.

15. The contagion of this fever was frequently conveyed from the hospital to the camp by means of blankets and clothes. (Lice?).

16. Those black soldiers who had been slaves previously died in greater proportion by the fever, or had a much slower recovery from it, than the same number of white soldiers.


17. The remedies which appeared to do most service in this disease were vomits of tartar emetic, gentle doses of laxative salts, bark, wine, volatile salts, opium and blisters.

18. An emetic seldom failed of checking the fever, if exhibited while it was in a forming state and before the patient was confined to bed.

19. Many causes combined to produce and increase this fever: such as the want of cleanliness, excessive fatigue, the ignorance or negligence of officers in providing suitable diet and accommodations for the men, the general use of linen instead of woolen clothes in the summer months, and the crowding of too many patients together in one hospital, with such other inconveniences and abuses as usually followed the union of the purveying and directing departments of the hospitals in the same persons. But there is one more cause of this fever which remains to be mentioned, and that is the sudden assembling together of a great many persons of different habits and manners, such as the soldiers of the American army were in 1776 and 1777. Dr. Blane informs us, on his observations upon the diseases of seamen, that “it sometimes happens that a ship with a long established crew shall be very healthy, yet if strangers are introduced among them, who are also healthy, sick men will be naturally produced.” The history of diseases furnishes many proofs of this assertion. It is very remarkable that, while the American army at Cambridge, in the year 1775, consisted only of New England men (whose habits and manners were the same) there was scarcely any sickness among them. It was not until the troops of the eastern, middle and southern states met at New york and Ticonderoga in 1776, that the typhus became universal and spread with such mortality in the armies of the United States.

20. The dysentery prevailed in the summer of 1777, in the military hospitals of New Jersey, but with very few instances of mortality. This dysentery was frequently followed by an obstinate diarrhoea, in which the warm bath was found in many instances to be an effectual remedy.

21. * * * * * .

22. In gunshot wounds of the joints, Mr. Ranby’s advice of amputating the limb was followed with success. I saw two cases of death where this advice was neglected.

23. * * * * * * .

24. Those soldiers who were billeted in private houses generally escaped the hospital fever, and recovered sooner from all diseases.

25. Hospitals built of coarse logs, with ground floors with fire places in the middle of them, and a hole in the roof for the discharge of smoke were found to be very conducive to the recovery of soldiers from the hospital fever. This form of hospital was introduced to the army by Dr. (James) Tilton, of the state of Delaware.


26. In fevers and dysenteries, those soldiers recovered most certainly and most speedily who lay at the greatest distance from the walls of the hospitals. This important fact was communicated to me by Dr. Beardsley of Connecticut.

27. Soldiers are but little more than adult children. That officer, therefore, will best perform his duty to his men who obliges them to take the most care of their HEALTH.

28. Hospitals are the sinks of human life in the army. They robbed the United States of more citizens than the sword. Humanity, economy and philosophy all concur in giving a preference to the conveniences, and wholesome air of private houses; and should war continue to be the absurd and unchristian mode of deciding national disputes, it is to be hoped that the progress of science will so far mitigate one of the greatest calamities as to produce an abolition of hospitals for acute diseases. Perhaps there are no cases of sickness, in which reason and religion do not forbid the seclusion of our fellow creatures from the offices of humanity in private families, except where they labour under the calamities of madness and the venereal disease, or where they are the subjects of some of the operations of surgery.

The Results of observations made upon the diseases which occurred in the military hospitals of the U. S. during the late War.”

                                        Dr. Benjamin Rush.

9 Albigence Waldo was born at Pomfret, Connecticut, about the year 1750. He had a common school education, with some knowledge of Latin. At an early age he was apprenticed to Dr. John Spalding of Canterberry. He had begun the practice of medicine when the war broke out. He was made mate of Col. Huntington's regiment in September 1775, serving at Boston, New York, and in New Jersey. When the army was reorganized in January 1777 be became surgeon of the 1st Connecticut Regiment. He served through all the campaigns of this regiment, including Germantown and Monmouth. After the war he returned to Windham County, Connecticut, where he practiced with much success. lie was a public spirited citizen, with a love for music, painting, and literature. He delivered orations on public occasions, was an active member of several medical societies, and was instrumental in forming the first medical society in Connecticut. He died in 1794.


Extract from. Baron Steuben's Army Regulations.

“There is nothing which gains an officer the love of his soldiers more than his care of them, under the distress of sickness: it is then he has the power of exerting his humanity, in providing them every comfortable necessity, and making their situation as agreeable as possible.

“Two or three tents should be set apart in every regiment, for the reception of such sick, as cannot be sent to the general hospital, or whose


cases may not require it; and every company shall be constantly furnished with two sacks, to be occasionally filled with straw, and serve as beds for the sick. These sacks to be provided in the same manner as clothing for troops, and finally issued by the regimental clothier, to the captain of each company, who shall be answerable (accountable) for the same.

“When a soldier dies or is dismissed the hospital, the straw he lay on is to be burnt, and the bedding well washed and aired before another is permitted to use it. The sergeants and corporals shall every morning at roll-call, give a return of the sick of their respective squads, to the first sergeant, who must make out one for the company, and lose no time in delivering it to the surgeon, who will immediately visit them, and order such as he thinks proper, to the regimental hospital; such whose eases require their being sent to the general hospital, he is to report immediately to the Surgeon General, or principal surgeon attending the army.

“Once every week, amid oftener when required, the surgeon will deliver the commanding officer of the regiment, a return of the sick of the regiment, with their disorders, distinguishing those in the regimental hospital from those who are out of it.

“When a soldier is sent to the hospital, the non commissioned officer of his squad shall deliver up his arms and accoutrements to the commanding officer of the company, that they may be deposited in the regimental armchest.

“When a soldier has been sick he must not be put on duty, till he has recovered sufficient strength, of which the surgeon shall be judge.

“The surgeons are to remain with their regiments, as well on a march as in camp, that, in case of sudden accidents, they may be at hand, to apply the proper remedies.

“Each regiment will furnish a noncommissioned officer, to conduct the sick and lame, who are riot able to march with their regiments.

“These men are to repair at the beating of the general (a drum call), to the rendezvous appointed, where a sufficient number of empty wagons will be ordered to attend, for the receiption of their knapsacks; and their arms if necessary.

“A surgeon of each brigade, is to attend the sick belonging to it.

“The commanding officer of each battalion, will inspect the sick before they are sent from the battalion, in order that none may be sent but those who are really incapable of marching with their regiments.”

These regulations were not approved and issued by Congress until 1779, but it is probable that they were put in force by Steuben much earlier, and are a part of the reforms referred to by Dr. Tilton. The third paragraph, requiring burning of bed straw and washing of clothing, is the most important one of the lot. The use of wagons to haul the packs and arms of the footsore is interesting. There were no ambulances, no concession to weakness even by allowing wagons for transportation of the weary; the utmost was to carry their loads for them.