"German immigrants brought other Christmas customs with them, as well. As early as the mid-
"In addition to its large German population, Pennsylvania became home to many Scotch-Irish
The German Christmas blended lively folk customs with devout religious observances. This
Contributor: Carol Moore
Source: "Christmas in Colonial America" htttp://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/America,+Christmas+in+Colonial
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The Museum of the American Revolution, which is under construction in Old City, recom-
mends this book by Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life (New York: Penguin Press, 2010).
"The Continental Army endured incredible hardships at their winter encampment in Valley Forge from 1777-1778, while 20 miles away the British reveled in their occupation of Philadelphia. George Washington had struggled with the baffling question of where to house his vagabond, threadbare army during the frigid months ahead. The specter of a harsh winter was alarming: four thousand men lacked a single blanket.
If Washington withdrew further into Pennsylvania's interior, his army might be secure, but the area already teemed with patriotic refugees from Philadelphia. Such a move would also allow Howe's men to scavenge the countryside outside Philadelphia and batten freely off local
farms. Further complicating his decision was that he had to ensure the safety of two homeless legislatures, now stranded in exile: the Continental Congress in York and the Pennsylvania legislature in Lancaster.
""Washington opted for a spot that was fated to become hallowed ground: Valley Forge, a windswept plateau that he would depict as 'a dreary kind of place and uncomfortably provided.'
"Even before Washington arrived there, the Pennsylvania legislature had the cheek to criticize him for taking his men into winter camp, as if he were retiring into plush quarters. But already
on the icy road to Valley Forge, Washington had spotted streaks of blood from his barefoot men, portending things to come.
"'I can assure those gentlemen,' Washington wrote testily, 'that it is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and snow without clothes or blankets. However, although they seem to have little feeling for the naked, distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them and from my soul pity those miseries which it is neither in my power to relieve or prevent.' This was a new voice for Washington, reflecting a profound solidarity with his men that went beyond Revolutionary ideology and arose from the special camaraderie of shared suffering."