Questions and notes from reading “Washington’s Secret War The Hidden History of Valley Forge” by Thomas Fleming

Questions from “Washington’s Secret War The Hidden History of Valley Forge” by Thomas Fleming Copyright 2005, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Section 2 — Revels and Redcoats

  1. Why did Quakers oppose the American Revolution?  Why did they ignore the plight of the starving and freezing American prisoners of war in Philadelphia? Did their attitudes change after being exposed to British decadence?(see ch. XVII, pg 63)
  2. Was Mrs. Loring, who was seen with William Howe at the Southwark Theater outside Philadelphia, effectively his mistress?  In contrast to the American army, what other evidence is there that the British army was severely lacking in moral virtues? (see ch XVIII, pg 65)
  3. Were British officers as committed to fighting the war as the American rebels?  How does the statement by Loftus Cliffe, a lieutenant in the 46th Infantry Regiment in a letter to his brother that he was thinking of selling his commission and quitting the army if he did not get promoted soon shed light on this? Did General Howe’s causual methods of promoting officers on a whim encourage or discourage the moral of his troops? (see ch X, pgs 50-52)
  4. Why did so many supplies get smuggled into the British occupied Philadelphia despite the presence of American rebels in the surrounding countryside?   Were there economic incentives that promoted smuggling supplies to the British? (see ch XIX, pg 68)

Section 3 – Idealogues Front and Center

  1. The American revolutionary forces that fought against the British included various militias as well as Continentals.  How did these forces differ — e.g. how were they recruited, what was the duration of their service, how were they provisioned, who were they ultimately accountable to?
  2. Why did the Whig’s prefer militias to standing armies?  How did this attitude and the states’ handling of the militias detract from the strength of Washington’s army?
  3. Why did some want to see General Gates replace George Washington as the effective commander in chief of the army?

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