Diamond commented that the story of Valley Forge is one of the things in American history that has been sanitized. He said: "It's amazing how sanitized and romanticized, I guess you would say, American history is. It's devoid of pretty much all faiths, and then we just give such a small blurb of history. We don't understand really what a lot of people went through."
The theologian added that the fighting men at Valley Forge went through a lot of suffering. They endured the bitter winter and conflict of the Revolutionary War to give the current generation of Americans the freedoms they have today.
Diamond also lauded his guest for bringing out the truths and the facts of the matter about American history. Federer and his wife Susie co-authored "Miracles in American History," which discussed the untold and miraculous stories about Valley Forge and the Revolutionary War.
Federer then recounted the events of Valley Forge, which occurred after the Battle of Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777. George Washington, who was the commander of the Continental Army, led his forces to a hasty retreat at Valley Forge outside of Philadelphia. Washington and 11,000 soldiers under him took camp there on Dec. 19, 1777. (Related: History lesson: here's what we know about George Washington's cultivation of hemp.)
According to the author, the soldiers at Valley Forge were from every state of the Union, with their ages ranging from as young as 12 to as old as 60. While most of the soldiers were of European descent, there were also African American and American Indian soldiers who were at Valley Forge.
Prominent people – including the Marquis de Lafayette, Col. Anthony Wayne, future Chief Justice John Marshall, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg and Washington's Jewish physician Dr. Philip Moses Russell – also joined the first U.S. president at the winter camp.
However, the encampment was marred with suffering and death due to lack of food and supplies. According to Federer, 2,500 individuals either froze to death in the bitter cold or perished from hunger, typhoid, jaundice, dysentery or pneumonia. An estimated 500 women who followed the Continental Army died at Valley Forge.
But members of the Continental Army did not waver. Federer quoted Hessian Maj. Carl Leopold Bauermeister, who noted that "the only thing that kept the American army from disintegrating was their spirit of liberty."
Later presidents would remember this event.
Former President Dwight Eisenhower recalled Valley Forge in a White House broadcast. He recounted that Washington, "on his knees at Valley Forge seeking divine guidance in the cold gloom of a bitter winter, gained strength to lead to independence a nation dedicated to the belief that each of us is divinely endowed with indestructible rights."
Former President Ronald Reagan, meanwhile, said in a radio address that "the image of Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow is one of the most famous in American history."
Federer also shared to Diamond a historical fact about the Redcoats. The British Army under the command of Gen. John Burgoyne landed in Canada and went down the Hudson River Valley toward Albany, with the expectation that Gen. Henry Clinton would come up from New York City to back them up. However, Gen. William Howe had another plan.
Instead of assisting Burgoyne in taking Albany, Howe marched toward Philadelphia and captured the City of Brotherly Love. While the general was victorious in taking the city, the Continental Congress refused to surrender and evacuated Philadelphia. Federer added that the Congress even took the Liberty Bell with them for fear that the British would melt it down and turn it into ammunition.
Burgoyne and his forces were defeated at the Battle of Saratoga.
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