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Famine in the American Camp

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

January 22.—A writer in the American camp at Baskenridge, in New Jersey, in a letter of this date, says:—”We have had a fast lately in camp, by general constraint, of the whole army, in which we fasted more sincerely and truly for three days than ever we did from all the resolutions of Congress put together. This was occasioned by the severity of the weather, and drifting of the snow, whereby the roads were rendered impassable, and all supplies of provisions cut off, until the officers were obliged to release the soldiers from command, and permit them to go in great numbers together into the country to get provision where they could find it.

“The inhabitants of this part of the country discovered a noble spirit in feeding the soldiers; and to the honor of the soldiery, they received what they got with thankfulness, and did little or no damage. As soon as the roads were broken, and the brave fellows got their bellies full, they went, with amazing alacrity, on the Staten Island expedition; but the British getting intelligence, our people, after reconnoitring their strength, returned not a little disappointed. They did little more than bum a large fortified house and five small vessels, after stripping them of every thing valuable.”1


1 Maryland Journal, February 8.