The Cost of Independence

On the day after Christmas the soldiers waded through snow halfway to their knees. Soon it was red from their bleeding feet. The cold stung like a whip. The huts were “like dungeons… full as noisome.” Tar, pitch, and powder had to be burned in them to drive away the awful stench. The horses “died by hundreds every week”; the soldiers, staggering with weaknesses as they were, hitched themselves to the wagons and did the necessary hauling. If a portion of earth was warmed by the fires or by their trampling feet, it froze again into ridges which cut like knives. Often some of the few blankets in the army were torn into strips and wrapped around the naked feet of the soldiers only to be rent to shreds by the sharp ice under foot. Sick men lay in filthy hovels covered only by their rags, dying and dead comrades crowded by their sides.

The Life of John Marshall Volumes I and II, Albert J. Beveridge, 1929, 1916.

If you’d like, you may skim through eleven years’ worth of Independence Day posts. There are some good ones. I especially like those that focus on The Grievances but there are a grillin’ out posts, and smatterings of other history, biographies of lesser known Founders, and much more.

This year my Independence Day theme is shame–as in we should be ashamed of ourselves. And as this isn’t a political blog, I shall say no more.