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Daniel Wigner at Valley Forge

Excerpt by Ethel Nielsen

Supplying Troops at Valley Forge

      Daniel Wigner, born July 3l, 1755-1840, served under George Washington at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777. Daniel drove a team from the head of Elk to Valley Forge as well as into the back country and back again to Valley Forge.

      It was difficult to recruit wagnoneers. Pennsylvania farmers often hid their horses and wagons rather than contract with the Army. Continental money was nearly worthless and roads were rutted quagmires. Temperatures were mostly in the 20ís and 30ís with 13 days of rain or snow during the first six weeks.

      It was normal for 18th Century armies to cease combat during the coldest months and take up "winter quarters." Valley Forge, 25 miles from Philadelphia, was a good choice since it was located on a high plateau. Clothing and feeding the troops was a challenge and transportation was the major stumbling block. The supplies were out there but getting them to Valley Forge seemed impossible.

      America's first true military hospital was built at Yellow Springs about 10 miles west of the Encampment. About 300 sick men were accommodated in the large three-story wood structure. It is not known just how many became seriously ill during the Encampment nor how many died. Even in the mild weather of late spring, the medical department informed General Washington that 1,000 men were too ill for combat. It is estimated the number who died at camp or in hospitals to be as high as 3,000.

      Daniel served for 12 months at Valley Forge and was dismissed by Nickolar Weaver who was Captain over the Waggons. Daniel also served in the Militia where he marched to the Delaware River under General Potter. He served again in 1781 and a record of his service can be found in his application for pension made after the Congress Act of June 7, 1832.

       Daniel and his father, Captain Christopher, served in the PA Militia while living in Springfield TWP Bucks County. Daniel married and stayed on there until about 1799 when Daniel and Elizabeth with six of their children moved to a farm (Wigner Run) in Harrison County, above Smithville, now West Va.. The 1790 Census shows Daniel still in Bucks County, Series M637, Roll 8, page 280.

      About 1816, Daniel moved his family to a farm near a bend in Raccoon Creek in Green TWP, Gallia County, Ohio, where it is believed they are buried in unmarked graves in the Mulbert Cemetery. This cemetery is not far from Raccoon Creek (Wigner Bend ). Daniels Will is found on page 381, Vol. D. in the courthouse Gallia County, Ohio.

       [1]The above description of Valley Forge was taken from Vol. 31, #3/4 Valley Forge Newsletter, 2007.

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