Q.Where can I find info on whether the spring run of shad up Valley Creek was an important source of food for Washington's army?
Edward Howey, Denver, PA
A.One of the traditions of Valley Forge is the supposedly fortuitous arrival of an early (and large) run of shad in the Schuylkill River. There have been some authors who contributed this run of shad to the end of the famine for the soldiers — but this is undocumented. There are several archival resources that mention the possibility of using fish — cured and fresh — for the men. In a letter 23 March 1778 Horatio Gates writes to Henry Hollinsworth and specifically mentions shad — but not a run "saving" the soldiers at Valley Forge.
SAS, Courtesy The Valley Forge Historical Society