Lunch at the Library: "Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778" with Ricardo Herrera

12:00 p.m. ET

Benjamin Franklin Hall

427 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106.

feeding washington's army

NOTE: In-person registration for this event is now closed. Interested in attending in-person? Join us on June 1, 2023 at 7pm ET at Washington Crossing! Details here.


In this major new history of the Continental Army’s Grand Forage of 1778, award-winning military historian Ricardo A. Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution: the Valley Forge winter. Here, the army launched its largest and riskiest operation—not a bloody battle against British forces but a campaign to feed itself and prevent starvation or dispersal during the long encampment. Herrera brings to light the army’s herculean efforts to feed itself, support local and Continental governments, and challenge the British Army.


Highlighting the missteps and triumphs of both General George Washington and his officers as well as ordinary soldiers, sailors, and militiamen, Feeding Washington’s Army moves far beyond oft-told, heroic, and mythical tales of Valley Forge and digs deeply into its daily reality, revealing how close the Continental Army came to succumbing to starvation and how strong and resourceful its soldiers and leaders actually were.


This event will take place on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. ET in Benjamin Franklin Hall and will also be livestreamed.


This event is free to attend but registration is required. Please register to attend in-person and online.


Lunch will be provided to those attending in person.


Can't make it? Want to catch it again? Join us on Thursday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET for a lecture at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Details here.

Dr. Ricardo A. Herrera is Visiting Professor, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College, and an award-winning author. Herrera is the author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2022); For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775-1861 (New York: New York University Press, 2015); and of numerous articles and chapters on US military history. He is now completing the tentatively-titled A Most Uncommon Soldier: The Life, Letters, and Journal of Edward Ashley Bowen Phelps, 1814-1893, an edited collection, to be published by the University Press of Kansas. Herrera’s next project will examine the 1778 and 1779 campaigns for Savannah during the American War for Independence. Before joining the Army War College, Rick Herrera was Professor of Military History at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College. A graduate of Marquette University (PhD, 1998) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1984), Herrera was previously a historian on the Staff Ride Team, US Army Combined Arms Center, and taught at Mount Union College and Texas Lutheran University. He has also served as an armor and cavalry officer in the US Army.