Putrid fever, the itch, diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism were some of the afflictions suffered by the Continental troops. At Valley Forge the Hospital Department inoculated two to three thousand against smallpox. Medicine, food, blankets and even straw for bedding were in short supply.
All kinds of "Dirt and Filth" were ordered burned or buried. General Orders in May requested mud plaster removed, huts made as airy as possible, and "the Powder of a Musquet Cartridge burnt in each hut daily to purify the Air."
As filth and offal accumulated in and around the huts, the number of sick increased. Washington continually issued orders to clean up the huts.
" . . . the smell was in some places intolerable, owing to the want of Necessaries or the Neglect of them . . . "
June 10 the Army moved from huts to tents.
At camp, brigade hospitals treated the less seriously ill and those recovering from the small-pox inoculation. When the sick overflowed these "flying hospitals," meeting houses and barns within a few miles of camp were pressed into service.
The seriously ill were moved to general hospitals at Yellow Springs, Bethlehem, Lititz, Reading and Ephrata.