“The only things outnumbering redcoats are black flies,” I muttered to myself as I came to the Pennsylvania State House. I peered up at the soaring tower to see the great bell that had been rung to summon folk to hear the Declaration of Independence.
The tower was empty. Mystified, my eyes fell to the second-story windows that fronted the Long Gallery—site of elegant state dinners. But Congress had long since fled the city, and no elegant diners peered down from the Long Gallery today. Instead, I spied a crowd of gaunt, ragged men, eyes huge in their skeletal faces.
Horrified, I reined in Daisy and Buttercup. Women in sober Quaker clothes were carrying baskets toward the State House door.
I called out to one. “Mistress, who are those men in the Long Gallery?”
“The British are using it as a prison,” she answered sadly, “for wounded Continental soldiers captured at Brandywine and Germantown. The blockade made food scarce in the city, and the British expect the Americans to supply food for their own men held here. The American army can barely feed itself, let alone spare any for these poor starved creatures.”
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