Out of approximately 12,000 soldiers who marched in, about 2,000 soldiers died during the winter encampment at Valley Forge in 1777 and 1778. Approximately two-thirds of the deaths resulted from the typhus, typhoid, dysentery and influenza that spread among the men.
Resources at Valley Forge were scarce but available. The men built about 2,000 log cabins for shelter, making use of the abundant Pennsylvania wood while clearing space for drills. The best equipped units foraged for food and patrolled, while the soldiers who lacked adequate clothing remained in the camp where it was warmer. For a while, soldiers subsisted on fire cake, a form of johnnycake made of flour and water baked in the ashes of a fire, but in February, Brigadier General Anthony Wayne gathered a small herd of 50 cattle and 30 horses with other supplies for additional late winter provisions.