14 Oct History Repeats Itself: Supply Chain at Valley Forge
Have you read Washington’s Secret War by Thomas Fleming? It’s a great historical account of Washington and his troops during their 1777 winter at Valley Forge. As I read about Washington’s ferocity and his political maneuvering in the face of numerous obstacles, I found many parallels in the political and pandemic environment today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our supply chains. There are capacity shortages due to a variety of factors from drivers leaving the market to a continuing uptick in e-commerce. Spot rates are high and most experts do not expect that to change any time soon.
And in the midst of all this upheaval and disruption, I’ve heard it said many times, “We are in uncharted territory,” or “We are facing unprecedented challenges.” We are disappointed in our leaders for any number of reasons, and we think American leaders have never behaved as poorly as they are today.
Washington’s Secret War
It is not true. Our country has seen this boorish behavior before in our history. And that’s why Washington’s Secret War resonates so deeply with me. “An army marches on its stomach,” is an oft-quoted maxim that attests to the necessity of being well-provisioned in times of struggle. Attributed to both Napoleon and Frederick the Great, this saying applies today as the nation and world economy rely on an extensive and complex supply chain to support our societies.
During the winter of 1777 and 1778, the Continental Army, encamped at Valley Forge, was desperately short of supplies: food, clothing, weapons, and tools. General Washington relied on his general staff, supported by the Continental Congress, to procure, pay for, and supply the goods he needed to keep his army healthy and prepared.
However, General Horatio Gates, the victor in the Battle of Saratoga coveted Washington’s job, and continually undermined Washington, attracting a coterie of ambitious generals in an attempt to humiliate and embarrass Washington into resignation. At times, they even thwarted efforts to get supplies to the troops at Valley Forge. Some members of the Continental Congress, including Sam Adams and Benjamin Rush, plotted with Washington’s rivals to justify Washington’s replacement.
The Congress dithered away the winter rather than funding the army with badly needed food, clothing, shelter, transportation and weapons. Many members of the Continental Congress weren’t even present in Pennsylvania, choosing to stay home. Therefore, they couldn’t fulfill their obligations to take action and fund the army’s needs.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
History Repeats Itself
It sounds familiar doesn’t it. During our revolutionary war, when our country was struggling to find its feet, petty factionalism and rivalries interfered with our ability to focus on the critical need to support the soldiers trying to win the war. Today’s struggle to manage our way through the COVID-19 health and economic crisis demands our leaders to set aside their rivalries, pettiness, and undignified behavior.
We forget history at our peril. History shows the way through our struggles. History demands we learn from our mistakes and our triumphs. We deserve leaders to focus on what is important–restoring this country to health, medically and economically.
Blue Eagle’s Commitment to Customers
Here at Blue Eagle Logistics, we are committed to the health of our workforce and our continued ability to serve our customers. We are also dedicated to following all protocols and regulations that will keep our customers and their customers safe. To that end, we have followed all government directives, implementing safety measures that we plan to follow until we are no longer in crisis mode.
You deserve a logistics partner that understands the ramifications of not taking the pandemic seriously, a logistics partner that refuses to let customers down. With the rise of e-commerce, we know how imperative it is to keep the supply chain moving with ease.
If you’d like to know more about how Blue Eagle Logistics can serve you safely now and in the future, please schedule a call today.