A Continental Officer's oath of allegiance, sworn at Valley Forge. The brutal winter encampment of Washington's army at Valley Forge took a massive toll on the morale of the men under his command. As disaffection, particularly among the officer corps, increased, Congress resolved, 3 February 1778, that "every officer who holds or shall hereafter hold a commission or office from Congress, shall take and subscribe [an] oath or affirmation" to the United States (Journals of the Continental Congress, 10:114–15).
Among those loyal officers who, with Washington, saw the long night of Valley Forge through to dawn was nineteen-year-old Nicholas Fish: "I Nicholas Fish Major in the Second New York Regiment do acknowledge the United States of America, to be Free, Independent and Soverieign States, and declare that the people thereof owe no allegiance or obediance to George the Third, King of Great-Britain; and I renounce, refuse and abjure any allegiance or obedience to him; and I do Swear that I will to the utmost of my power, support, maintian and defend the said United States, against the said King George the Third, his heirs and successors and his or their abettors, assistants and adherents, and will serve the said United States in the office of Major which I now hold, with fidelity, according to the best of my skill and understanding."
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