What severe difficulties did Washington’s soldiers face in the American War for Independence?

The biggest difficulty that Washington's soldiers had to face was the fact that they were up against what was, at the time, the world's greatest fighting force. They also had to contend with massive logistical problems that prevented uniforms, clothing, and weapons from getting through to the front lines.

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On the face of it, the Continental Army stood no chance whatsoever of defeating the British. At that time, the British had the greatest fighting force in the world, and the odds were firmly stacked against the Americans when the War of Independence finally broke out.

To be sure, the Americans possessed a number of advantages. For one thing, they were fighting on home territory and had considerable local knowledge. Furthermore, they were imbued with a revolutionary fervor that gave them something of an edge over their opponents, many of whom were mercenaries.

Even so, the British still represented a formidable opponent, and even with Washington's outstanding leadership skills, it was by no means a sure thing that the Continental Army would prevail.

Once the war was underway, the Americans were faced with additional difficulties. One of the most pressing was supplying the troops with everything they needed. Essentially, the Americans had to develop their military logistics from scratch, which was an enormous challenge. Before long, serious bottlenecks in the supply chains developed, leaving soldiers chronically short of arms, uniforms, and blankets.

To a large extent, this was because of the decentralized American system of government, under which states had to coordinate their efforts and cooperate in supplying the Continental Army. The quartermaster department, charged with obtaining and distributing supplies to the Army, found it hard going to get the states to cooperate. And if the states did not cooperate, there was nothing that the quartermaster could do about it. All he could do was request a certain amount of supplies from each state and hope that what was needed would be supplied. In actual fact, the states very rarely complied with such requests, which led to chronic shortages of desperately needed supplies.

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