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Not to be confused with "The Winter of Red Snow" (film).

""They have no shoes," Elisabeth whispered. We watched for several minutes as they passed by. We unable to speak. Their footprints left blood in the snow."
—The soldiers arrive at Valley Forge[2]

The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart is a Dear America book by Kristiana Gregory. It was first published in September 1996 with A Journey to the New World and When Will This Cruel War Be Over?. The book was republished in September 2010 and was followed by a sequel, Cannons at Dawn, in May 2011. The Winter of Red Snow was also adapted into a short film.

Abigail Stewart lives in Valley Forge, where the Patriot forces camp for several months during the Revolutionary War.


"For Tim, Catherine, and Matthew Walker"

Book description[]

"December 19, 1777, Friday
I woke to sleet hitting the window and another sound I'd not heard before.
A drumbeat.
Papa came in from milking and said, "The soldiers are coming."
…Finally, through the gray, we saw them. Three officers on horseback led. We ran outside to cheer, but the men were quiet and thin. The sight of them took my breath away.
"They have no shoes," Elisabeth whispered.
We watched for several minutes as they passed by. We were unable to speak.
Their footprints left blood in the snow.
As I write this upstairs, my candle low and our room cold, I think I shall never again complain.

"My name is Abigail. This is my story....
Eleven year old Abigail Jane Stewart's life with her family is upended when Abby and her sisters are awakened by the unfamiliar sound of drums. General George Washington is leading the Continental soldiers into their winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The presence of the army forces the town to face the realities of the Revolutionary War, and sides must be chosen.
Hardship is a constant companion for soldiers and citizens alike throughout the winter, and in her diary, Abby pieces together the beauty, pain, and blessings of this long revolutionary winter.


Abigail Stewart is an eleven-year-old living with her parents Sarah and Edward, and sisters Elisabeth and Sally in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. In early December 1777, her mother gives birth to her brother who they name John. A couple weeks later, the Continental Army arrive in Valley Forge, planning to spend the winter training. Abigail and her family are immediately struck by the sad state of the army. After the troops are situated, General George Washington begins renting the home of the Stewarts' friend Mrs. Hewes.

Later, George Washington hires Abigail's mother as his laundress, increasing the family's workload. In late January, Abigail and her father travel to Philadelphia, where the British are stationed. Edward leaves upset when his brothers refuse to go to Valley Forge with him. Back home, Elisabeth gives her bounty shirt, in which she sewed her name, to a soldier. She is disappointed, however, since he is not handsome. George Washington's wife Martha arrives in February.

Abigail visits the encampment with Martha. She is particularly affected by a young wife crying next to sick husband. Some weeks later, the Stewarts bring the woman, named Helen Kern to stay with them, after her husband dies. Helen, who is heavily pregnant, soon becomes very dear to the family. Meanwhile, Elisabeth develops a crush on a French interpreter, Pierre. She sews him a coat, which he gives to a dog.

In April, Abigail's friend Lucy Smith goes missing. She writes to Abigail about her whereabouts, but swears her to secrecy. A few weeks later, Abigail can no longer stand Lucy's sad faces and simply tells them that she is safe. Meanwhile, Helen gives birth to a girl, Olivia. In late May, Elisabeth is visited by Ben Valentine, who received her first coat. Her opinion has changed as she finds herself wondering if he will write her back. In June, the Continental Army leaves, returning the quiet stillness to Valley Forge.


At age fifteen, Abigail married a blacksmith, Willie Campbell. In 1787, the Campbells and their extended relatives moved to the Ohio River Valley to homestead. Helen and her new husband, Daniel Kern, also accompanied them. They went on to have five children. Abigail and Willie had nine children. Their daughter Hannah became a doctor and three of their sons became lawyers. In 1823, Abigail was thrown from a horse and passed away. Willie died two years later. After being injured in battle, Ben was sent to recover in Philadelphia where Elisabeth visited him. They married in 1779 and had two sons, Paul and Nathaniel, whom became explorers. In 1825, Elisabeth and Ben died after their house caught fire.

Historical Note[]

The American Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783.The Thirteen Colonies originally were given a lot of freedom from Britain. However, Britain imposed laws that the colonists felt was "taxation without representation." The first Continental Congress met in 1774. The war officially started the following year, leading to the Continental Army being formed with George Washington as their general. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was voted into law. In 1781, the Americans defeated the British General Cornwallis which was the last real battle of the war. The United States of America was finally granted its freedom after meeting for peace talks in Paris.

The historical notes contains nine pictures depicting everyday life and the war, five pictures of documents like the Declaration of Independence, and maps of the Thirteen Colonies and important locations from the Revolutionary War.


Main article: List of The Winter of Red Snow characters



"The Winter of Red Snow" on VHS

Main article: The Winter of Red Snow (film)

The Winter of Red Snow was adapted into a television film in 1999. The film was produced by Scholastic Entertainment and aired on HBO. It was released on video tape the same year. Elisabeth Rosen starred in the film as Abigail.


Main article: Kristiana Gregory

Kristiana Gregory is an award-winning children's author. She authored five books in Dear America, including Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Great Railroad Race, Seeds of Hope, and The Winter of Red Snow's sequel Cannons at Dawn. Gregory also contributed three books in The Royal Diaries and three in My America. After being invited to help launch Dear America, she came up with the idea for The Winter of Red Snow while visiting Valley Forge National Historical Park.[3] Several of Gregory's ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, including a William Kern who spent the winter of 1777 to 1778 at Valley Forge. As such, Gregory has always been particularly interested in the time period.

Shared continuity[]

The Winter of Red Snow was the first and only Dear America book to receive a sequel, namely Cannons at Dawn. It was published in May 2011, also making it the third new book in the series' relaunch. The book covers the goings-on of Abigail's family during the rest of the Revolutionary War.


  • Narrator: Jenny Ikeda, Barbara Rosenblat
  • Publisher: Live Oak Media
  • Published: August 30, 2005[7]
  • Running time: 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • No. of discs: 3
  • ISBN: 9781595194527[8]


  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People[9]


"I'm deeply grateful to Pennsylvanians Betty Page of the Valley Forge Society, and Elsie Mullin, for their help with research.
The recipe of "Martha Washington's Great Cake" was provided by The Women's Committee of the Valley Forge Historical Society, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.


  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail from the c. 1759 painting The Wool Winder by Jean-Baptiste Greuze. The background is a detail of an 1877 engraving The Continental Army Marching to Valley Forge by Albert Bobbett, after a design by F. O. C. Darley.[10][11][12]
  • The portrait on the cover of the 2010 reprint was illustrated by Tim O'Brien. The background is a reversed detail from the 2014 painting Washington's Headquarters, Valley Forge by Roland Lee.[13][14]
  • Kristiana Gregory's Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie has a heroine named Hattie Campbell, which suggests that she may be a descendant of Abigail.


See also[]

Arts & Crafts, File:The Winter of Red Snow Discussion Guide.pdf, File:The Winter of Red Snow Paper Doll.pdf

Dear America

A Journey to the New World | The Winter of Red Snow | When Will This Cruel War Be Over? | A Picture of Freedom
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly
West to a Land of Plenty | Dreams in the Golden Country | Standing in the Light | Voyage on the Great Titanic
A Line in the Sand | My Heart Is on the Ground | The Great Railroad Race | The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow
A Light in the Storm | Color Me Dark | A Coal Miner's Bride | My Secret War | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
Valley of the Moon | Seeds of Hope | Early Sunday Morning | My Face to the Wind | Christmas After All
A Time for Courage | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Survival in the Storm
When Christmas Comes Again | Land of the Buffalo Bones | Love Thy Neighbor | All the Stars in the Sky
Look to the Hills | I Walk in Dread | Hear My Sorrow


The Fences Between Us | Like the Willow Tree | Cannons at Dawn | With the Might of Angels | Behind the Masks
Down the Rabbit Hole | A City Tossed and Broken

External links[]