Joseph S. Frelinghuysen and another soldier Dick Rossbach were at the time hiding at Berardino’s and Letizia’s house.
They were recovering from their wounds so that they could resume traveling through the mountainside in the hope of meeting up with the U.S. forces.
Here is an excerpt from “Passages to Freedom”.
When I questioned the wisdom of spending any more nights at the farm, Berardino nodded and offered to come up in the woods and help us build a hut. In the morning Berardino came up to us with some food. “I hope this will take care of you for today,” he began, “because we’ve had a whole bunch of refugees at the house. They’re mostly strangers, and we do not trust them, so it’s better if you stay up here for the present. In the meantime, I’ll help you build a hut.” I told him that we were content to stay in the woods, as long as it didn’t get any colder, but Dick grumbled a bit, because those spots on his neck and shoulders were getting worse and he was in a lot of pain.
Each day, Berardino brought some food and stayed to work on the hut. I gave whatever assistance I could give him. My attempts with the axe were clumsy, but he swung it with utter precision. Once, after watching me, he said, “It’s better for me to do it, before you chop your foot off.”
Dick was more adept at chopping, but the activity irritated his infections, so we both relegated to gathering branches as Berardino swung the axe. Berardino also had his farm chores to do, so it wasn’t until the third day that the hut was near completion. By this time Dick’s infection had turned into angry red boils, two of which appeared to be abscessed and were extremely painful. Berardino ordered him to rest, while he and I finished the hut. Berardino said “Dick, the situation is much quieter at the house now, so you must come down and have the doctor look at those boils, or you’ll be in trouble. Come for supper and maybe he can fix your knee at the same time.” .