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Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)

Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von [Baron] (1730–1794), Revolutionary War general.Born at Magdeburg, Friedrich Steuben followed his father's path into the Prussian Army, eventually serving as an infantry officer, staff officer, and aide under Frederick the Great. Court life lured the young captain from the army in 1764, but the American Revolutionary War drew him back to military service. In 1777, the self‐proclaimed Lt. Gen. “Baron von” Steuben—who was neither a general nor a nobleman—arrived in Philadelphia and requested a commission in the Continental army. Americans soon found that if the Prussian had misrepresented his credentials, he did not exaggerate his talents.

After Congress accepted Steuben's offer to serve without rank in January 1778, he found the beleaguered Continentals at Valley Forge lacking the skill and knowledge of European regulars. Steuben consequently developed a system of drill that customized European methods to American needs, demonstrated its effectiveness on his personally trained “model company,” and eventually published its principal elements in Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States (1779). By May 1778, he became inspector general, with the rank of major general. Though he also served in the field, Steuben's most significant military contribution remained the greater degree of professionalism he gave to Continental forces.

Bibliography

John M. Palmer , General von Steuben, 1937; repr. 1966.

J. Mark Thompson

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"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-von-baron

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-von-baron

Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von

Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben, Baron von (styōō´bən, Ger. frē´drĬkh vĬl´hĕlm bärōn´ fən shtoi´bən), 1730–94, Prussian army officer, general in the American Revolution, b. Magdeburg. He served in the Seven Years War and was a general staff officer. In 1762 he became an aide to Frederick the Great. Later, he was court chamberlain for the prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. After leaving the prince's service he met (1777) Benjamin Franklin in Paris and was given letters of introduction to George Washington. Arriving in America, Steuben served with Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1778. He undertook the training of the Continental army, molding it into a powerful striking force. Congress made him army inspector general in May, 1778. The effect of Steuben's training was seen at the battle of Monmouth (June, 1778), when American forces who had begun the retreat under orders from Charles Lee rallied against the British on Washington's arrival. Steuben commanded in the trenches at Yorktown. He was later granted a pension by Congress and large tracts of land by various states.

See biographies by J. B. Doyle (1913, repr. 1970) and J. M. Palmer (1937, repr. 1966).

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"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-baron-von

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-baron-von