Skip to main content
Select Source:

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

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von (Baron)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). 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 September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-von-baron

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). 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 September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steuben-friedrich-wilhelm-baron-von

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.